Industrial and B2B Services


Critical Issues, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 28 Feb 2017


Call for Papers

Special issue on Critical issues in Industrial and Business to Business Services

Deadline: 28 February, 2017

The industrial and Business to Business, sometimes seen broadly within the professional service sector has been recognized as one of the strongest growing and profitable sectors in the global economy (Empson et al., 2015). IBISWorld (2014) reports show professional service sector has generated revenue of US $2.5 trillion and employed around 18 million people. Beyond the important contribution of PSFs to wealth generation and employment, Industrial service firms are knowledge factories as they acquire and create knowledge, and are suppliers of knowledge for other companies (Wagner et al., 2014). With the growing role of outsourcing; Industrial and Business to Business service firms are now suppliers of many services for manufacturers (Heirati, O’Cass, Schoefer & Siahtiri, 2016). Therefore, their superior performance in delivering the service significantly contributes in marketing integrated solution of manufacturer.

Despite their practical and theoretical distinctiveness and increasing significance on a global scale, for many years industrial services and professional service firms (PSFs) have remained in the shadows of marketing and organizational research (Empson et al., 2015). The academic community has been slow to recognize the opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of Industrial, B2B and Professional Services. Over the past 30 years the scale and significance of the industrial and business to business service sector has grown dramatically; yet industrial services and PSF service scholarship is still limited in both volume and scope. However, gladly in more recent time this field of research has seen growing attention. This is particularly so in relation to the concept of industrial, B2B and PSFs which is undergoing rapid and in some cases dramatic change on a global scale.

Professional service firms providing Industrial and Business to Business services are those whose primary assets are a highly educated (professional) workforce and whose outputs are intangible services encoded with complex knowledge (Greenwood et al., 2005). Within the literature there is a growing reference these intangible services as “service solution” (Bettencourt e al., 2002; Hakanen and Jaakkola 2012; Heirati et al., 2016) which are customized to the unique needs of business customers.

There is an urgent need for both a consolidation of our current knowledge regarding managing the development and delivery of industrial and business services and for advancing managerially relevant and theoretically rigorous research on this sector. Current knowledge on industrial and business service is fragmented and based to a great extent on theoretical discussions, overlooking a number of managerially crucial issues. The field is still missing a structured base providing managerial suggestions beyond generalities. Without progress in industrial and B2B services however, the industrial services research community risks missing its managerial relevance and contributing to a burgeoning area with both practical and theoretical importance.

This special issue of IMM will address critical issues impacting the marketing and management of industrial and professional services. These services are designed and delivered to business, government and not for profit customers at an increasing rate. Both empirical and theoretical contributions pertaining to these and others issues relevant to industrial, B2B and professional services and PSFs are welcome. The application of different theoretical perspectives, if they advance the development of PSFs, Industrial and B2B service theory and praxis is particularly sought after. All methodological perspectives are welcome. Emphasis will be given to the contributions that offer theory-driven – empirically-based suggestions for the marketing’s role in the design and delivery service solutions by Industrial, B2B service firms. Possible topics included, but are not limited to:

  • Systematize knowledge on how to create and manage industrial and business to business services.
  • Understand how overcome the challenge of tacit knowledge while the customer is the co-creator of the service.
  • Increase knowledge of the dynamics of design, delivery and orchestration of professional and industrial service.
  • Increase understanding of the concept of service solutions.
  • Improve understanding of service solution management as a process and as mastery of KIBS dynamics.
  • Examine how companies are able to manage their operations and roles in service solution design and delivery.
  • Bring attention to service supply chains and the role of collaboration.
  • Identify the extent Industrial, B2B and professional service firms are really harbingers of change.
  • Understand the power dynamics in terms of Industrial, B2B and professional service supply chains.
  • Understand the impacts of internal and external collaboration in designing and delivering Industrial and B2B services.
  • Understand the role and impact of branding in Industrial, B2B and Professional services

Submission Procedures

To submit a paper please visit the IMM editorial site register as an author and submit the paper as the site will instruct you. When you get to the step in the process that asks you for the type of paper, select SI: Industrial and B2B Services. All papers will be reviewed through the standard double-blind peer review process of IMM. In preparation of their manuscripts, authors are asked to follow the Author Guidelines closely. A guide for authors, sample articles and other relevant information for submitting papers are available at:

All queries about the special issue should be sent to the Guest Editors at the following address:

Special Issues Editors

Aron O’Cass, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, The University of Tasmania,

Martin Wetzels, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University,


Bettencourt, L. A., Ostrom, A. L., Brown, S. W., & Roundtree, R. I. (2002), “Client co-production in knowledge-intensive business services”, California Management Review, 44 (4), pp100-128.

Empson, L, Muzio, D, Broschak, J & Hinings, B. (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Professional Service Firms. Edited by Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Greenwood, R., Li, S., Prakash, R., & Deephouse, D. (2005). “Reputation, Diversification, and Organizational Explanations of Performance in Professional Service Firms”, Organization Science, pp661-673.

Hakanen, T., & Jaakkola, E. (2012). “Co-creating customer-focused solutions within business networks: A service perspective”, Journal of Service Management, 23 (4), pp593-611.

Heirati, N., O’Cass, A., Schoefer, K., & Siahtiri, V. (2016). “Do professional service firms benefit from customer and supplier collaboration in competitive, turbulent environments?”, Industrial Marketing Management,

IBISWorld, 2014.

Wagner, S., Hoisl, K., & Thom, G. (2014), “Overcoming localization of knowledge—the role of professional service firms”, Strategic Management Journal, 35(11), pp1671-1688.

Von Nordenflycht, Andrew. (2010), “What is a professional service firm? Toward a theory and taxonomy of knowledge-intensive firms”, Academy of Management Review 35 (1), pp155-174.