The Evolution of KIBS between Standardization and Customization: The Rise of Combinatory KIBS
Studies on service management have broadly discussed the relationship between customization and standardization in services. Studies on modularity have enriched the debate by identifying an additional form of service provision able to couple the advantages of these two alternative approaches. However, at the theoretical and empirical level little attention has been given to explore how service firms adopt standardization and modularity on the one hand, and whether they are able to combine different types of services in their offering, on the other hand. This question is particularly interesting in the domain of Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS). Literature on KIBS has stressed the high level of service customization KIBS can offer to their business customers, within a collaborative and interactive framework for innovation. However, scholars dedicated little attention on how KIBS develop their service offering and whether the customization is the only strategy they adopt. The aim of the paper is to explore the business service portfolio of KIBS to identify business service management strategies KIBS develop between bespoke services and standardization. Empirical analysis on about 500 Italian KIBS specializing in design and communication, ICT services and professional services show that there are KIBS providing fully standardized services and also the rise of combinatory KIBS able to mix bespoke and standard services with business characteristics similar to the other KIBS profiles.
|Date of creation:||2013|
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