Service led strategies : the case of port centric logistics in UK ports
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In recent decades organisations have found ways to increase revenue, respond to challenging business environments, sustain relationships with increasingly sophisticated customers, and overcome saturation barriers in core markets, by the implementation of Service-led-strategies (SLS). SLS are strategies that enhance the core offering of organisations with value-added services (VAS). This research builds on previous studies in supply chain management, maritime logistics and operations management literatures to examine the impact of Services-Led-Strategies (SLS) on the competitiveness of UK ports and intermediaries involved with port-centric logistics (PCL). The main purpose of the study is to contribute to the ongoing research on service-led growth of organisations. Grounded in theoretical assumptions from the extended resource-based theory (ERBT), this research aims to explain the implementation of SLS, and their anticipated impact on UK ports and intermediaries, and to empirically and theoretically underpin the concept of PCL using UK ports and intermediaries as a context. Theoretically, this thesis demonstrates how the co-creation of value and resources among actors in business networks enhance the competitiveness of supply networks. Methodologically, the research adopts a critical realism paradigm and an abductive research approach using multiple case studies developed through the method of casing and collects data through interviews, observations and documents. The case studies contrast theoretical attributes with practice, and develop new context related propositions. Therefore, this research suggests that flexible qualitative data collection and analysis techniques are appropriate for a holistic, and comprehensive understanding of complex operations and supply chain management phenomena. The primary contributions of this thesis are an empirically derived and contextualised typology of SLS in a PCL context, which to the best of the author’s knowledge has not been provided in the PCL literature so far, and a quadruple framework that investigates the anticipated impact of those SLS on firms. The proposed typology provides managers with a comprehensive understanding of the type of SLS they can implement, the resources and services required and the mechanisms to develop them within the PCL market. Additionally, the research study provides managers with a comprehensive framework to understand the anticipated impact of the implemented SLS strategy.