Dr Juliana Bonomi Santos
Management Department, Centro Universitário da FEI, São Paulo, Brazil

This seminar will combine a conventional paper with a discussion about Juliana’s experience of conducting case study research in SMEs, and of being an ‘early adopter’ of the PhD by publication format here at LUMS. Hence the session should have broad appeal.

Juliana was winner of the 2013 Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in the Operations and Production Management category (see here). Her thesis was entitled ‘Operations Management Perspectives on Expert Services’. The paper to be presented is as follows:

The influence of individuals´ expertise in Expert Services delivery processes

Abstract.

Expert Services (ES) are services in which employees use their expertise to create customized offerings jointly with customers (Kellogg & Nie, 1995). This service archetype includes Professional Services, like legal advisory, and technology-based services, like software development. Increasingly, empirical research calls into question the OM assumptions that Expert Services delivery processes are highly variable, difficult to standardize and, therefore, providers have difficulty increasing their productivity levels. Theoretical propositions suggest that these research results could be explained by the way individuals use their expertise to handle the variation of expert services delivery processes. We therefore conducted case-based research in four ES providers to understand the role individuals’ expertise plays in ES delivery processes. The data shows the alternative ways employees use their expertise to reduce key sources of process variation. In addition, it suggests that, through providers’ specialization in specific markets and the accumulation of expertise, the difficult involved in the delivering ES is reduced. These outcomes refine OM models on process variation and give further meaning to the concept of employee discretion. Reflections on our research outcomes offer insights on the risks of leveraging based on junior staff and of over-specialization in the ES context. 

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