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A history-based framework of servitization and deservitization

Emanuel Gomes (Universidade Nova, Lisbon, Portugal)
David W. Lehman (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA)
Ferran Vendrell-Herrero (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Oscar F. Bustinza (Management, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 22 July 2021

Issue publication date: 13 August 2021




The purpose of this study is to develop a history-based framework of servitization and deservitization.


The study draws on three history-based management theories, i.e. industry lifecycle, strategic pivoting and strategy restoration, to develop a conceptual framework of how servitization and deservitization pivots influence firm performance in different stages of the industry lifecycle. A series of examples involving configurations and reconfigurations in production illustrate the theoretical propositions.


The proposed framework predicts that servitization pivots positively influence firm performance in the ferment phase, but this effect gradually diminishes as industries advance into transition and mature phases. In contrast, the framework predicts that deservitization pivots negatively influence firm performance in the ferment phase; this effect, too, becomes negligible in the transition phase but positive in the mature phase. Moreover, the proposed framework predicts that deservitization pivoting outperforms servitization pivoting in mature servitized industries to the extent that such pivots are restorative in nature, thereby suggesting that deservitization may represent a strategic opportunity for firms in mature industries.


This study highlights the role of history-based management theories in enhancing our understanding of servitization and deservitization.



Emanuel Gomes would like to acknowledge financial support from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (UID/ECO/00124/2019, UIDB/00124/2020 and Social Sciences DataLab, PINFRA/22209/2016), POR Lisboa and POR Norte (Social Sciences DataLab, PINFRA/22209/2016). David W. Lehman acknowledges support from University of Virginia. Oscar F. Bustinza and Ferran Vendrell-Herrero acknowledge support from FEDER/Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovacion y Universidades–Agencia Estatal de Investigacion, Spain. grant number PGC2018-101022-A-100.


Gomes, E., Lehman, D.W., Vendrell-Herrero, F. and Bustinza, O.F. (2021), "A history-based framework of servitization and deservitization", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 41 No. 5, pp. 723-745.



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