The servitization of manufacturing

Howard Lightfoot (Cranfield School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, UK)
Tim Baines (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Palie Smart (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The servitization of manufacturing is a diverse and complex field of research interest. The purpose of this paper is to provide an integrative and organising lens for viewing the various contributions to knowledge production from those research communities addressing servitization. To achieve this, the paper aims to set out to address two principal questions, namely where are the knowledge stocks and flows amongst the research communities? And what are generic research concerns being addressed by these communities?


Using an evidenced-based approach, the authors have performed a systematic review of the research literature associated with the servitization of manufacturing. This investigation incorporates a descriptive and thematic analysis of 148 academic and scholarly papers from 103 different lead authors in 68 international peer-reviewed journals.


The work proposes support for the existence of distinct researcher communities, namely services marketing, service management, operations management, product-service systems and service science management and engineering, which are contributing to knowledge production in the servitization of manufacturing. Knowledge stocks within all communities associated with research in the servitization of manufacturing have dramatically increased since the mid-1990s. The trends clearly reveal that the operations community is in receipt of the majority of citations relating to the servitization of manufacturing. In terms of knowledge flows, it is apparent that the more mature communities are drawing on more locally produced knowledge stocks, whereas the emergent communities are drawing on a knowledge base more evenly distributed across all the communities. The results are indicative of varying degrees of interdependency amongst the communities. The generic research concerns being addressed within the communities are associated with the concepts of product-service differentiation, competitive strategy, customer value, customer relationships and product-service configuration.


This research has further developed and articulated the identities of distinct researcher communities actively contributing to knowledge production in the servitization of manufacturing, and to what extent they are pursuing common research agendas. This study provides an improved descriptive and thematic awareness of the resulting body of knowledge, allowing the field of servitization to progress in a more informed and multidisciplinary fashion.



Lightfoot, H., Baines, T. and Smart, P. (2013), "The servitization of manufacturing", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 33 No. 11/12, pp. 1408-1434.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.