Moving toward Autonomous Solutions


The Role of Product-Service-Software Systems, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 29 Feb 2020

Call for Papers

Moving toward autonomous solutions: The role of Product-Service-Software Systems

Deadline for submission: 29 February 2020

Industrial Marketing Management announces the call for papers for a special issue on moving toward autonomous solutions: The role of Product-Service-Software Systems

Overview and purpose of the special issue

This special issue was crafted to reflect the significant on-going transition in the industry toward autonomous solutions in ecosystems. This transition is a continuum in a long history of digitalization and servitization of manufacturing, product, and technology companies moving from early stage remote diagnostics to control, operation and autonomous solutions (Kohtamäki, Parida, Oghazi, Gebauer, & Baines, 2019). Movement toward autonomous solutions is part of the broader “digital turn” in manufacturing companies, which has given rise to concepts such as digitalization, the Internet-of-Things, and Industry 4.0, and digital servitization (Iansiti & Lakhani, 2014; Porter & Heppelmann, 2015).

Digitalization, and specifically the movement toward autonomous solutions calls not only for company-level level changes but also reconfiguration at the ecosystem level (Reim, Sjödin, & Parida, 2018). For instance, a variety of moving mobility solutions related to vehicles, cars, shipping, or airports, would require a variety of ecosystem operators to fit their strategies, business models, value propositions, and technologies together, to advance autonomous solutions within the ecosystem and the industry. In line with this view, Parida et al., (2019; p.6) define digitalization as the, “use of digital technologies to innovate a business model and provide new revenue streams and value-producing opportunities in industrial ecosystems.” Accordingly, industry will have to embrace significant change requiring interplay between different actors, and the configuration of business models and value propositions across companies.

This special issue advances the research on the movement toward autonomous solutions ecosystems, particularly from the perspective of product-service-software systems, and related business model configurations, value propositions, and appropriation (Kohtamäki et al., 2019). We build on the literature on servitization (Baines et al., 2017; Forkmann, Ramos, Henneberg, & Naudé, 2017; Kowalkowski, Gebauer, & Oliva, 2017), product-service-systems (Mont, 2002; Sakao, Sandström, & Matzen, 2009; Tukker & Tischner, 2006), integrated solutions (Davies, 2004; Windahl & Lakemond, 2010), service science (Spohrer & Maglio, 2008; Spring & Araujo, 2017), and digital servitization (Cenamor, Sjödin, & Parida, 2017; Lenka, Parida and Wincent, 2017; Lerch & Gotsch, 2015), and the literature streams described in previous literature reviews as servitization-related streams of research (Rabetino, Harmsen, Kohtamäki, & Sihvonen, 2018; Raddats, Kowalkowski, Benedittini, Burton, & Gebauer, 2019). We call for studies using various combinations of approaches in the servitization and the Internet-of-Things literature to understand the critical factors in autonomous solutions (Kohtamäki et al., 2019). We further call for empirical studies related to the transition toward autonomous products, smart solutions, product-service-software systems, and particularly those on digital servitization (Coreynen, Matthyssens, & Van Bockhaven, 2017). We welcome contributions from a variety of fields, such as digital servitization, Product-Service Systems (PSS), service science, industrial services, smart solutions, and the Internet-of-Things, and encourage multidisciplinary approaches, with particular emphasis on the interplay between technology and industrial marketing or strategy.

We invite studies using a variety of methodologies, such as the quantitative and qualitative. We expect articles to display a strong theoretical grounding and rigorous analysis as befits a study published in Industrial Marketing Management. In particular, we would like to encourage in-depth processual research to highlight the dynamics in the transition toward autonomous solutions. Moreover, as the transition toward autonomous solutions affects multiple players in the ecosystem, an article employing relational or multi-actor empirical data is critical for the special issue. In addition, we would like to invite studies using approaches that span firm boundaries, tap into value configurations, and reference different ecosystem actors.

Studies may apply a variety of theories or approaches to tap into the transformation toward autonomous solutions. Such theories can include but are not limited to, theories of the firm, such as industrial organization, the transaction cost approach, strategic or dynamic capabilities, and organizational identity. Studies could also utilize service-dominant logic, value co-creation or co-production, practice theory, behavioral microfoundations, paradox theory, or any of several other lenses.

The special issue will rely on heavily papers able to provide tangible evidence of lessons learned about digital servitization in ecosystems and inter-organizational networks.

Relevant topics for the special issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategic and business model configurations in multi-actor ecosystems for autonomous solutions
  • Value capturing mechanisms for autonomous solutions: Revenue model, cost structure, risk management, and contracts
  • Processual research on digital transformation toward autonomous solutions: Depicting the dynamics of change in digital transition
  • Digital platform for managing multi-actor business ecosystems
  • Selling autonomous solutions to the global market: specific challenges in solution sales of autonomous solutions
  • Digital servitization offering: Product-Service-Software bundling or integration for autonomous solutions
  • Orchestration of ecosystems in autonomous solutions: Strategies, capabilities, and routines
  • Exploring collaboration models between solution providers and software companies in establishing autonomous solutions
  • Understanding the customer journey involved in adopting autonomous solutions

In addition to the original academic researcher papers, the issue will invite commentaries on these topics by business practitioners. We also invite academic papers from scholars from multiple disciplines including strategic management, engineering, marketing, information technology, and operation management.

Preparation and submission of paper and review process

To submit a paper please visit the IMM editorial site at

Please login, register as an author, and submit the paper following the instructions on the website. Submissions are welcome up to and including 29 February 2020. Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submissions should be about 6,000-8,000 words in length.

Copies should be uploaded on Industrial Marketing Management’s homepage through the EVISE system. You need to upload your paper using the dropdown box for the special issue on Autonomous Solutions. All papers will be reviewed through the standard double-blind peer review process of IMM. Authors are advised to adhere closely to the Author Guidelines when preparing their manuscripts. A guide for authors is available .

Papers not complying with the notes for contributors (cf. homepage) or poorly written will be desk rejected. Suitable papers will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. (Please do not submit a Word file with “track changes” active or a PDF file.)

All queries about the special issue should be sent to the guest editors (see below).

Guest editors

  • Marko Kohtamäki, Professor, School of Management, University of Vaasa, Finland.
  • Vinit Parida, Professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.
  • David Sjödin, Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.
  • Stephan Henneberg, Professor, Queen Mary University of London, School of Business and Management, Mile End, London E14NS, United Kingdom.
  • Rodrigo Rabetino, Associate Professor, School of Management, University of Vaasa, Finland.

A selection of related references

Baines, T., Ziaee Bigdeli, A., Bustinza, O. F., Shi, V. G., Baldwin, J., & Ridgway, K. (2017). Servitization: revisiting the state-of-the-art and research priorities. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 37(2), 256–278.

Cenamor, J., Sjödin, D. R., & Parida, V. (2017). Adopting a platform approach in servitization: Leveraging the value of digitalization. International Journal of Production Economics, 192(October), 54–65.

Coreynen, W., Matthyssens, P., & Van Bockhaven, W. (2017). Boosting servitization through digitization: Pathways and dynamic resource configurations for manufacturers. Industrial Marketing Management, 60(42–53), 42–53.

Davies, A. (2004). Moving base into high-value integrated solutions: A value stream approach. Industrial and Corporate Change, 13(5), 727–756.

Forkmann, S., Ramos, C., Henneberg, S. C., & Naudé, P. (2017). Understanding the service infusion process as a business model reconfiguration. Industrial Marketing Management, 60, 151–166.

Iansiti, M., & Lakhani, K. R. (2014). Digital Ubiquity. How Connections, Sensors, and Data Are Revolutionizing Business. Harvard Business Review, 92(11), 90–99.

Kohtamäki, M., Parida, V., Oghazi, P., Gebauer, H., & Baines, T. S. (2019). Digital servitization business models in ecosystems: A theory of the firm. Journal of Business Research, In Press.

Kowalkowski, C., Gebauer, H., & Oliva, R. (2017). Service growth in product firms: Past, present, and future. Industrial Marketing Management, 60(1), 82–88.

Lerch, C., & Gotsch, M. (2015). Digitalized Product-Service Systems in Manufacturing Firms: A Case Study Analysis. Research-Technology Management, 58(5), 45–52.

Mont, O. (2002). Drivers and barriers for shifting towards more service-oriented businesses: analysis of the PSS field and contributions from Sweden. The Journal of Sustainable Product Design, 2(3), 89–103.

Porter, M., & Heppelmann, J. (2015). How smart, connected products are transforming companies. Harvard Business Review, (October), 96–112.

Rabetino, R., Harmsen, W., Kohtamäki, M., & Sihvonen, J. (2018). Structuring servitization related research. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 38(2), 350–371.

Raddats, C., Kowalkowski, C., Benedittini, O., Burton, J., & Gebauer, H. (2019). Servitization: A contemporary thematic review of four major research streams. Industrial Marketing Management, (October 2018), 1–70.

Reim, W., Sjödin, D. R., & Parida, V. (2018). Mitigating adverse customer behaviour for product-service system provision: An agency theory perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 74(January), 150–161.

Sakao, T., Sandström, G. Ö., & Matzen, D. (2009). Framing research for service orientation of manufacturers through PSS approaches. J. Manuf. Technol. Manag., 20(5), 754–778.

Spohrer, J., & Maglio, P. P. (2008). The emergence of service science: Toward systematic service innovations to accelerate co-creation of value. Production and Operations Management, 17(3), 238–246.

Spring, M., & Araujo, L. (2017). Product biographies in servitization and the circular economy. Industrial Marketing Management, 60(1), 126–137.

Tukker, A., & Tischner, U. (2006). Product-services as a research field: past, present and future. Reflections from a decade of research. J. Clean. Prod., 14(17), 1552–1556.

Windahl, C., & Lakemond, N. (2010). Integrated solutions from a service-centered perspective: Applicability and limitations in the capital goods industry. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(8), 1278–1290.