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The reconfiguration of service production systems in response to offshoring: A practice theory perspective

Kristin Brandl (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Michael J. Mol (Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark) (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Bent Petersen (Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark) (School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 4 September 2017




A service production system has a structure composed of task execution, agents performing tasks and a resulting service output. The purpose of this paper is to understand how such a service production system changes as a consequence of offshoring.


Drawing on practice theory, the paper investigates how offshoring leads to reconfiguration of the service production system. Through a multiple case methodology, the authors demonstrate how agents and structures interact during reconfiguration.


The paper analyses the reconfiguration of components of a service production system in response to change ignited by offshoring. The authors find recurring effects between structures that enable and constrain agents and agents who shape the structure of the production system.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers a novel contribution to the service operations management literature by applying practice theory. Moreover, the authors propose a detailed, activity-driven view of service production systems and service offshoring. The authors contribute to practice theory by extending its domain to operations management.

Practical implications

Service production systems have the ability to self-correct any changes inflicted through offshoring of the systems, which helps firms that offshore.


The paper is aimed at service professionals and offshoring managers and proposes a novel presentation of the service production system with a description of how it responds to offshoring. The authors contribute to theory by applying practice theory to the fields of service operations management and offshoring.



Brandl, K., Mol, M.J. and Petersen, B. (2017), "The reconfiguration of service production systems in response to offshoring: A practice theory perspective", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 9, pp. 1246-1264.



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