The servitization of manufacturing: a systematic literature review of interdependent trends

Howard Lightfoot, Tim Baines, Palie Smart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The servitization of manufacturing is a diverse and complex field of research interest. The purpose of this paper is to provide an integrative and organising lens for viewing the various contributions to knowledge production from those research communities addressing servitization. To achieve this, the paper aims to set out to address two principal questions, namely where are the knowledge stocks and flows amongst the research communities? And what are generic research concerns being addressed by these communities? Design/methodology/approach: Using an evidenced-based approach, the authors have performed a systematic review of the research literature associated with the servitization of manufacturing. This investigation incorporates a descriptive and thematic analysis of 148 academic and scholarly papers from 103 different lead authors in 68 international peer-reviewed journals. Findings: The work proposes support for the existence of distinct researcher communities, namely services marketing, service management, operations management, product-service systems and service science management and engineering, which are contributing to knowledge production in the servitization of manufacturing. Knowledge stocks within all communities associated with research in the servitization of manufacturing have dramatically increased since the mid-1990s. The trends clearly reveal that the operations community is in receipt of the majority of citations relating to the servitization of manufacturing. In terms of knowledge flows, it is apparent that the more mature communities are drawing on more locally produced knowledge stocks, whereas the emergent communities are drawing on a knowledge base more evenly distributed across all the communities. The results are indicative of varying degrees of interdependency amongst the communities. The generic research concerns being addressed within the communities are associated with the concepts of product-service differentiation, competitive strategy, customer value, customer relationships and product-service configuration. Originality/value: This research has further developed and articulated the identities of distinct researcher communities actively contributing to knowledge production in the servitization of manufacturing, and to what extent they are pursuing common research agendas. This study provides an improved descriptive and thematic awareness of the resulting body of knowledge, allowing the field of servitization to progress in a more informed and multidisciplinary fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1408-1434
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited


  • services marketing
  • manufacturing
  • management
  • service
  • servitization
  • product-service systems
  • service science, Systematic literature review


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