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  • Manai, Aicha; Holmlund, Maria (Emerald, 2015-08-01)
  • Kindström, Daniel; Kowalkowski, Christian; Alejandro, Thomas (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2015)
    Purpose The objective of this research is to explore the implications for the sales function of the infusion of services by formerly product-based firms. In particular, it aims at identifying the changes that need to be made at the sales-function level if the services are to be successfully sold. Design/Methodology This research is an exploratory qualitative case study. Data were collected by focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with relevant managers in three large multinational companies based in Northern Europe, which were pursuing service-led growth. Findings The effects of service infusion processes on the sales function could be seen with respect to the three parts of the analytical framework: organization, roles, and competences. The results illustrate the need for a changed perspective with respect to all three parts, if a product-based firm is to be successful in the infusing of associated services into its portfolio of offerings. Analysis of the results identifies key operational initiatives that management needs to understand and implement when corporate and marketing strategies increasingly focus on service-led growth. Research limitations The study was exploratory and vendor centric, which means that it did not quantitatively assess the results or directly involve the customers at whom the services were directed. Also, the choice of business-to-business firms limits the capacity to generalize the findings. Originality/Value Whereas relationship-based and value-based selling are approaches more geared to the sales-force level, the study reported in this paper set out to understand fundamental differences at the sales-function level when firms pursue service-led growth. The findings suggest that the realignment of corporate strategy towards an increased focus on services may have far-reaching implications for the sales function.
  • Kowalkowski, Christian; Windahl, Charlotta; Kindström, Daniel; Gebauer, Heiko (Elsevier Inc., 2015)
    Both academics and practitioners emphasize the importance for product firms of implementing service-led growth strategies. The service transition concept is well established, namely a unidirectional repositioning along a product-service continuum—from basic, product-oriented services towards more customized, process-oriented ones—ultimately leading to the provision of solutions. We challenge this service transition assumption and develop alternative ones regarding how product firms should pursue service-led growth. Using ‘problematization methodology’, and drawing on findings from thirteen system suppliers, we identify three service-led growth trajectories: (1) becoming an availability provider, which is the focus of most transition literature; (2) becoming a performance provider, which resembles project-based sales and implies an even greater differentiation of what customers are offered; and, (3) becoming an ‘industrializer’, which is about standardizing previously customized solutions to promote repeatability and scalability. Based on our critical inquiry, we develop two alternative assumptions: (a) firms need to constantly balance business expansion and standardization activities; and (b) manage the co-existence of different system supplier roles. Finally, we consider the implications for implementing service-led growth strategies of the alternative assumptions.
  • Aspara, Jaakko; Chakravarti, Amitav (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2015)
  • Dube, Apramey; Helkkula, Anu; Strandvik, Tore (2014-06-15)
  • Neganova, Irina (2014-06)
    Purpose: to investigate a concept of service-based dominant logic, define it, reveal its dimensions, theoretical framework, and managerial implications. Design/methodology/approach: the topic is approached by theoretical analysis and conceptual development. Using a definition of the dominant logic as a mind set or a world view the present article suggests ‘service-based dominant logic’ as a name for a generic theoretical concept instead of the widely used ‘service-dominant logic’ which can be easily misinterpreted as logic dominated by service only. Service-based dominant logic is ‘pure’ logic of service: it considers service as the fundamental basis of business and doesn’t include any goods-centric aspects. This logic relates to a firm’s facilitation and support of customer value creation processes using different types of resources obtained from a company. Findings: the study proposed the definition and revealed three dimensions of service-based dominant logic found in the relevant literature: ‘service logic’, ‘service-dominant logic’ and ‘customer-dominant logic’. The study showed similarities and differences between these three research streams in regard to how they defined a value, a product, a service, value creation, role of customer, role of company, and how important interactions were in value creation. The paper also described the theoretical framework of service-based dominant logic: it stated that service-based dominant logic had originated from service marketing, relationship marketing and value creation literature, and it interrelated with customer relationship management and business networks and channels research. Finally, the article classified the managerial implications of service-based dominant logic into three groups: company’s decision making, company’s organizing and company’s activities. Originality: the paper contributes conceptually to the service marketing literature by delineating the concept of service-based dominant logic. This term that before have not been widely used serves as the “umbrella” for three research streams exploring service as business perspective: ‘service logic’, ‘service-dominant logic’ and ‘customer-dominant logic’. This approach allows making deeper comparison between the main propositions of these research streams that could be interesting for the academic community for further application of research methods to collect empirical data from the corporate sector to check the findings.
  • Strandvik, Tore; Holmlund, Maria; Grönroos, Christian (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2014-03-26)
    Special Issue: Back where we belong – Marketing as the organization’s core strategy
  • Lindberg-Repo, Kirsti Helena; Dube, Apramey (Brand Audit Group, 2014)
    TITANS OF SERVICE combines theory with practical insights, examples and references from experts. Bringing together 14 service experts, this book offers the most up-to-date knowledge from this field of academia in the U.S., Europe and Asia. In addition to offering theoretical insights, practical guidance and examples, this book also gives an overview of the current and future role of services. Titans of Service provides a framework for thinking about ways in which new knowledge on services is integrated with high profit and growth. This book is a guide for everyone interested in managing services profitably. It is based on substantial research with leading academic experts whom we call Titans, and provides a practical and insightful framework for business leaders, the educational community and students.
  • Dube, Apramey (Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 2014)
  • Raddats, Chris; Kowalkowski, Christian (Routledge, 2014)
    Purpose: As part of service infusion, manufacturers use services to differentiate their products and provide growth. Although several attempts have been made to classify manufacturers' service strategies and offerings, most have been based on small purposive samples. The purpose of this article is to create a generic typology of manufacturers' service strategies. Methodology/approach: The unit of analysis was the manufacturer or strategic business unit. The data collection was based on a survey of 145 B2B manufacturers in the United Kingdom. Findings: Three categories of service offerings were identified: product-attached services, operations services on own products, and vendor independent operations services. These categories are used to specify three generic service strategies: Services Doubters, for whom services are not a strong differentiator with no focus on any category of service offerings; Services Pragmatists, for whom product-attached services are a key differentiator; Services Enthusiasts, for whom services are both a product differentiator and an enabler of growth, with all three categories of service offerings important. Research implications: Whereas prior studies tend to use the concepts of service strategies and categories of service offerings interchangeably, we find empirical support for the importance of making a clear distinction between the two concepts. Practical implications: Manufacturers can be classified according to their services strategies. For Services Doubters service infusion is unlikely to be an appropriate approach to creating differentiation. For Services Pragmatists services play a crucial role in creating product differentiation. Services Enthusiasts use services to both differentiate their own products and also develop services-led growth. Originality/value/contribution: The paper exposes an ambiguity in the extant literature, with a manufacturer's categories of service offerings used as proxies for service strategies. A new typology of service strategies is presented based on categories of service offerings, which provides insight into how manufacturers infuse services.
  • Kauppinen-Räisänen, Hannele; Gummerus, Johanna; von Koskull, Catharina; Finne, Åke; Helkkula, Anu; Kowalkowski, Christian; Rindell, Anne (Emerald Group Publishing, 2014)
  • Lipkin, Michaela; Heinonen, Kristina (2014)
  • Kindström, Daniel; Kowalkowski, Christian (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2014)
  • Diaz Ruiz, Carlos; Kowalkowski, Christian (Elsevier Inc., 2014)
    A central question in industrial marketing is whether the form in which the external environment of a firm is represented influences the marketing strategy. This influence has been studied generally through case study research, and quantitative evidence is limited. In response to this limitation, this paper reports on a quasi-experiment investigating whether market representations have a constructive aspect in business. Empirically, this study compares two types of ostensive and performative market representations—service focus and product differentiation—in order to test for influence exacted by industrial marketing on strategies. Results indicate that service focus is selected when market representations rely on agency in firms (i.e., performative), and product strategies are selected when structures are emphasized (i.e., ostensive). This paper contributes to methodology development by expanding the link between a case study approach and quasi-experiments explaining how quasi-experiments can replicate findings in industrial marketing.
  • Editorial 
    Kindström, Daniel; Kowalkowski, Christian (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2014)
  • Edvardsson, Bo; Kowalkowski, Christian; Strandvik, Tore; Voima, Päivi (Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., 2014)
  • Strandvik, Tore; Helkkula, Anu (Department of Business Studies. Uppsala University, 2013-10)
  • Strandvik, Tore; Heinonen, Kristina; Mickelsson, Karl-Jacob (2013)
    The emancipation of customers has raised an interest into how service providers can involve customers in their processes. In contrast, we argue that the key challenge for companies will become how they can get involved in customers’ processes and that represents an unexplored area open for academic research. Our paper is conceptual with empirical illustrations and builds on a Customer Dominant business Logic approach. It presents a model of how the customer’s logic is grounded in customers’ rather stable interest structure and perception of service providers and how this forms different styles of using service and interacting with service providers.