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The purpose of this paper is to investigate how information and communication technologies are used for service standardisation, customisation, and modularisation by knowledge-intensive service firms through the development and empirical validation of a knowledge-based framework. This paper uses 59 in-depth interviews, observational data, and document analysis from case studies of three service-related departments in high-technology, multinational knowledge-intensive business services (KIBSs). Prior research does not conceptualise the relationships between service customisation, standardisation and modularisation. This paper seeks to overcome this gap by integrating insights from research on the role played by both knowledge and information and communication technologies (ICTs) to construct and validate a framework to deal with this gap. It outlines the implications for service firms’ use of ICT to deal with increasing knowledge intensity as well as indicating the circumstances under which service knowledge is best customised, standardised and modularised. Further testing in other industries would prove useful in extending the usefulness and applicability of the findings. The originality of the paper lies in developing and validating the first framework to outline the relationship between how service knowledge is customised, standardised or modularised and indicating the associated issues and challenges. It emphasises the role of knowledge and technology. The value of this framework increases as more firms deal with increasing knowledge intensity in the services they provide and in their use of ICTs to reap the benefits of appropriate knowledge reuse.

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World Scientific Publishing


Service management, knowledge management, framework development, case study research, service standardisation, service modularisation, service customisation


Business | Organizational Behavior and Theory


Electronic version of an article published as Journal of Information & Knowledge Management, 16, 4, 2017. Article DOI: 10.1142/S0219649217500393 © copyright World Scientific Publishing Company

A Knowledge-Based Framework for Service Management