Separate or Integrate? Assessing the Impact of Separation Between Product and Service Business on Service Performance in Product Manufacturing Firms Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: Investigating how the separation of the product and service business mediates the effect of management's commitment to the service strategy on service performance in product manufacturing firms.Methodology: The authors surveyed 216 European manufacturers in the high-value durable equipment industry moving into the service business. After assessing adequacy of measurement scales, the authors tested statistically for mediation. Their results hold when replicating the study using a structural equation modeling approach and while testing for common method biases.Findings: The authors find evidence that the creation of a separate service organization, organized as a profit center, has a significant positive mediating effect between managerial commitment and the services' financial performance. Although separation also has a positive mediating effect between commitment and non-financial performance, organizing services as a profit center had a negative effect on the service's non-financial indicators.Research Limitations: Research limitations include (a) a sample limited to German-speaking firms in the high-value durable equipment industry, (b) measurements based on self-reported managerial perceptions of service performance, and (c) conceptualization of service as a single strategic response.Practical Implications: Although the complementarity between products and services is high in the market, the authors' research suggests few synergies to leverage their integration inside the organization. Accordingly, management should, at least in transition efforts similar to the ones included in this sample, look into creating a separate and distinct service organization.Value/Contribution: This research was driven by practical concern on how to organize service operations in a manufacturing firm. Initial framing of the research through the creation of the construct of separation of product and service business was used. 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing

author list (cited authors)

  • Oliva, R., Gebauer, H., & Brann, J. M.

citation count

  • 61

complete list of authors

  • Oliva, Rogelio||Gebauer, Heiko||Brann, Jeremy M

publication date

  • October 2012