Purpose: Technological developments and new customer expectations of immediacy have driven businesses to adopt on-demand service models. The purpose of this paper is to study the characteristics of a range of on-demand services in order to better understand the meaning of “on-demand” and its implications for service management. This enables the on-demand service logic to be applied to other service contexts, where it may add value for customers. Design/methodology/approach: The study starts with a focused literature review and continues with a multiple case study methodology, as the on-demand service concept is in the early stages of theory development. Seven cases were studied, based on a maximum variation sampling strategy. Findings: The results show that on-demand services are characterized by three interrelated characteristics: being highly available, responsive and scalable. Analysis further reveals that on-demand services display differences within the conceptual boundaries of these characteristics, i.e. they vary in terms of their availability, responsiveness and scalability. Originality/value: Drawing on these findings, the study contributes to the service literature by being the first to specifically conceptualize and define the on-demand services concept and reveal three key characteristics that clarify the distinctive nature of this service type. Accordingly, on-demand services are clearly differentiated from other services. Additionally, the paper discusses the variety within on-demand services and develops an on-demand service continuum that gives detailed insights into the conceptual variations within such services.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Access economy, On-demand services, Service characteristics
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-01-2019-0025, hdl.handle.net/1765/120955
Journal Journal of Service Management
Citation
van der Burg, R.-J. (Robbert-Jan), Ahaus, C.T.B, Wortmann, H. (Hans), & Huitema, G.B. (George B.). (2019). Investigating the on-demand service characteristics: an empirical study. Journal of Service Management. doi:10.1108/JOSM-01-2019-0025