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Exploring modularity in services: cases from tourism

Viktor Avlonitis (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Juliana Hsuan (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how modularity manifests in the design of services. The study brings new insights on the organization of service firms by empirically exploring and theoretically advancing the intersection of modularity and service design.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares two companies that offer similar services in the same geographical region but represent polar case types. A framework grounded on extant literature is constructed and applied to the two cases to assess its practicality and provide theoretical insights.

Findings

The paper demonstrates the effects of modularity and integrality on a range of different analytical levels in service architectures. Taking a holistic approach, the authors synthesize and empirically deploy a framework comprised of the three most prevalent themes in modularity and service design literature: Offering (service concept), intra-firm organization (service delivery system), and inter-firm relationships (service network). They posit that service architectures require the examination of different analytical levels due to the complex and dynamic nature of service business. Additionally, the analysis provides new insights on the mirroring hypothesis of modularity theory to services.

Originality/value

The paper provides a conceptualization of service architectures drawing on service design, modularity, and market relationships. The study enriches service design literature with elements from modularity theory and elaborates on the theoretical implications of service modularity in general.

Keywords

Citation

Avlonitis, V. and Hsuan, J. (2017), "Exploring modularity in services: cases from tourism", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 771-790. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-08-2015-0531

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited