Purpose For most manufacturing firms, technological innovations are usually the key strategies to gain their competitive advantages. However, competing strategically through service provision is becoming an important strategy for most industries. A growing demand for packaged product and service delivery is blurring the traditional boundaries between manufacturing and service firms. This trend is called “servitization.” Prior research had different perspectives on the relationship between technological innovations and servitization. Some argued that as servitization exerts the innovative convergence of products and services, the possession of appropriate readiness and absorption capacity through technological innovations for a manufacturing firm is critical to the success of servitization. In contrast, some argued that the knowledge gained from developing technological innovations cannot be applied to the creation of services due to the fundamental difference between technology and service. These contradicting arguments motivated the authors to study the relationship between technological innovations and servitization a step further. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach To address the research gap, the authors conducted an empirical study based on the large-scale samples from the second Taiwan Community Innovation Survey (Taiwan CIS). A multivariate logistic regression model was applied in the research. Findings The authors found that different types of technological innovations, namely product innovation and process innovation, have different impacts on servitization. The innovativeness level of the technological innovation moderates the relationship between technological innovation and servitization. Based on the above findings, this research specifically explains the causes of the contradictory results of the prior research. Originality/value The values of this research are twofold. Its academic contribution rests on bridging the literature of innovation and servitization, and on providing a model to clarify the relationships among technological innovation type, level of innovativeness and servitization. Its practical contribution lies in its establishment of a guideline that illuminates manufacturing firms reinforcing service delivery through their existing technological innovation trajectory.
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol.30, No.8, 1097-1114