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Exploring product-service systems in the digital era: a socio-technical systems perspective

Li, Ai Qiang, Rich, Nicholas, Found, Pauline ORCID:, Kumar, Maneesh ORCID: and Brown, Steve 2020. Exploring product-service systems in the digital era: a socio-technical systems perspective. TQM Journal 32 (4) 10.1108/TQM-11-2019-0272

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Purpose – In the age of Industry 4.0, digital advancement is reshaping manufacturing models towards a Product-Service Systems (PSS). The drivers, readiness and challenges to move to a PSS model are not well understood and the exploitation of the digital era presents the gap of this research. Design/methodology/approach – The research was conducted using semi-structured interviews in six manufacturers. Two forum debates were also conducted to supplement and validate the findings. Findings – Social and economic motivations rather than environmental considerations were driving the change to PSS. Digital technologies could be an important driver, if manufacturers reached a certain PSS maturity level. A high-level of technical readiness was offset by a low-level of social investments and the strategic development of human resources. Value co-creation was a main challenge though manufacturers had the advantage of digital connectivity, which indicated new human requirements: the greater the enabling power of digital technologies, the greater the need for advanced human skills. Practical implications – Human resource management has underpinned lean models yet the role of employees within PSS is underdeveloped despite the impact of staff in exploiting digitalisation and value co-creation. A “learning organisation” and socio-technical fit is required for the “diffusion of innovation” of PSS. Originality/value – This research attempted to explore drivers, readiness and challenges for PSS from a socio-technical systems (STS) perspective. Three levels of PSS maturity with STS features was derived from the research providing guidance for manufacturers. Keywords Product-Service Systems, Drivers, Readiness, Challenges, Industry 4.0, Digitalisation, Socio-technical systems Paper type Research paper

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1754-2731
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 April 2020
Date of Acceptance: 14 January 2020
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2023 00:37

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