A complexity management approach to servitization: The role of digital platforms

Ville Eloranta, Marco Ardolino*, Nicola Saccani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
131 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This study aims to enhance the theoretical foundations of servitization research by establishing a theoretical connection with complexity management. The authors develop a conceptual framework to describe complexity management mechanisms in servitization and digital platforms' specific role in allowing synergies between complexity reduction and absorption mechanisms. Design/methodology/approach: A theory adaptation approach is used. Theory adaptation introduces new perspectives and conceptualization to the domain theory (servitization, with a focus on the role of digital platforms) by informing it with a method theory (complexity management). Findings: This study provides four key contributions to the servitization literature: (1) connecting the servitization and complexity-management terminologies, (2) identifying and classifying complexity-management mechanisms in servitization, (3) conceptualizing digital platforms' role in servitization complexity management and (4) recognizing digital platforms' complexity-management synergies. Originality/value: This study highlights that by using digital platforms in servitization and understanding the platform approach more thoroughly, companies can gain new capabilities and opportunities to manage and leverage complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-644
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number5
Early online date21 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Complexity
  • Digital
  • Service operations
  • Servitization


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