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Service Modularity, Architecture and Platforms

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Operations & Production Management

Guest edited by Saara A. Brax, Anu Bask, Juliana Hsuan and Chris Voss


Deadline for paper submission: May 31, 2015
Reviewer first reports: October 15, 2015
Revised paper submissions: January 15, 2016
Reviewer second reports: April 15, 2016
Final manuscript submissions to publisher: July 31, 2016

Special issue purpose

Developments in platform technologies have quickly made many services ubiquitous and enabled new services available to both consumers and businesses. It is important to acknowledge that platforms are linked to the broader research area of service architecture, and are based on modularization approaches. In other words, a platform can be considered as an enabling structure to deliver services that are modular and synergistic to the extent that they may share parts of their delivery system.

Operations Management has contributed significantly to the research of product and supply chain modularity in the past. Theory of product modularity draws on the physical aspects of modularity (e.g. Ulrich 1995). As services typically lack a physical core product, the applicability of pre-existing modularity theory has limitations in the service context. Outside the Information Systems discipline only sporadic research papers on service modularity, architecture and platforms have appeared so far (Miozzo & Grimshaw 2005; Meyer et al. 2007; Pekkarinen & Ulkuniemi 2008; Voss & Hsuan 2009; Bask et al. 2010; de Blok et al. 2010; Tuunanen & Cassab 2011).

The area of service modularity, architecture and platforms offers numerous relevant and fresh research topics and needs increasing attention from Operations Management scholars. This special issue aims to build a collection of high‐quality research articles that advance the research problems, concepts, theory and knowhow about service-related modularity based on fresh empirical and/or conceptual research.

Scope of the special issue

This special issue welcomes manuscripts with research themes that combine a research problem in the area of modularization, modular architecture and/or platforms with a clear focus on services. Submissions should be relevant for the Operations Management community and address modularity, modularization, platforms or other structural aspects of business models and offerings in a service context.

We welcome manuscripts that present rigorous qualitative or quantitative empirical studies, including case based research and design science approaches. We also encourage submitting manuscripts with conceptual work that significantly develops the foundations and theory of modularity in services.

Particularly suitable topics are

  • Theoretical underpinnings of service modularity and service platforms
  • Comparative studies on different types of service modularity
  • Studies on platform-based service business models, including mass-customization in services
  • Service experience and customer perspectives on modularity; implications of modularity and platforms for the service co-production process
  • Architectural innovation in services; innovating, designing and developing modular services
  • Modularization of services in multi-provider contexts
  • Organizational aspects of implementing modularity in service operations
  • Design and management of interfaces in a modular service system or offering
  • Determinants of performance in the context of modular services; empirical evidence on benefits and challenges
  • Modularity and platform-based approaches in the integrated solutions business context and in companies engaged in servitization
  • Modularity in specific service industries or in particular types of firms
  • Hybrid offerings that combine service and tangible product modules

Submission guidelines

Special Issue submissions must follow the IJOPM style and publisher’s general instructions. The manuscripts are subjected to a double blind review process that follows the same principles as the review of ‘standard’ submissions to IJOPM. For further information and inquiries please contact Guest-Editor Saara Brax by email ([email protected]).

Please submit your paper for consideration using the ScholarOne online submission system:

Full instructions for authors can be found here:

Saara A. Brax
Dr. (Tech.), Academy of Finland Post-Doc
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management
Aalto University, School of Science, Finland
[email protected]

Anu Bask
Dr. (Econ.), Assistant Professor
Department of Information and Services Economy
Aalto University, School of Business, Finland
[email protected]

Juliana Hsuan
PhD., Professor
Department of Operations Management
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
[email protected]

Chris Voss
PhD., Emeritus Professor of Management Science and Operations
London Business School, UK
[email protected]

Saara Brax

Saara Brax holds a Post-doctoral Researcher position, granted by the Academy of Finland, at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management in Aalto University’s School of Science. Her research focuses on industrial and business-to-business services, especially companies that provide integrated solution offerings or implement Servitization strategies. Saara’s research and teaching interests include service modularity and architecture; the development of service processes, offerings and systems; and interfaces and operations in service organizations. Saara gained her D.Sc. (Tech.) degree from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Aalto University, and her dissertation focuses on process aspect in both industrial and knowledge-based services. Previously she has worked as Post-doctoral Researcher at Aalto University, School of Business and in BIT Research Centre in Aalto SCI. She has served as a Co-guest Editor for the Journal of Service Management. Her research has been published in International Journal of Production and Operations Management, Journal of Service Management, Managing Service Quality, International Journal of Services Technology and Management and Service Business, among others.

Anu Bask

Anu Bask is an Assistant Professor in Logistics at Aalto University School of Business, Department of Information and Service Economy. Before current position she has worked as Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher at the same department. She serves as the Leader of the Aalto Service Factory’s SERMO thematic group and Director of the Kataja’s Finnish Graduate School of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. She has been also a Visiting Researcher in Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. Her research interests include service supply chain management, supply chain relationships, modularity approach to services, service processes and sustainable supply chain management. She has published sixteen articles in international refereed journals and a number of other publications. She has also been a co-editor of a special issue of the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, and a reviewer for several international journals and conferences.

Juliana Hsuan

Juliana Hsuan is Professor of Operations Management at the Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. She worked as an automotive electrical design engineer with Motorola in U.S. before joining academia. She served as an officer for INFORMS TMS, a board member of EUROMA and is a faculty member of CEMS Logistics Group. Her teaching and research interests include (service) operations management, supply chain management, innovation management, modularization strategies, mass customization, and portfolio management of R&D projects. Her research has been published in Decision Sciences, Journal of Product Innovation Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Production Planning & Control, Technovation, R&D Management, among others. She has co-authored two textbooks: Managing the Global Supply Chain published by Copenhagen Business School Press, and Operations Management published by McGraw-Hill.

Chris Voss

Chris Voss is Professor of Operations Management Warwick Business School and Emeritus Professor of Operations Management at London Business School, where he served as deputy dean, and a senior fellow at the UK’s Advanced Institute for Management Research. He obtained his PhD from London Business School. He is a fellow of DSI, EurOMA and POMS and was elected distinguished scholar by the OM division of the Academy of Management in 2008. He has researched and written extensively in the area of service operations and is founder and leader of the International Service Study, a multi-country study of service operations, and was president of the POMS college of Service Operations from 2006-2009. His recent research has included service design of experience-centric services, service architecture and modularity, e-services, globalization of services and service innovation. His research has been published in: Journal of Service Research, Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Decision Science Journal, International Journal of Operations and Production Management and others. His teaching has included Management of Services, and Managing Sport and Entertainment. He was founder and long-term chairman of the European Operations Management Association, and serves on several editorial boards.


Bask, A., Lipponen, M., Rajahonka, M., and Tinnilä, M. (2010), “The concept of modularity: diffusion from manufacturing to service production”, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 355-375.

De Blok, C., Luijkx, K., Meijboom, B. and Schols, J. (2010), “Modular care and service packages for independently living elderly”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 75-97.

Meyer, M. H., Jekowsky, E., and Crane, F. A. (2007), “Applying platform design to improve the integration of patient services across the continuum of care”, Managing Service Quality, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 23-23.

Miozzo, M. and Grimshaw, D. (2005), “Modularity and innovation in knowledge-intensive business services: IT outsourcing in Germany and the UK”, Research Policy, Vol. 34 No. 9, pp. 1419-1439.

Pekkarinen, S. and Ulkuniemi, P. (2008), “Modularity in developing business services by platform approach”, International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 19 No. 1.

Tuunanen, T., and Cassab, H. (2011), “Service process modularization: reuse versus variation in service extensions”, Journal of Service Research, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 340-354.

Voss, C. A. and Hsuan, J. (2009), “Service architecture and modularity”, Decision Sciences, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 541-569.