PhD Studentship - The internalisation of value added services in manufacturing firms: Servitisation

United Kingdom
Jan 19, 2018
Apr 09, 2018
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Manufacturing and service industries tended in the past to be thought of two separate sectors, whether discussing national economies, business classifications, education, training or employment. Recent evidence is changing this perception. Indeed, manufacturers themselves had to base their competitive strategies on understanding consumer needs and developing more complex products including value-added services. In the manufacturing sector, business models exclusively focused on exploiting economies of scale have become unsustainable at the turn of the century with the entry of Asia in the global economy. Advanced economies -such as Europe and the UK- are characterised by high wages, high skills, and high disposable income. More research is need to understand what are drivers and bottlenecks to enable the UK manufacturing sectors to transit to more innovation-intensive and difficult-to-imitate business models based on services.

The servitization of manufacturing would permit advanced economies to resume growth and sustain long-term competitiveness. Some iconic manufacturers have been pioneers in implementing servitised business models internally. Some others develop concentric outsourcing/partnerships with service businesses providing knowledge-based and high value-added services, known as knowledge intensive business services (KIBS)

The aim of this research doctoral research proposal is to investigate the extent to which manufacturing firms benefit from outsourcing/partnership or from internalising complementary value adding service activities, previously provided by external suppliers. To this end, three main objectives have been formulated:

The first objective of this project is to provide qualitative evidence on the benefits of KIBS providers in enhancing manufacturers product. This exercise will also help understand the main reasons underpinning manufacturers’ decision to outsource such complementary services vs internalising them. The second objective of this project is to investigate the impact and reasons why some manufacturers prefer to internalise value-adding services by acquiring existing service providers. This seems to be increasingly important because mergers and acquisitions have been acknowledged as the main means by which firms quickly acquire know-how, develop new capabilities and product/service offers, as well as to get more direct customer contact and ensure a continuous demand for its products. The third objective of this project is to identify the critical factors required for a successful internalisation or outsourcing of value adding service activities by manufacturing firms.

This doctoral project will be developed in the framework of the Global Value Chain research cluster in the Birmingham Business School. This is a dynamic research group that has already gained international visibility as a centre of excellence in research on issues related to globalisation, governance, innovation, sustainability and policy. The project forms part of an Horizon 2020- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions project called MAKERS on Smart Manufacturing for EU Growth and Prosperity. The project will run for three years from January 2016. The H2020-MAKERS grant might be able to fund the successful candidate to engage with industry partners by paying travel and living expenses for a period of 6-12 month for fieldwork in a European Partner.

Funding Notes

Bsc in economics or management (preferably European or British school)
Msc in economics or management (preferably European or British school)
Expected grades: First or 2:1.

Interest for business model literature and interest/experience in conducting statistical analysis



Some of my recent related work

Ortín-Ángel, P., Vendrell-Herrero, F. (2014) “University spin-offs Vs. other NTBFs: Total Factor Productivity at outset and evolution”, Technovation, Vol. 34 (2), pp.101-112

Aranguren, M.J., Maza-Aramburu, X., Parrilli, D., Vendrell-Herrero, F., Wilson, J. (2014) “Nested Methodological Approaches for Cluster Policy Evaluation: An Application to the Basque Country”, Regional Studies, Vol. 48 (9), pp. 1547-1562

Myrthianos, V., Vendrell-Herrero, F., Bustinza, O.F., Parry, G. (2014) “Evaluating firm profitability during the servitization process of the music industry”. Strategic Change, Vol 23 (5-6), pp. 317-328

Parry, G., Vendrell-Herrero, F., Bustinza, O.F (2014). "Using data in decision-making: analysis from the music industry". Strategic Change, Vol. 23 (3-4), pp.267–279

Bustinza, O., Parry, G., Vendrell-Herrero, F. (2013). "Supply and Demand Chain Management orientation - Adding services to product offerings", Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18 (6), pp.618-629

Bustinza, O.F., Vendrell-Herrero, F., Parry, G., Myrthianos, V. (2013) “Music Business Models and Piracy”, Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 113 (1), pp. 4-22

Parry, G., Bustinza, O.F., Vendrell-Herrero, F., (2012) “Servitisation and Value Co-production in the UK Music Industry”, International Journal of Production Economics, 135: 320-332


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