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Paper info: The Hidden Barriers to Servitization: Examining National Culture and its Effect on Business Culture and the Servitization Process


The Hidden Barriers to Servitization: Examining National Culture and its Effect on Business Culture and the Servitization Process


Edward Crowley
Manchester Business School
United States
Edward Crowley , Jamie Burton and
Judy Zolkiewski
Manchester Business School
United Kingdom
Judy Zolkiewski

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 32nd IMP-conference in Cape Town in 2016.


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Research into servitization has historically focused on organizational versus national culture. However, existing research indicates that the firmís national culture can impact on the firm in many ways. For instance, a firmís national culture and values can have a significant impact on how firms develop trust, which also influences the adoption of organization routines, which can influence the organizationís ability to implement strategic initiatives. National culture can also impact corporate culture. Hofstedeís (1985) framework consisting of four dimensions (power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism and masculinity) provides a perspective for how a national culture can influence corporate culture and value systems. Corporate culture is important and has significant implications for the firmsí activities and initiatives. For example, corporate culture has been identified as having greater impact on corporate employee outcomes than employee demographics, their cognitive ability and their personalities. Organizational culture has also been linked to the effectiveness of manufacturing strategy and identified as an important area for research in marketing. Finally, corporate culture has also been identified as a critical element in servitization. Despite the acknowledgement that national cultures impact corporate culture, and the impact of corporate culture upon the success of servitization efforts, current servitization research does not identify national culture as a factor in servitization efforts. By exploring the results of a multi-mode grounded theory based research project using both quantitative and qualitative data, this research examines potential linkages between national culture, corporate culture, and servitization outcomes. The research focuses upon an industry (the office products or OP Industry) which is dominated by firms from North America and Japan. These firms compete with each other on a global basis in the same industry providing an opportunity to contrast the dynamics of servitization and culture between firms from two countries which have distinctly different national and business cultures.