Independent distributors in servitization: an assessment of key internal and ecosystem-related problems

Dusana Hullova, Pavel Laczko, Johan Frishammar

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    Independent distributors (IDs), just as equipment manufacturers, have the potential to initiate a transition towards the provision of advanced services. However, the internal and ecosystem-related problems experienced by IDs during servitization differ due to their distinct organizational structure. The purpose of this study is therefore to uncover problems faced by servitizing IDs during transition towards provision of advanced services, a topic which is still scarcely covered in the literature. Using an abductive research approach, we identify three overarching groups of servitization problems specific to IDs: (1) conflicting interests of key stakeholders; (2) misalignment between distribution of managerial attention and servitization strategy; and (3) ineffective knowledge management within the ecosystem. To diagnose these problems, we propose a servitization-readiness decision tree that allows IDs to pinpoint hindering factors before embarking on a servitization journey. In so doing, we provide a starting point for identifying and describing criteria for assessing IDs' servitization readiness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Business Research
    Early online date1 Feb 2019
    Publication statusEarly online - 1 Feb 2019


    • Servitization readiness
    • Independent distributor
    • Servitization problems
    • Servitization ecosystem
    • Manufacturing industry


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