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Title: Servitization strategies & firm boundary decisions
Author: Alvizos, Emmanouil N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 6058
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This PhD thesis focuses on a particular manifestation of the servitization of manufacturing phenomenon, namely the offering of advanced asset management services for mature capital equipment in a business to business context. In contrast to past research in the field, the study approaches the issue from the often neglected point of view of the offerings’ intended customers and assumes a strategic perspective to shed light on the considerations that affect the customers’ propensity to accept or reject them. Upon conceptually analysing what the acceptance of such offerings actually requires of customers at an operational level, the study reveals that the latter are in most cases required to outsource a number of activities that have traditionally been handled in‐house. Thus, the issue of accepting servitized offerings of this nature is treated as a make‐or‐buy, or otherwise a firm boundary decision dilemma on behalf of customers. In adopting this treatment, the study then engages with the firm boundary/outsourcing literature and considers the state‐of‐the–art in four contemporary theoretical frameworks of make‐or‐buy decisions that reflect a customer firm’s efficiency, dependence, competence and identity related strategic considerations. In particular, insights are drawn respectively from Transaction Cost Economics, Resource Dependency Theory, a strand of the Resource‐Based View of the firm as well as the tenet of Identity Coherence. Augmented with a number of novel propositions, the collective body of considerations is then empirically explored through a quasi‐experimental cross‐sectional survey of deep‐sea dry and wet cargo shipping firms (considered as customers of servitization) that focuses on six key maintenance activities related to a ship’s main propulsion engine (considered as the object of servitization). In performing a two tier statistical analysis of the empirical data through logistic and multiple regression techniques, the study finds that alternative considerations affect a customer firm’s decision of whether to outsource an activity or not and the decision of how much of an activity to outsource once the first‐tier dilemma is answered positively. Furthermore, the study finds that combined theoretical perspective approaches offer better explanations of the phenomenon in question. With its conclusion, the thesis offers a number of implications directed at the literature streams involved as well as the practice of outsourcing and pursuing a servitization strategy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor