Manufacturers are increasingly transforming through servitization, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is a crucial enabler of this transformation. Current literature describes the diverse outcomes from IoT that enable servitization but fails to explain the reasons behind the diversity and the processes manufacturers go through to create these outcomes. This study aims to identify these processes by drawing on affordance theory and its core principles of affordance perception (understanding an opportunity provided by technology) and affordance actualisation (taking advantage of an opportunity provided by technology). By using affordance theory to analyse the case scenarios of six manufacturing firms, the study develops a framework to explain the realisation of the opportunities the IoT provides to manufacturers' servitization efforts. The analysis identifies three types of affordances and actualisation processes that help manufacturers realise the opportunities of the IoT. This framework enables manufacturers to systematically manage the contributions from the IoT and the associated actualisation efforts required to advance servitization. The study adds to the understanding of the IoT's role in a manufacturing servitization context.
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- Affordance theory