Seeking competitive advantage with service infusion: A systematic literature review

  • Eloranta V
  • Turunen T
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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the service infusion literature explains competitive advantage through services. The four strategic management theories – competitive forces, the resource-based view, dynamic capabilities, and relational view – are applied in the analysis. Design/methodology/approach – A systematic literature review analyzes the links between the service infusion and strategy literature. Findings – The review reveals that although discussion of service infusion applies strategic management concepts, the stream lacks rigor with respect to construct definition and justification. Additionally, contextual variables are often missing. The result is an over-emphasis of contextually bound measures, such as technology, and focal actors. Research limitations/implications – The growing trends toward social networks, co-specialization, actor dependency and shared resources encourage service infusion scholars to focus on network-related and relational capabilities, co-opetition, open business models, and relational rent extraction. Furthermore, service infusion research would benefit from considering strategy-based theoretical discussions, constructs, and constraints that would improve the scientific rigor, impact and contribution. Originality/value – This paper represents a systematic attempt to link the service infusion literature with strategic management theories and thoroughly analyzes the knowledge gaps and possible misconceptions.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Competitive advantage
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Relational view
  • Resource-based view
  • Service infusion
  • Servitization

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