Essays on Servitization

Date: 13 June 2019

Venue: 001 Master Aula André Leysen, Antwerp Management School - Boogkeers 5 - 2000 Antwerp

Time: 4:00 PM

PhD candidate: Wim Coreynen

Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Paul Matthyssens, Prof. dr. Arjen van Witteloostuijn, Prof. dr. Johanna Vanderstraeten

Short description: PhD defence Wim Coreynen - Faculty of Business and economics


Servitization describes the addition of services to manufacturers’ core product offerings to create additional customer value. This thesis contributes to the servitization research field through four empirical studies and one tool for practice.

The first essay 'Boosting servitization through digitization' is concerned with the question how technology enables firms to offer better value to customers through services. In this essay, we explore different pathways for digitally-enabled servitization and apply the dynamic resource-based view to pinpoint specific resource configurations at different levels of dynamicity supporting each pathway.

In the second essay 'Internal levers for servitization', we look into service upscaling from three perspectives, namely a content-, process- and context-perspective, to explore the organizational barriers that inhibit firms from servitization. We also develop and test a new methodology (consisting of a diagnostic instrument and set of workshops) to help firms upscale the service business.

The third essay “The antecedents of digital servitization” revisits the topic of technology-enabled servitization addressed earlier. Here, we use a dynamic capabilities perspective to investigate the relationships between firms’ learning mechanisms and the likelihood of them developing a strategy for servitization, digitization, or a combination of the two, in a deductive fashion. In addition, from a contingency perspective, we consider the influence of the environment as a potential amplifier of these relationships.

In the fourth essay “What drives servitization?”, we move into rather uncharted research territory: i.e., the microfoundations of servitization. One of the elements contributing to servitization success (or failure) is the motivation of the decision-maker(s) in charge of the service transition process. Contrary to the third essay, we use an abductive approach (the purpose being to develop theory rather than test it) and apply a behavioral strategy lens to explore the motivational and strategic drivers of decision-makers for servitization.

The final essay “Are you ready for servitization?” is not an empirical study as such and therefore added as an appendix chapter at the end of the thesis. In this essay, we offer an assessment tool to be used by practitioners to measure firms’ capacity for servitization. First, we zoom in on several aspects identified throughout the thesis that play a crucial role in the successful transition towards services. Next, we present the tool and discuss the results of two case firms that have applied it.