Innovating through services, co-creation and supplier integration: Cases from China

Min Zhang, Xiande Zhao, Chris Voss, Guilong Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


To develop and gain competitive advantage, Chinese manufacturers are innovating by developing solutions that include both tangible and intangible components. Service-dominant logic, which views supply chains as co-creation and resource integration networks, provides a useful perspective for investigating the roles of services, suppliers and customers in innovation. This study empirically explores how innovations are developed through services, co-creation with customers and supplier integration in China. This study uses an exploratory multiple-case-study approach. The data collection involves six manufacturing firms from the Pearl River Delta in China. We empirically identify two types of services (support services and solution services), two methods of co-creation (information acquisition and co-production) and two types of integration (internal integration and supplier integration). This study finds that support services and internal integration positively associate with information acquisition from customers. Solution services require both supplier integration and co-production with customers. This study contributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence on the roles of services in innovation and how to acquire resources and knowledge that is critical for innovation through collaboration with supply chain partners. The findings also provide guidelines to managers on how to use services, co-creation and integration to innovate efficiently and effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-300
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue number2
Early online date30 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • innovation
  • services
  • co-creation
  • supplier integration
  • service-dominant logic


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