The state-of-the-art of the theory on Product-Service Systems

Li, Ai Qiang; Kumar, Maneesh; Claes, Björn and Found, Pauline (2020). The state-of-the-art of the theory on Product-Service Systems. International Journal of Production Economics, 222 pp. 1–15.



Product-Service Systems (PSS) terminology is becoming increasingly common across management disciplines. Despite rapid growth in the number of PSS publications, relatively little attention has been dedicated to advancing the theoretical underpinnings required for robust PSS research. This paper aims to address this issue through a two-stage systematic review. Initially, we conducted a first-stage ‘review of reviews’ to set up a broad database for the preliminary understanding of PSS evolution and its theoretical progress. Subsequently, we undertook a second-stage review to explore the use of different theories for developing PSS research. We identify four clusters of theories and illustrate how they underpin ten distinct research themes and a systems approach in PSS. We then construct a framework of five theoretical lenses (identity, competence, efficiency, power and systems) that guide theory development discussion in PSS research. We argue that further research would benefit from adopting a systems approach that explores the interactions in PSS and favors interdisciplinary theory development. More studies on productisation and comparable studies between servitisation and productisation are also encouraged, for example, between industrial and consumer products and between B2B and B2C models.

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