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Interactively developed capabilities: evidence from dyadic servitization relationships

Chris Raddats (Management School, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
Judy Zolkiewski (Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Vicky Mary Story (School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Jamie Burton (Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Tim Baines (Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Ali Ziaee Bigdeli (Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 6 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to challenge the focal firm perspective of much resource/capability research, identifying how a dyadic perspective facilitates identification of capabilities required for servitization.


Exploratory study consisting of seven dyadic relationships in five sectors.


An additional dimension of capabilities should be recognised; whether they are developed independently or interactively (with another actor). The following examples of interactively developed capabilities are identified: knowledge development, where partners interactively communicate to understand capabilities; service enablement, manufacturers work with suppliers and customers to support delivery of new services; service development, partners interact to optimise performance of existing services; risk management, customers work with manufacturers to manage risks of product acquisition/operation. Six propositions were developed to articulate these findings.

Research limitations/implications

Interactively developed capabilities are created when two or more actors interact to create value. Interactively developed capabilities do not just reside within one firm and, therefore, cannot be a source of competitive advantage for one firm alone. Many of the capabilities required for servitization are interactive, yet have received little research attention. The study does not provide an exhaustive list of interactively developed capabilities, but demonstrates their existence in manufacturer/supplier and manufacturer/customer dyads.

Practical implications

Manufacturers need to understand how to develop capabilities interactively to create competitive advantage and value and identify other actors with whom these capabilities can be developed.


Previous research has focussed on relational capabilities within a focal firm. This study extends existing theories to include interactively developed capabilities. The paper proposes that interactivity is a key dimension of actors’ complementary capabilities.



Raddats, C., Zolkiewski, J., Story, V.M., Burton, J., Baines, T. and Ziaee Bigdeli, A. (2017), "Interactively developed capabilities: evidence from dyadic servitization relationships", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 382-400.



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