This is a paper-based dissertation, consisting of a ‘cape’ and three articles, one of which is singleauthored. The topic is servitization at work. Servitization is a competitive strategy that, typically, Western industrial manufacturing companies implement in order to secure their continued existence in increasingly competitive markets. Servitization means combining products with a service component. With increasing servitization implementation, companies move away from focusing on the sales of products and instead emphasize their use, for example by repairing them, renting them out or by operating and maintaining machines for clients. But more recent literature also highlights that companies face many challenges when implementing servitization, up to the point where some close their service business again. This indicates that servitization has important implications to it other than ‘just’ selling services. This dissertation argues that some of these implications have gone by unnoticed because much of the literature is both rooted in and itself perpetuating a number of widely-held assumptions. Taking on a pragmatic stance, it explores how servitization is at work, despite the challenges associated with it. In so doing, it challenges three taken-for-granted notions in the literature, namely that customers demand services by default, that products are stable and that servitization is one definite thing. It draws on the infralanguage and methodology provided by Actor-Network Theory. In particular, it mobilizes the ideas around qualification, inscription and multiplicity.
The section from page 90-143 is under an embargo and has been
removed from the accepted manuscript version. The full version is under 24 month embargo.