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Organizing complex engineering operations throughout the lifecycle: A service-centred view and case studies

Yufeng Zhang (Department of Management, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Lihong Zhang (Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 14 October 2014




Strategic trends towards service operations have been widely reported in the recent literature, but organisational capabilities to support such service-centred strategies are less well understood. The purpose of this paper is to identify key organisational issues in managing complex engineering service operations throughout the lifecycle.


Using instruments developed from the product lifecycle management technologies and the network configuration concept, key organisational issues for engineering service operations were identified through case studies focusing on complex engineering products and services systems across a variety of industrial sectors.


The case studies demonstrated different organisational features and strategic priorities of engineering service operations along the whole lifecycle. A generic trend has been observed for engineering systems to move from being design, development and manufacturing focused to embracing support and end-of-life recycling matters.


This paper provides an overall framework for integrating key organisational issues in engineering service operations. It contributes to the service literature by highlighting the need of developing appropriate organisational capabilities to support service-centred strategies with engineering cases. It also provides guidance for companies to manage their engineering network operations throughout the whole lifecycle of complex products and services systems.



This study has been supported by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union through Marie Curie Actions IRSES Europe-China High Value Engineering Network (EC-HVEN), Grant No. EU-FP7-PIRSES-GA-2011-295130,


Zhang, Y. and Zhang, L. (2014), "Organizing complex engineering operations throughout the lifecycle: A service-centred view and case studies", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 580-602.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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