Servitization: A contemporary thematic review of four major research streams
Servitization describes the addition of services to manufacturers' core product offerings to create additional customer value. This study aims to identify the key themes and research priorities in this body of literature over thirteen years from 2005 and 2017, based on four major research streams (general management, marketing, operations, and service management). Prior multi-theme literature reviews have focused on operations journals, overlooking important work in other streams, particularly marketing. Informed by a systematic literature review of 219 papers, the study identifies five main themes: service offerings; strategy and structure; motivations and performance; resources and capabilities; service development, sales, and delivery. Within each theme, gaps in the literature are identified and eleven research priorities presented. The review shows that the literature has evolved significantly in recent years, becoming increasingly diverse. A recent noteworthy topic is the use of digital technologies, which indicates the increasing relevance of technological developments to manufacturers' service activities. Our review highlights that there are still some fundamental aspects of servitization that warrant further research, primarily the need to replace the focal-manufacturer perspective with a multi-actor perspective that highlights the important role of relationships with existing and potentially new actors as a result of technological developments.