Mateja Kovacic (Assistant Professor, Hong Kong Baptist University) and I have released a paper titled “The Role of Thing-Making Cultures in Japan’s Manufacturing Industry: Toward Social Robots and Super Smart Society in the Digitalization-Servitization Shift” in SSRN!
I’m glad and kind of relieved to release this paper, which took three years after making its concept. Servitization of manufacturing which aims to diversify the ways of value creation away from traditional product sales, has been one of my research topics, but I’ve been wondering why the impact of local industrial cultures to servitization processes has rarely been discussed in the international research context. For example, Japanese manufacturing companies often discuss their value creation processes using the terms such as ‘monozukuri’ (thing-making), ‘kotozukuri’ (experience-making), and ‘kyōsō’ (co-creation) which do not necessarily reflect the global terminology of servitization. These concepts shape unique, local industrial cultures in manufacturing and affect the ways of servitization in Japanese industries. I’ve been considering that such cultural uniqueness and its impact to servitization need to be investigated, not only in Japan but in many countries, to promote servitization in local industrial context and create more values through manufacturing processes. But unfortunately, I didn’t have sufficient academic skills and knowledge to discuss and crystalize the idea into research articles.
Mateja studied Japanese robotization and monozukuri cultures in the University of Oxford when I met her in 2018. We shared the view on this topic and co-wrote this paper about servitization and digitalization in Japan based on her cultural studies expertise. This paper written in the cultural studies (as humanities) format may look unusual for researchers on servitization mostly discussed in management science (as social science) and engineering. In this sense, this paper is a ‘prototype’ of a new academic approach for servitization research, and I believe that such cross-cultural exploration is essential for future servitization research and service research as a whole. We expect a lot of comments and opinions about the contents and methodology of this paper.