Call for Papers: Special Issue on Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Challenges in Managing Smart Products and Services

Guest Editors: Nicola Bilstein, Bielefeld University Christian Stummer, Bielefeld University 

“The future will be characterized by smart devices delivering increasingly insightful digital services everywhere” predicts David Cearley, Gartner Distinguished Vice President Analyst (Panetta, 2018). Today’s advances in information and communication technologies allow transforming traditional consumer products into smart products and offering novel smart services (Dawid et al., 2017; Wünderlich et al., 2015). Thus, the evolution of smart products and services from discrete offerings via product systems toward systems of systems also give rise to completely new customer solutions by connecting previously unrelated product systems (Porter & Heppelmann, 2014). Smart washing machines, for instance, may autonomously order detergent when required or identify cost-efficient washing times by monitoring electricity off-peak rates. A smart keys lock kit may allow keyless access to houses and enable in-home delivery service by permitting delivery drivers to deposit packages directly into a house. 

The development toward smart products and services furthermore will disrupt traditional value chains and may demand for innovative business models (Ng & Wakenshaw, 2017). At the end of the day, it might even have reshaped industries and competition by giving rise to just a few dominating platforms or ecosystems. Hence, smart products and services are likely to transform both markets and companies in the forthcoming decade (Porter & Heppelmann, 2014, 2015) leading to various managerial challenges such as the consideration of new drivers and barriers of product adoption (Mani & Chouk, 2018; Schweitzer & van den Hende, 2016; Souka et al., 2019). Moreover, managing product life cycles becomes more differentiated as smart products may not be tied to regular product generations because they are based primarily on software that can be easily updatedeven remotely (Decker & Stummer, 2017). Supply chain management is also getting more complex as companies may need to implement multiple supply chain strategies in parallel to meet the needs of both their traditional and smart pro Wakenshaw, 2017). These new requirements have implications for various other management disciplines. Human resource management may serve as an example, as providers of smart products and services combine the characteristics of traditional companies with those of software companies affecting staff recruitment and organizational culture (Porter & Heppelmann, 2015). 

Given the diversity of challenges and the scarcity of research on the subject, this Special Issue aims to contribute to a more comprehensive picture of the particularities related to the management of smart products and services. Therefore, we call for research from multidisciplinary perspectives on this topic to grasp the multiple challenges faced by companies due to the transition from traditional products and services toward smart products and services. Accordingly, we welcome empirical and analytical papers using a variety of methods to address meaningful research questions in this context. We also invite conceptual papers offering a strong theoretical contribution to the challenges connected to the management of smart products and services. 

Topics of interest to the Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Big data handling and usage
  • Branding of smart products and services  Business models for smart products and services
  • Customer co-creation in “smart” innovation processes
  • Data security and privacy
  • Drivers and barriers to the adoption or diffusion of smart products and services
  • Ecosystems of smart products and services
  • Implications of smart products and services on R&D, supply chain management, and controlling
  • HR perspectives on employees’ usage and adoption of smart products and services
  • Marketing requirements for the management of smart products and services
  • Smart service systems. 

We welcome all high-quality submissions in this area. In particular, we strongly encourage participants of the First International Conference on Challenges in Managing Smart Products and Services (CHIMSPAS 2019) to submit a full paper version of their presented abstracts. All manuscripts will be subject to the standard review process of SBR. 

Submission guidelines and deadlines 

Submission deadline: 31 October 2019 
Expected publication of the issue: late 2020 

Please check the Schmalenbach Business Review website for author instructions: Manuscript submission for the review process will be done via the editorial manager: 

Please contact Professor Nicola Bilstein ( or Professor Christian Stummer ( in case of questions.

About the Journal 

Schmalenbach Business Review (SBR) publishes original and innovative research that is of wide interest to business research and practice. The scope of the journal includes major areas, such as accounting and taxes, finance, marketing, organizations, management, and digital business, but is also open to further subjects that promote a better understanding of business practice. SBR welcomes articles that use rigorous theoretical and empirical research methodologies to establish their results. All papers are subject to double-blind peer review. SBR started in 2000 as the English-language spin-off of Schmalenbachs Zeitschrift für betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung (ZfbF), which dates back to 1906, making it Germany’s oldest and most respected German-language business journal. Traditionally, the journal champions the stance that taking a broader perspective and including advances in all business areas are necessary to successfully meeting the challenges of business practice. SBR and ZfbF are the official journals of the SchmalenbachGesellschaft für Betriebswirtschaft e. V. 


Dawid, Herbert, Reinhold Decker, Thomas Hermann, Hermann Jahnke, Wilhelm Klat, Rolf König, and Christian Stummer. 2017. Management science in the era of smart consumer products: Challenges and research perspectives. Central European Journal of Operations Research 25: 203–230.
Decker, Reinhold, and Christian Stummer. 2017. Marketing management for consumer products in the era of the Internet of things. Advances in Internet of Things 7: 47–70.
Mani, Zied, and Inès Chouk. 2018. Consumer resistance to innovation in services: Challenges and barriers in the Internet of Things era. Journal of Product Innovation Management 35:780– 807.
Ng, Irene C. L, and Susan Y. L. Walkenshaw. 2017. The Internet-of-Things: Review and research directions. International Journal of Research in Marketing 34: 3–21.
Panetta, Kasey. 2018. Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019. Published online October 15, 2018. Accessed 20 March 2019.
Porter, Michael W., and James E. Heppelmann. 2014. How smart, connected products are transforming competition. Harvard Business Review 92: 64–88.
Porter, Michael W., and James E. Heppelmann. 2015. How smart, connected products are transforming companies. Harvard Business Review 93: 97–114.
Schweitzer, Fiona, and Ellis A. van den Hende. 2016. To be or not to be in thrall to the march of smart products. Psychology & Marketing 33: 830–842.
Souka, Mohamed, Daniel Böger, Reinhold Decker, Christian Stummer, and Alisa Wiemann. 2019. Is more automation always better? An empirical study of customers’ willingness to use autonomous vehicle functions. International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (forthcoming).
Wünderlich, Nancy, V., Kristina Heinonen, Amy L. Ostrom, Lia Patrizio, Rui Sousa, Chris Voss, and Jos G. A. M. Lemmink. 2015. „Futurizing“ smart service: Implications for service researchers and managers. Journal of Services Marketing 29: 442–447.