Tensions and Territoriality: The Dark Side of Servitization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper focusses on the darker side of the dynamics of servitization by exploring the tensions and territoriality that emerge between manufacturers and customers during the servitization process in the oil industry. Design/methodology/approach: The Delphi method is used to explore the perspectives of three management tiers in oil organisations and the manufacturers who work with them. The views of these managers were synthesized over three iterations: semi-structured interviews, a questionnaire and resolution/explanation, where consensus was not obtained. Findings: The findings of the study highlight perceptions of change, resulting tensions and territoriality and the impact of management commitment, resources and strategy. They reveal significant differences between customers and their suppliers and different management levels and highlight territorial behaviour and the negative impact this has on buyer supplier relationships during the implementation of servitization. Research limitations/implications: Further research is required to explore why there is a variation in understanding and commitment at different managerial levels and the causes of tensions and territoriality. Practical implications: Servitization is not a “quick fix” and management support is essential. A fundamental element of this planning is to anticipate and plan for tensions and territoriality caused by the disruption servitization creates. Originality/value: The research provides empirical evidence of tensions and territoriality relating to servitization that potentially can damage supplier–buyer relationships and suggest that there is a darker side to servitization. It also shows that differences in strategic intent across organizations and between different managerial layers impedes to servitization efforts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business & Industrial Marketing
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Buyer–seller relationships
  • Delphi method
  • Oil gas industry
  • Servitization
  • Tension
  • Territoriality


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