Any Way Goes: Identifying Value Constellations for Service Infusion in SMES

Christian Kowalkowski, Hanken School Of Economics
Lars Witell, Linköping University
Anders Gustafsson, Karlstad University

In competitive markets, firms seek new ways to differentiate their business, including an increased focus on service, often referred to as service infusion. Of the studies that seek to understand this phenomenon, most focus on large multinational firms; little is known about service infusion in small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs). This study adopts an explorative approach to investigate how SMEs construct new value constellations that enable value creation through services. The findings, based on in-depth interviews with key informants from 13 SMEs, suggest that there is no predefined transition process for service infusion in SMEs.

  • SMEs seldom have the internal resources to build new organizational units or create new specialties.
  • We identify nine generic value constellations that can be used to operationalize different service strategies.
  • Many SMEs provide services through multiple value constellations that coexist in the same business network.


Kowalkowski, C., Witell, L., and A. Gustafsson (2013) Any way goes: Identifying value constellations for service infusion in SMEs, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 42, pp. 18-30.