Intra and Interorganizational Paradoxes

by Charles Hofacker


and Actionable Solutions in Product-Service Networks, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 31 Jan 2021

Author: Olli Kuivalainen

Industrial Marketing Management

Call for Papers

Intra and interorganizational paradoxes and actionable solutions in product-service networks

Deadline for submission: January 31st, 2021

Overview and Purpose

Service-dominant logic (cf. Skålén et al., 2014; Vargo & Lusch, 2004; Vargo & Lusch, 2015; Vargo & Lusch, 2017) and servitization (cf. Howard, Tim, & Palie, 2013; Howard et al., 2014; Rabetino, Kohtamäki, & Gebauer, 2017; Raddats et al., 2019) are increasingly pervasive forces in product-service networks. A growing number of industrial firms, which have traditionally had product-driven strategies and value propositions, are going through an evolution in their core logics and business paradigms, with the consequential enhancement of their service value propositions. At the same time, firms are embedded in intra- and inter-organizational networks and ecosystems that exhibit instrumental influence on the way in which firms execute their marketing strategies and conduct business operations (Shipilov & Gawer, 2020). Exchange relationships are at the center of service-dominant logic (Vargo & Lusch, 2004), and servitization, which entails multi-layered and wide-ranging collaboration activities with a multitude of suppliers, partners, and customers in product-service networks (Bastl et al., 2012; Jaakkola & Hakanen, 2013; Windahl & Lakemond, 2006). When combined, these result in intra- and inter-organizational tensions, dilemmas, and inconsistencies (Martinez et al., 2010; Reim, Sjödin, & Parida, 2019) that need to be resolved, and actionable solutions proposed, to ensure the success of servitization efforts in industrial markets.

Previous research acknowledged that firms undergoing the servitization process and operating in product-service networks face significant complexities. For example, Neely (2008) identi?es a so-called ‘servitization paradox,’ which suggests that, despite growing revenues, servitizing ?rms often bring less pro?t than manufacturing ?rms that do not extend their activities into service. Moreover, internal and external business processes become more complex due to servitization tensions related to learning, belonging, performing, and organizing, which are likely to become increasingly salient in product-service networks (Smith & Lewis, 2011). Such an enhanced complexity of business processes, along with increased interdependencies between business actors in product-service networks, amplifies collaboration vs. competition (Bengtsson, Raza-Ullah, & Vanyushyn, 2016) and exploration vs. exploitation dilemmas faced by servitizing firms(Dawson et al., 2014; Stadler, Rajwani, & Karaba, 2014; Tu, 2010). This is especially evident during the daunting servitization journey (Alghisi & Saccani, 2015), but as yet, these complexities and interdependencies are not well understood.

Paradoxes are “contradictions that persist over time, impose and reflect back on each other, and develop into seemingly irrational or absurd situations because their continuity creates situations in which options appear mutually exclusive, making choices among them difficult” (Putnam, Fairhurst, & Banghart, 2016, p. 72). The paradox theory (Putnam et al., 2016; Schad et al., 2016; Smith & Lewis, 2011) captures the complexity and multifaced nature of the business environment (Schad et al., 2016), and it provides insights into various tensions, dilemmas and inconsistencies encountered by firms undergoing the servitization process. Yet, despite growing research on service-dominant logic (Skålén et al., 2014; Vargo & Lusch, 2017), servitization (Raddats et al., 2019), product-service networks (Bastl et al., 2012; Gebauer, Paiola, & Saccani, 2013; Reim, Sjödin, & Parida, 2019), and paradoxes (Atuahene-Gima, 2005; Bengtsson et al., 2016; Gölgeci, Karakas, & Tatoglu, 2019; Huemer, Boström, & Felzensztein, 2009), these research streams remain fragmented, and fail to offer a sufficient understanding of intra- and interorganizational paradoxes individuals, teams, and organizations face in product-service networks. As such, despite the increased likelihood that business actors may face paradoxes during servitization and within product-service networks, there is a scarcity of research on how to understand and resolve such paradoxes. This is particularly germane in B2B domains, where, despite the increasing shift towards servitization, little is known about the tensions, complexities, and competing demands that these paradoxes engender. Further research, therefore, needs to be conducted to explore the interface of product-service networks and the servitization phenomenon through the lens of paradox theory.

The purpose of this special issue is to bring together quantitative and qualitative empirical research, as well as theoretical research on servitization, product-service network, and paradox theory, to pave the way for a fuller understanding of intra- and interorganizational paradoxes faced in product-service networks, and provide actionable solutions for overcoming the challenges encountered. As such, this special issue seeks to advance knowledge on the dynamic nature of servitization and product-service networks, paradoxes experienced across multiple levels of individuals, teams, and organizations in business markets, and potential solutions to the perplexing nature of servitization dilemmas.

Through this call, we welcome scholars to submit their empirical, theoretical, and case study research papers examining a variety of problems that tackle the intersections of service-dominant logic, servitization, product-service networks on the one hand, and paradoxes and solutions on the other hand. We expect high-quality submissions that make a strong contribution to the growing conversation on intra- and interorganizational paradoxes in product-service networks and that provide actionable solutions to issues identified.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

  • Dilemmas and tensions faced during servitization decisions and servitization processes in networks, and solutions to overcome them
  • Relational paradoxes (i.e., collaboration-competition, control-flexibility, and integration-differentiation) within and across organizational boundaries of servitizing firms
  • The role of digital technologies in easing or resolving relational paradoxes in servitization
  • Tensions at the interface of interacting product-service network members
  • Learning paradoxes related to technology and business model change for servitization within and across their organizational boundaries
  • Differences in servitization-related paradoxes that are experienced at dyads, triads, and networks.
  • Space and time-related tensions in product-service networks, and their solutions
  • The role of the global business environment and international nature of product-service networks; tensions and their solutions
  • Tensions germane to organizational culture and strategic orientations of product-service partners
  • Tensions in managing supply chain management processes of product-service network members
  • Challenges in establishing dynamic equilibrium between servitization and deservitization within networks
  • Managing the tensions related to power dynamics and interdependencies in product-service dyads/triads or networks
  • Paradoxes encountered during the servitization journey, their spin-offs and actionable solutions
  • Digital tools and platforms that can be adopted to resolve paradoxes and tensions in product-service networks

Manuscript Preparation and Submission

Manuscripts should comply with the scope, standards, format and editorial policy of the Industrial Marketing Management. All papers must be submitted through the official IMM submission system (https://www.evise.com/evise/jrnl/imm). When you get to the step in the process that asks you for the type of paper, select SI: Product-Service Networks. Submission system will be open on November 1, 2020, and submissions are welcome up to and including January 31, 2021.All papers will be reviewed through a double-blind peer review process. 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: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/indmarman

All queries about the special issue should be sent to the Guest Editors (see below).

Guest Editors


Alghisi, A., & Saccani, N. (2015). Internal and external alignment in the servitization journey – overcoming the challenges. Production Planning & Control, 26(14-15), 1219-1232.

Atuahene-Gima, K. (2005). Resolving the capability—rigidity paradox in new product innovation. Journal of Marketing, 69(4), 61-83.

Bastl, M., Johnson, M., Lightfoot, H., & Evans, S. (2012). Buyer-supplier relationships in a servitized environment: An examination with cannon and Perreault’s framework. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 32(6), 650-675.

Bengtsson, M., Raza-Ullah, T., & Vanyushyn, V. (2016). The coopetition paradox and tension: The moderating role of coopetition capability. Industrial Marketing Management, 53, 19-30.

Dawson, B.K., Young, L., Tu, C., & Chongyi, F. (2014). Co-innovation in networks of resources — a case study in the Chinese exhibition industry. Industrial Marketing Management, 43(3), 496-503.

Gebauer, H., Paiola, M., & Saccani, N. (2013). Characterizing service networks for moving from products to solutions. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(1), 31-46.

Gölgeci, I., Karakas, F., & Tatoglu, E. (2019). Understanding demand and supply paradoxes and their role in business-to-business firms. Industrial Marketing Management, 79, 169-180.

Howard, L., Tim, B., & Palie, S. (2013). The servitization of manufacturing: A systematic literature review of interdependent trends. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 33(11/12), 1408-1434.

Howard, M., Dr Nigel Caldwell, D., Smith, L., Maull, R., & Cl Ng, I. (2014). Servitization and operations management: A service dominant-logic approach. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 34(2), 242-269.

Huemer, L., Boström, G.-O., & Felzensztein, C. (2009). Control–trust interplays and the influence paradox: A comparative study of MNC-subsidiary relationships. Industrial Marketing Management, 38(5), 520-528.

Jaakkola, E., & Hakanen, T. (2013). Value co-creation in solution networks. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(1), 47-58.

Neely, A. (2008). Exploring the financial consequences of the servitization of manufacturing. Operations management research, 1(2), 103-118.

Putnam, L.L., Fairhurst, G.T., & Banghart, S. (2016). Contradictions, dialectics, and paradoxes in organizations: A constitutive approach. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 65-171.

Rabetino, R., Kohtamäki, M., & Gebauer, H. (2017). Strategy map of servitization. International Journal of Production Economics, 192, 144-156.

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

Reim, W., Sjödin, D.R., & Parida, V. (2019). Servitization of global service network actors–a contingency framework for matching challenges and strategies in service transition. Journal of Business Research, 104, 461-471.

Schad, J., Lewis, M.W., Raisch, S., & Smith, W.K. (2016). Paradox research in management science: Looking back to move forward. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 5-64.

Shipilov, A., & Gawer, A. (2020). Integrating research on inter-organizational networks and ecosystems. Academy of Management Annals.

Skålén, P., Gummerus, J., Von Koskull, C., & Magnusson, P.R. (2014). Exploring value propositions and service innovation: A service-dominant logic study. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 1-22.

Smith, W.K., & Lewis, M.W. (2011). Toward a theory of paradox: A dynamic equilibrium model of organizing. Academy of Management Review, 36(2), 381-403.

Stadler, C., Rajwani, T., & Karaba, F. (2014). Solutions to the exploration/exploitation dilemma: Networks as a new level of analysis. International Journal of Management Reviews, 16(2), 172-193.

Tu, C. (2010). Balancing exploration and exploitation capabilities in high technology firms: A multi-source multi-context examination. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(4), 672-680.

Vargo, S., & Lusch, R. (2004). Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 1-17.

Vargo, S., & Lusch, R. (2015). Institutions and axioms: An extension and update of service-dominant logic. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 1-19.

Vargo, S.L., & Lusch, R.F. (2017). Service-dominant logic 2025. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(1), 46-67.

Windahl, C., & Lakemond, N. (2006). Developing integrated solutions: The importance of relationships within the network. Industrial Marketing Management, 35(7), 806-818.