12 November 2020

Research pick: British publishing not servitised - "Limited evidence for servitisation in UK publishing: an empirical analysis"

Researchers have demonstrated that there is very little, if any, servitisation in the UK and Ireland publishing industry. They present their results in the International Journal of Business Environment.

Alexander Kharlamov and Glenn Parry of the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of the West of England (UEW) Frenchay Campus, in Bristol, UK, explain how “servitisation is a strategic transition of firms towards the creation of additional value through services.” They have used a data-driven approach to investigate the activities of publishing companies as revealed by the descriptions those companies use to represent themselves. “If there is a trend of traditional publishing firms adopting servitisation strategies, this should emerge from textual analysis of company descriptors,” the team suggests.

Despite the apparent servitisation of other commercial endeavours, it seems that there is no significant evidence of strategic diversity in publishing, the team found. An alternative explanation might be that the publicly available dataset is not representative of corporate strategy in the publishing industry but one might assume that for an industry the stock in trade of which is sharing information that this explanation is unlikely.

A critical point that emerges from the research independent of the subject or its research conclusions is that it demonstrates how unsupervised clustering can be used to detect naturally occurring groups in large datasets without the need for prescribing categories of companies. This allows an analysis to be undertaking without introducing bias that would result from anticipating the conclusions that might emerge from said analysis.

Kharlamov, A.A. and Parry, G. (2020) ‘Limited evidence for servitisation in UK publishing: an empirical analysis’, Int. J. Business Environment, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp.336–346.

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