Purpose – Applying “modularity” principles in services is gaining in popularity. The purpose of this paper is to enrich existing service modularity theory and practice by exploring how services are being decomposed and how the modularization aim and the routineness of the service(s) involved may link to different decomposition logics. The authors argue that these are fundamental questions that have barely been addressed. Design/methodology/approach – The authors first built a theoretical framework of decomposition steps and the design choices involved that distinguished six decomposition logics. The authors conducted a systematic literature search that generated 18 empirical articles describing 16 service modularity cases. The authors analysed these cases in terms of decomposition logic and two main contingencies: modularization aim and service routineness. Findings – Only three of the 18 articles explicitly addressed the service decomposition by reflecting on the underlying design choices. By unravelling the decomposition in each case, the authors were able to identify the decomposition logic and found four of the six theoretically derived logics: single-level process oriented; single-level outcome oriented; multilevel outcome oriented; and multilevel combined orientation. Although the authors did not find a direct relationship between the modularization aim and the decomposition logic, the authors did find that single-level decomposition logics seem to be mainly applied in non-routine service offerings whereas the multilevel ones are mainly applied in routine service offerings. Originality/value – By contributing to a common understanding of modular service decomposition and proposing a framework that explicates the design choices involved, the authors enable an enhanced application of the modularity concept in services.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Modularity, Decomposition logic, Service offering
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-06-2015-0370, hdl.handle.net/1765/129047
Journal International Journal of Operations and Production Management
Citation
Eissens-van der Laan, M., Broekhuis, H., van Offenbeek, M., & Ahaus, C.T.B. (2016). Service decomposition: a conceptual analysis of modularizing services. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 36(3), 308–331. doi:10.1108/IJOPM-06-2015-0370