Servitization in inter-organizational constellations: A multi-perspective approach: Investigating the role of agile innovation approaches

Xander Stegehuis

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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This dissertation addresses the critical yet underexplored topic of servitization in inter-organizational constellations. Servitization entails the transformation of manufacturing firms from a product-orientation to a service orientation and involves radical changes in terms of processes, capabilities, and offerings. Despite the recognized importance of external collaboration in this transformative journey, the dynamics, challenges, and effective management approaches remain underexplored. By investigating servitization in inter-organizational constellations from multiple theoretical angles, this dissertation brings forth a multi-perspective approach. This approach unveils how servitization unfolds across organizational boundaries and how agile innovation approaches can facilitate this complex and unpredictable transformation.

This dissertation extends the servitization and industrial marketing literature by putting forth a multi-perspective approach to study inter-organizational constellations. This approach leverages the unique strengths of IMP’s industrial network approach, Service-Dominant Logic’s service ecosystem perspective, and the business ecosystem perspective from the strategic management literature. By combining these perspectives, this dissertation sheds further light on the network-embedded nature of servitization and reveals that this transformation unfolds in multiple iterations that are characterized by inter-organizational tensions. These tensions arise from the disruptive nature of servitization, often leading to resistance from both internal and external stakeholders. However, these challenges also present vital opportunities for transformation and innovation. As tensions emerge in an unpredictable fashion, servitizing firms benefit from agile innovation approaches. These approaches provide the tools to work through complexity in inter-organizational constellations and respond to tensions when they emerge.

The findings benefit managerial thinking about servitization by revealing the importance of an open and flexible managerial mindset, the necessity of embracing inter-organizational tensions stemming from diverging goals, perceptions, and expectations, and the role of agile innovation approaches. Agile methodologies provide a normative innovation framework that promotes the flexibility and open approach required for successful servitization. As such, this work offers actionable insights for practitioners aiming to navigate the servitization journey effectively.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Nieuwenhuis, Bart, Supervisor
  • von Raesfeld Meijer, Ariane, Co-Supervisor
Award date26 Apr 2024
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-6035-1
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-6036-8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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