Operations Management in Global Service Firms: Building Capabilities in a Changing Environment

Call for papers for: International Journal of Operations & Production Management

Operations Management in Global Service Firms: Building Capabilities in a Changing Environment

Guest Editors:  Melanie E. Kreye, Yufeng Zhang & Juliana Hsuan

Global services describe the application of specified knowledge (medial, engineering, legal, accounting etc.) possessed by a providing firm to solve problems effectively for customers in a global context. Despite the economic importance and further potential of global professional services (GPS), relatively little theory has been developed to date (Zhang et al. 2016), providing significant need for research for the operations management (OM) community (Lewis and Brown 2012) and academics engaged with other management subject areas (Malhotra and Morris 2009, Sako 2009). Despite this, the literature on the topic is scattered and relatively scant with few articles providing guiding insights into the specific nature of these services and the required capabilities at operational and organisational levels.
Professional services can span a wide area of potential service offerings, including engineering services as typical examples, which apply engineering knowledge, such as technologies, engineering skills and expertise) to problem solving (Zhang et al. 2016) and have received particular attention in the manufacturing industry (Kreye 2017). Other examples include legal services (Lewis and Brown 2012) and medical services (Gobbi and Hsuan 2015), provided often by professional service organisations (Harvey 1990). Each of these types of professional services provide a specific empirical context, while their global nature creates specific theoretical challenges that offer further research opportunity for the OM community.
Global service firms experience an inherent tension between global capabilities (drive towards efficiency and network integration) and local capabilities (drive towards customisation and responsiveness). The nature of many professional service require close customer contact and interaction and hence emphasise the need for localised decision-making power. Similarly, the potential emergency of new market trends on local economies require specific responses that may not be transferrable to other markets. At the same time, new possibilities emerged through a wide range of digital transformation have changed established ways of production and consumption and thus challenging the existing capabilities of service firms.   
This inherent tension gives rise to various dynamics and specific characteristics of global service firms, including power dynamics between local subsidiaries and global headquarters, internal and external resources and skills, performance and efficiency management, process integration, and institutional connections. 
This special issue will provide a platform to integrate insights for building capabilities for global service operations, practically and theoretically, and form a foundation for a collective body of literature.

Objective of the Special Issue:
The aim of this special issue is to facilitate theory building that builds a strong foundation for the area of global service operations. Existing insights have been sparse with individual papers offering specific insights into the specific nature of GS firms (Lewis et al. 2004, Zhang et al. 2016). The objective of this special issue is to offer a platform to integrate insights, practically and theoretically, and form a foundation for a collective body of literature. 

Scope of Papers:
The special issue welcomes both theoretical submissions that serve as a stepping stone for empirical work, and robust empirical research with a clear theoretical and empirical contribution. Empirical insights may be derived from, for example, survey research, case studies, action research, event studies, interviews, design science or experiments. These contributions are welcome in topic areas that include, but are not limited to, the following:
1.    Dynamic trade-off between global service capabilities (required for realising efficiencies) and local service capabilities (required for responsiveness to local needs)s
2.    Role of (local) customer relationships in driving internal (local) capabilities through, for example initiating innovations and development of new services
3.    Intrinsic specific characteristics, including operational similarities and differences, of global services depending on the type of service, such as engineering service, healthcare, legal, consultancy, and others.
4.    Dynamic longitudinal development of GES clusters in terms of growth and retreat of local networks based on local developments, such as geo-economic crises, earthquakes, climate-change induced disruptions, and others
5.    Role of digital technologies, such as Internet-of-Things, mobile technologies, context-aware technologies, artificial intelligence, and cloud-based systems, in bridging the tension between global and local capabilities
6.    Role of employees in facilitating global service operations, including their self-identification with local or global organisational units and willingness to collaborate locally and globally
7.    Performance effects of different operational set-ups, including decision-making locus on global or local level
8.    Management of tensions between local and global service capabilities in shaping the supply chain network, including customers, local and global suppliers
9.    The role of new service development and new forms of global service operations for aligning local and global service operations, including their implications for service design and supply chain innovation
10.    Promotion or hindrance of responsible business through global service operations.
11.    Configuration of resources for building service capabilities in local vs. global networks 
12.    The role of digital technologies in enabling capabilities of providers of global services

Review Process:
Papers submitted to the special issue will follow the typical, thorough review process of the journal in terms of the number of reviewers and the double-blind review process. Submissions will be handled by the special issue editors, with recommendations made to the journal’s co-Editors-in-Chief. Submissions to be made through the IJOPM ScholarOne manuscript submission portal https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijopm and authors are encourages to consult the journal's author guidelines, found here.

Provisional timetable:
Initial submission deadline    3 May 2021
First editorial decision        5 July 2021
Re-submission            20 September 2021
Final decision            18 October 2021
Publication             end 2021

Gobbi, C. and Hsuan, J., 2015. Collaborative purchasing of complex technologies in healthcare system: Implications for alignment strategies. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35 (3), 430–455.
Harvey, J., 1990. Operations Management in Professional Service Organisations: A Typology. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 10 (4), 5–15.
Kreye, M. E., 2017. Can you put too much on your plate? Uncertainty exposure in servitized triads. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37 (12), 1722–1740.
Lewis, M. A. and Brown, A. D., 2012. How different is professional service operations management? Journal of Operations Management, 30 (1–2), 1–11.
Lewis, M., Shulver, M., Johnston, R., Mattson, J., Millet, B., and Slack, N., 2004. Network Parenting in International Service Development. British Journal of Management, 15 (1), 23–38.
Malhotra, N. and Morris, T., 2009. Heterogeneity in professional service firms. Journal of Management Studies, 46 (6), 895–922.
Sako, M., 2009. Globalization of Knowledge-Intensive Professional Services. Communications of the ACM, 52 (7), 31–33.
Zhang, Y., Gregory, M., and Neely, A., 2016. Global engineering services: Shedding light on network capabilities. Journal of Operations Management [online], 42–43, 80–94. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jom.2016.03.006.