The role of design in product-service organisations

Beltagui, Ahmad (2011) The role of design in product-service organisations. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Amid claims that we live in a service economy, the distinction between manufacturing and services is blurred. Many manufacturers have made a product-service transition, whereby services are integrated with products, to meet demand for access to the benefits, but not the risks of ownership of products. Many aspects of this transition and the product-service offerings which result require investigation, principally the relationship with design. Design itself is a concept open to many interpretations and studies of it have been hampered by the lack of an accepted theoretical framework.

This research makes three main contributions, firstly it develops a theoretical framework for studying design and comparing organisations based on a proposed classification of design activities. Next it investigates the implications of a product-service transition, to add a three stage model of product-service development to the theoretical framework. Finally it uses the theoretical framework to explore the role of design in a large, product-service organisation and compares the findings to literature to position the theoretical contributions.

The research follows an abductive strategy, moving back and forth between the theoretical and empirical domains. The overall research topic is reduced to three sub-topics, allowing three sets of research questions to be investigated. Studies of design, product-service implications and the role of design in product-service organisations are presented, utilising literature reviews and qualitative case studies.

The research argues that design capabilities enable a product-service transition but a reconfiguration of design capabilities may be required as products are designed for multiple customers. Meanwhile, the customer-facing units described in the literature were found to act as a buffer, shielding designers from customer pressures and integrating customer requirements. For managers, this research highlights the considerations and implications of a product-service transition, while it has contributed articles to the academic literature and raises further research topics.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Pawar, K.S.
Riedel, J.C.
Subjects: T Technology > TS Manufactures
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 12140
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2012 12:29
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 05:58

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