Supply chains and ecosystems for servitization: a systematic review and future research agenda

Philip Davies, Yipeng Liu, Maggie Cooper, Yijun Xing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Recent research has recognised the importance of supply chains and ecosystems as key drivers of successful servitization strategies, especially in the context of inter-organisational relations (IOR). The body of knowledge has, however, become increasingly fragmented and diverse due to different disciplinary roots of both servitization and IOR research. The purpose of this paper is to take stock of current knowledge and to generate a set of future research directions for servitization-related supply chain and ecosystem research. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic review methodology was applied. A thematic analysis was conducted on a sample of 34 papers in the period 2010–2021 to identify the key themes within the servitization-related supply chain and ecosystem literature. Findings: The review revealed a limited, but expanding, knowledge base for servitization-related supply chain and ecosystem research. The findings provide insight into current trends across four thematic areas: theoretical orientation, methodological approaches, research context and research content. Within these themes, it was found that four main areas of research content have been studied (supplier relationships, risk perception and uncertainty, capability development and resource integration), with most research adopting case-based methodologies within three main industrial contexts: manufacturing, industrial and software. Finally, a broad range of theoretical orientations have led to an increasingly fragmented and diverse literature base. Originality/value: This study is the first to review servitization-related supply chains and ecosystems. It contributes insights through an IOR lens to categorise and organise a core set of themes and concepts for servitization-related supply chain and ecosystems research. It identifies research gaps within the extant literature and presents a set of future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-692
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Issue number4
Early online date27 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for the support of the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council through the Digitally Enhanced Advanced Services NetworkPlus funded by Grant ref EP/R044937/1, which this research is a part. Professor Yipeng Liu appreciates the Schoeller Fellowship Award by the Schoeller Foundation for Business and Society in Germany.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Digital servitization
  • Ecosystem
  • Servitization
  • Supply chain
  • Systematic literature review


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