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Competitive advantage through service differentiation by manufacturing companies

Heiko Gebauer, Anders Gustafsson & Lars Witell

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abstract This paper examines the relationship among the complexity of customer needs, customer centricity, innovativeness, service differentiation, and business performance within the context of companies that have made a service transition from pure goods providers to service providers. A survey of 332 manufacturing companies provides the basis for the empirical investigation. One key finding is that a strong emphasis on service differentiation can lead to a manufacturing firm's strategies for customer centricity being less sensitive to increasingly complex customer needs, which can increase a firm's payoff for customer centricity. In contrast, the payoff from innovativeness appears to be higher if the firm focuses its resources on either product or service innovation; that is, a dual focus does not work well. This paper discusses the implications of these findings for researchers and managers
   
type journal paper
   
keywords Service infusion in manufacturing companies; Customer centricity; Innovation; Service differentiation
   
language English
kind of paper journal article
date of appearance 1-4-2011
journal Journal of Business Research
publisher Elsevier (New York)
ISSN 0148-2963
ISSN (online) 1873-7978
DOI 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.01.015
volume of journal 64
number of issue 12
page(s) 1270-1280
review double-blind review
   
citation Gebauer, H., Gustafsson, A., & Witell, L. (2011). Competitive advantage through service differentiation by manufacturing companies. Journal of Business Research, 64(12), 1270-1280, DOI:10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.01.015.