TUTCRIS - Tampereen teknillinen yliopisto


Exploring pilot projects of a manufacturer on service R&D to understand service as an accounting object



KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISBN (elektroninen)978-952-15-2157-7
ISBN (painettu)978-952-15-2149-2
TilaJulkaistu - 11 toukokuuta 2009
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG4 Monografiaväitöskirja


NimiTampere University of Technology. Publication
KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISSN (painettu)1459-2045


Various characteristics and expectations are connected with the service business as a timely research domain. Within service research, prior research from the viewpoint of management accounting, especially in the context of the infusion of service into manufacturing, is scarce. The objective of this dissertation is to explore the characteristics of service as an accounting object in the context of the service R&D of the manufacturers. The study is primarily a conceptual analysis. The longitudinal case study (2003-2008) conducted at a machinery manufacturer on three service R&D projects (a business game concept, extended warranty and remote technologies) plays quite a significant role in this study. The findings of the case study are reflected and elaborated by means of an interview study (n=30) on service businesses of the manufacturing companies. The study was carried out through the following three parallel research lines. First, the study included a description and an analysis of the service R&D projects of a manufacturer in terms of starting points, dynamics, and results (accounting context), thus highlighting the lack of a detailed level understanding about the economic consequences of new service businesses to the manufacturers. Second, an analysis of the predominant service interpretations in the literature and among the manufacturers was conducted as a basis for the proposed service framework. In the service framework, service is defined as activities performed for the customer. Moreover, any product represents a set of inputs, activities and outputs that gives utility to the parties involved. In sum, the framework proposed in this study connects the concept of service explicitly to the widely accepted vocabulary. Third, based on the adopted service interpretation, the key characteristics that have an influence on service as an accounting object in this context were identified and preliminarily analyzed. Here, the service R&D projects and the related products were identified as primary accounting objects in this respect. Relative uncertainty and some context-specific factors were among the key contingencies affecting the characteristics of those accounting objects analyzed. The sources of contribution of this study are threefold: First, service framework amends the service literature by providing a generic framework for product level analyses. Second, based on this study, any product may be treated as an accounting object as a set of inputs, activities and outputs. Third, the operative challenges in relation to the service R&D of the manufacturers can be understood by examining the conducted case study. However, at the moment there is ample scope for future research. One persuasive alternative would be to analyze different types of products at different phases of their life-cycles to reveal the true applicability of the framework from the viewpoint of management accounting. The micro-structure of the framework, that is, also within the inputs, activities and outputs, deserves further examination as well.


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