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Handling change: An explorative study of strategic flexibility
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School, Marketing.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Previous research on strategic flexibility offered a rather simplistic view of how firms act in regards to changes without emphasising the interaction between the natures of changes in the business environment, the actions of the firm, and the organisational factors that frame the actions. The purpose of this article is thus to provide a framework that explicates how firms handle changes in their environment, emphasising influences from the context of the situation. The article employs explorative case research and abductive reasoning. Ten situations requiring flexible actions in five large market-leading northern European firms are explored. The findings and the analysis highlight the interaction of these three elements, delineate changes as positive and negative and show how actions of firms are context-dependent. A framework showing these findings and emphasising how firms gather and process context-specific information and knowledge about the changes is presented as the main contribution of the article. The implications of the findings are presented in the discussion, followed by future research suggestions and practical implications.

Keyword [en]
strategic flexibility, strategic change, strategic options, change management
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123651OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123651DiVA: diva2:875362
Available from: 2015-12-01 Created: 2015-12-01 Last updated: 2015-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Service Provider Flexibility: A Strategic Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Service Provider Flexibility: A Strategic Perspective
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about service provider flexibility and how provider flexibility facilitates customer value creation in contexts where customer processes and activities change. Provider flexibility is delineated as a mechanism of value creation and defined as the ability of the service provider to respond to changes or to bring about changes that support its customers’ value creation. Although provider flexibility has been implied as a relevant factor in value creation, previous studies focusing on some kind of provider flexibility would benefit from a deeper understanding of the strategic role that service provider flexibility plays in value creation.

The purpose of this study is to provide a framework that explicates the strategic role of provider flexibility in value creation. The role of provider flexibility in the adjustment of the provider’s processes and activities and the development of opportunities based on insights from customer interactions are thus emphasized. Moreover, while these insights from customer interactions can offer valuable development opportunities for the service provider, these opportunities yield returns only with the transfer of the insights back to the service provider’s organization.

The research process evolves along five research articles that develop the understanding of the strategic role of provider flexibility in value creation. The study builds on the empirical data from five service organizations of large industrial firms. The empirical insights from the articles are expanded and their conclusions further developed by iteratively and abductively substantiating the research model. The discussion explicates how exercising provider flexibility—in the form of organizational flexibility in the provider sphere, interaction flexibility in the joint sphere, and flexibility in use in the customer sphere—contributes to value creation. Moreover, findings show that the provider and the customer are entwined in a service system surrounding their service relationship. Provider flexibility in this aspect functions not merely as a mechanism of value creation, but also as a carrier of knowledge and information about the customer. Having this dynamics in mind, the provider continues to use provider flexibility to reinvent itself and constantly evolve the organization.

This thesis contributes to the literature by providing a framework that explicates the strategic role of provider flexibility in value creation. More specifically, the contributions are: 1) an increased understanding of how provider flexibility in value creation is exercised, placing provider flexibility at the core of the encompassing process of value creation, and thus explicating the manner in which the encompassing process of value creation can unfold; and 2) an increased understanding of the strategic role of the work of part-time marketers by delineating the process of provider flexibility in value creation where different aspects of provider flexibility in value creation are linked.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2015. 91 p.
Keyword
provider flexibility, value creation, service logic, service, strategic flexibility
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123653 (URN)978-91-7649-297-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-01-29, Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Roslagsvägen 101, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Accepted. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-01-05 Created: 2015-12-01 Last updated: 2015-12-18Bibliographically approved

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