Service growth in product firms: Past, present, and future

Christian Kowalkowski, Heiko Gebauer, Rogelio Oliva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

254 Citations (Scopus)


Service growth in product firms is one of the most active service research domains and is open to a variety of conceptualizations. This article provides a critical inquiry into the past, present, and future of the research domain. The evolution of the research on service growth is discussed in two phases: (1) setting the boundaries of the research domain, and (2) emergence of the conceptual foundation. We find that while research in this area has a well-established tradition in terms of output, theoretically it is still largely in a ‘nascent’ phase. Next, we highlight the contributions of the papers in this special section, emphasizing their challenges to prevailing assumptions in the research domain. We conclude by identifying, from the contributions to this special section, suggested themes for further research on service growth: the assessment of empirical evidence of the impact of service growth on firm performance, the role of merger & acquisitions in the service growth strategy, the exploration of single/multiple positions along the transition line, the process of adding or removing services, and expanding the context of service growth beyond product manufacturing firms.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue numberJanuary
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 09.11.2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Service growth
  • Servitization
  • Deservitization
  • Product-service system
  • Research agenda
  • Service infusion
  • Business, Markets and Societal Dynamics
  • Service
  • customers and relations


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