Transforming provider-customer relationships in digital servitization

A relational view on digitalization

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1016/j.indmarman.2020.02.004
Keyword: Social Sciences, Economics and Business, Business Administration, Samhällsvetenskap, Ekonomi och näringsliv, Företagsekonomi, Digital servitization, Relational view, Governance, Digital transformation, Advanced services, Business model innovation, Entreprenörskap och innovation, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


Digitalization is viewed as a source of future competitiveness due to its potential for unlocking new value-creation and revenue-generation opportunities. To profit from digitalization, providers and customers tend to move away from transactional product-centric model to relational service-oriented engagement. This relational transformation is brought about through digital servitization. However, current knowledge about how providers and customers transform their relationship to achieve benefits from digital servitization is lacking. This paper addresses that knowledge gap by applying the relational view theory to a study of four provider-customer relationships engaged in digital servitization. The results provide evidence for four relational components – complementary digitalization capabilities, relation-specific digital assets, digitally enabled knowledge-sharing routines, and partnership governance – that enable providers and customers to profit from digital servitization. A key contribution is the development of a relational transformation framework for digital servitization that provides an overview of how the four relational components evolve as the relationship progresses. In doing so, we contribute to the emerging servitization literature by offering key relational insights into the interdependence of activities throughout the transformation phases of provider-customer relationships in digital servitization.


Anmar Kamalaldin

Luleå tekniska universitet; Industriell Ekonomi
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Lina Linde

Luleå tekniska universitet; Industriell Ekonomi
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David Sjödin

Luleå tekniska universitet; Industriell Ekonomi
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Vinit Parida

Luleå tekniska universitet; Industriell Ekonomi; School of Management, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
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