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International resource configuration of product-related services in the digital age – An analysis of its antecedents

Jelena Jovanovic (Chair for International Management, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)
Dirk Morschett (Chair for International Management, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 21 July 2021

Issue publication date: 11 October 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Although many manufacturers depend on international sales, and product-related services continue to increase in importance, little is known about how manufacturers should deliver their product-related services across borders. This paper examines the international configuration decision of industrial service offerings across borders by investigating the impact of different service characteristics and the servitization strategy on this decision. Additionally, the paper sheds light on how digitalization and administrative heritage impact this decision.

Design/methodology/approach

116 industrial goods manufacturers from Switzerland and Germany were surveyed.

Findings

Servitization leads companies to centralize their service resources in their home countries. However, most service characteristics do not impact decisions regarding centralization, except for knowledge intensity, which leads to more centralization of resources. This implies that the resource configuration does not depend on each service individually but on the overall service strategy. Furthermore, the digital readiness of the host country directly and positively impacts resource centralization. Notwithstanding other variables, larger companies tend to decentralize service resources more than smaller companies.

Originality/value

This paper is among the first to study the international configuration impact of servitization and of individual service characteristics, thereby adding important knowledge regarding the provision of product-related services in the international context. Additionally, different aspects of digitalization are included to analyze its impact on companies and host countries.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section “The Future of Servitization in a Digital Era (Part 1)”, guest edited by Tim Baines, Ali Ziaee Bigdeli and Christian Kowalkowski.

Citation

Jovanovic, J. and Morschett, D. (2021), "International resource configuration of product-related services in the digital age – An analysis of its antecedents", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 813-834. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-11-2020-0424

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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