Call for Papers for SBR Special Issue:

Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Challenges
in Managing Smart Products and Services

Guest Editors:

Nicola Bilstein, Bielefeld University
Christian Stummer, Bielefeld University

Submission deadline: 31 October 2019

“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 products (Dawid et al., 2017). In terms of markets, companies face competition from previously unrelated businesses, like Google now competing with General Electrics because of its engagement in the smart home market (Ng & 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 ([email protected]) or Professor Christian Stummer ([email protected]) 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 Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft 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 trans-forming competition. Harvard Business Review 92: 64–88.

Porter, Michael W., and James E. Heppelmann. 2015. How smart, connected products are trans-forming 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.

2004-02-29_ball_point_pen_writing_2This article is part of the How-to… series brought to by Emerald Group Publishing. This is part 2 of “How to… Prepare Papers if English is not your First Language”. You find part 1 here.

Using an editing service

This means using the service of a professional editor who is not a subject expert (unlike a journal editor) but who specializes in helping authors express themselves in language that is as clear as possible, so that they can communicate with their intended audience.

They are highly skilled professionals whose work often contributes to the end product but if they are lucky, will get a modest fee and an acknowledgement in the author’s preface after everyone else. Most have heard of the American author, Ernest Hemingway, but few of his editor, Maxwell Perkins, who is actually responsible for a good part of his prose.

What types of editing are there?

Structural editing is concerned with what one might term ‘high level’ language considerations:

  • Is there a logical argument, does the paper follow a structure, does the author avoid sudden jumps in the sense (non sequiturs)?
  • Does the author avoid using words ambiguously?
  • Has the author followed the format and style requirements of the journal to which he/she is submitting?
  • Is the paper’s use of headings appropriate?
  • Ditto paragraphs?

Copy editing is concerned with such matters of language as punctuation, grammar, spelling, hyphenation, and following bibliographical style.

What is the cost involved?

You would need to discuss costs with the editor concerned who is only likely to give a quote if you send a paper by email. Costs, however, are likely to be quoted by the hour or by the page, and may vary from £18/£20 per hour (the lower end) through £25-£35 per hour up to £50 to £100 per hour (for very highly technical work).

If the editor works ‘on screen’, the rate will be higher – for example €10 per 400 word page for a paper edit and €15 for an on-screen edit, while a telephone discussion to resolve issues could cost €50 per hour. The amount of time varies too – one ‘average’ is given as €175 for a ‘standard’ 15 page article, and estimates vary between 3-4 hours to 8-12 hours.

The following professional societies’ websites should provide some guidance, but remember that this is essentially for relatively straightforward work:

It is generally worthwhile to gain an idea from the editor what level of work will be undertaken, and how thoroughly the person will edit.

“Editors are expensive – especially if you are working in a country with a weaker currency than your editor’s. (This is true for most non-European academics trying to hire editors in the UK.) Most of my clients do not pay for their editing out of their own pockets, but get the assistance of their university or another funding agency, and such funds are usually available if the author knows to whom they should make such enquiries at their university.

In e-mailing for an estimate of how much the editing will cost, you should attach the document to be edited so that the editor can see how much work is required.

Do not try to haggle with editors or to try to use guilt (‘I’m just a poor academic’) in order to intimidate the editor into reducing the quoted price – most editors are struggling to make ends meet as well. If they take jobs for less than their usual rate, they may lose money. Treat editors as you would treat other professionals, and as you would like to be treated if you were in such a position.

You should be prepared to pay the editor immediately upon receiving their work.”

Dr Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Sussex, UK

What else to expect

Most editors will consider it important to allow what is called the ‘author’s voice’ , i.e. the authentic style of the author, to show through, and it should also be remembered that much of the language may be intrinsic to the specific academic discipline rather than to natural, spoken English.

“I attempt to keep the author’s style, as far as possible, although I try to draw his attention to what I would consider would be inappropriate styles for the destined publication, with suggestions for improvement. I find that many EFL authors [those to whom English is a freign language] may write a part of a paper in one verbal tense and suddenly switch to another tense. In cases like this, I suggest whichever is the more appropriate. For example, if writing for Popular Science, I would suggest a more informal present tense style, whereas the British Medical Journal would exact more formal scientific paper style writing. This has to be agreed beforehand between the author and the editor.”

Brian W. Ellis
Specialist in scientific editing based in Cyprus

“I always remain non-intrusive for general editing, but when I feel that something is unclear or should be changed, I draw the attention of the writer to this and make suggestions in UPPER CASE. The author also then has the option of discussing these with me.”

Dr Brian Bloch
Specialist German-English editor/translator

The editor will also check the format and style of the journal to which you are submitting – so make sure you provide this information. (You can also save money by checking this yourself.)

The same goes for references – so you will save considerable time and money if you do that yourself – see our How to.. use the Harvard reference system guide.

You should not expect your editor to solve all your English problems! You may well find that they need to contact you to resolve queries, caused by ambiguities in the English.

You should not expect your editor to solve all your English problems! You may well find that they need to contact you to resolve queries, caused by ambiguities in the English.

“Often with well-written EFL, there are subtle changes of meaning that may not actually be intended. For example, if I see the word ‘anxiety’ written by a French speaker, it could cover a range of meanings from ‘anxiété’, ‘inquiétude’, ‘appréhension’ or ‘angoisse’, all of which are found as equivalents in dictionaries. For the meaning to be clear, I would need to know the original word or, at least, what the author had in mind, so that I could qualify the noun with an appropriate adjective, if necessary (or select a different word). An editor cannot second-guess an author, if he is to do a good job, and my experience dictates that such subtle changes are often more time-consuming than the poor quality original, especially as the author is more likely to wish to debate terminology or phraseology, simply because he has a better knowledge of English to start with.”

Brian W. Ellis
Specialist in scientific editing based in Cyprus

“You should not expect that the paper will be ready to submit to the journal/publisher on the day that you receive it back from the editor. In most cases, the editor will have written some queries regarding sections of the paper that were ambiguous or contradictory or that could use further information that the editor could not provide. Attending to such matters will often take a couple of days.”

Dr Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Sussex, UK


When should you contact an editor?

The general advice is first to contact the editor informally with a working draft and the promise to tidy up the English, but to get the English sorted out before entering the more formal, peer-reviewed publishing process. Note the following comment, where it is suggested that it may be a waste of time to get a relatively clear manuscript edited when its content may change as a result of editorial or peer review.

“If one is faced with a fairly good article, which obviously needs a bit of polishing but is generally quite clear, I have been inclined to say, ‘”This is good enough for an editor to make a judgement. Don’t spend money on it now’, so that the author can make sure they only spend money on the final version. It would be expensive to have a lot of correction done on an 8,000 word article, and then have the editor insist that 3,000 words are cut. In several cases I have advised that the authors check whether the editor is interested in the topic, and that they say they will have the English revised for the final version.

The other thing that one often faces is an article with reviewers’ comments with very specific suggestions for revision – elaboration of the methodology section or more developed conclusions are the most common – which I cannot do anything about without more information from the author. Why had they chosen to do it this way, or which of the possible conclusions do they favour? If I start editing at that point, I am going to get involved in a lengthy (costly) exchange with the author trying to pull the information out of them. I would normally suggest that they answer those very specific questions before I begin, so that I have everything that I need for a final edit before I start.

Thinking about it, I think that I am more than likely to refuse to edit the first version of the article I am sent – between those that I suggest are good enough for an editor to decide whether they are interested in the article in principle, and those that I ask for more information before I can start.”

Professor David Turner
Editor based in Wales

Some editors will also recommend a final edit before submission.

Book resources

If you are using English regularly as a means of communication, you need to get good reference books, in particular a grammar and a dictionary.


You will obviously need a dictionary which translates your own language into English, but you will also need a good English-English dictionary.

The type of dictionary you use will be determined by where the journal for which you are writing is based.

The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors is an invaluable and relatively inexpensive tool which is invaluable for checking the spelling of awkward words, as well as other issues of language usage such as spelling and capitalization.


  • Practical English Usage
    Michael Swan, Oxford University Press, 2005 (3rd edition), ISBN-10: 019442099/ An alphabetical guide to the most common problems of English grammar.
  • Oxford Guide to English Grammar
    John Eastwood, Oxford University Press, 1994, ISBN-10: 0194313514. A basic English grammar, organized according to parts of speech.
  • Fowler’s Modern English Usage
    R.W. Burchfield, Oxford University Press, 2004 (3rd edition), ISBN-10: 0198610211
    A more detailed alphabetical guide to English grammar.

Website resources

There are a large number of writing sites, many of them compiled by universities anxious to give their foreign students help with academic English. Much of this advice is geared to undergraduates, but there is still some useful advice. We have selected the best of them, together with other relevant sites, and the details are below. If you know of any others which you have found particularly useful, please do not hesitate to contact us.

General features of academic writing

Writing on research papers

General language

  • William Strunk’s Elements of Style
    Dating from 1918, this is one of the classics of guides to grammar and style, set out as a series of rules.
    This site takes well-known reference books on English usage, such as Fowler, American Heritage Book of English Usage, and provides a search facility. Quite why they use the 1908 version of Fowler is a mystery, and their pop-up ads are irritating, but other than that they provide a very useful site.
  • Common errors . A useful reference work where you can check usage/spelling.


Online dictionaries

    This site acts as an online dictionary in the sense that it converts words on websites into links with online dictionaries.
  • Websters online
    A free online dictionary.

Bibliographic referencing

Portal and gateway sites

  • Cambridge Language Consultants
    An editing and consulting services specialising in research publications, this excellently organized site has pages devoted to writing resources online and in print.
  • ELB Brighton. Has useful links to other sites for English for academic purposes.



Photo: Ildar Sagdejev, CC

This article is part of the How-to… series brought to by Emerald Group Publishing

On this page, we summarize the process for the benefit of those writing in a foreign language, point to other parts of the site where these are covered, and talk about particular issues faced by those with language difficulties.

Why an international journal: what are the advantages?

Writing for an international journal has a number of advantages, principally:

  • You will reach an international community of fellow scholars in your area, and hence enhance the impact and outreach of your work, as well as your likelihood of being quoted.
  • As most international journals are peer reviewed, your work is given an automatic seal of approval, and a number of people will put effort into improving it and help getting it published.

Have I got something to publish?

Being published is about making an original contribution to the body of knowledge. The first task is to consider whether you do have something original to say – what is your article about, and why will your peers want to read about your work? What are the implications for future research? For practice? It is a good idea to prepare a brief 50-word statement which covers these questions, for your own benefit so that you have a clear idea in your own mind what your article is about and why it is important. It is also highly advisable to discuss your work with experienced academic colleagues.

“My first piece of advice would be: ‘Get as many experienced academics as possible to read the work before sending to publishers’. Perhaps an ‘authors’ support group’ could be established in faculty to meet and comment on developing work. My own experience of such a group is that, given a non-threatening and supportive atmosphere, it can be very productive in generating research ideas and collaborative working.”

Dr David Parker
editor specialising in operations management, logistics, marketing, e-commerce, based in Queensland, Australia

“Most editors will not be experts in your field of study. Before you submit your work to a journal, you should have colleagues within your field read your work as well, as editors are usually not able to tell if you have said something that is inappropriately controversial or if your statistics contain a mistake.”

Dr M. Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Sussex, UK

Believe it or not, the above considerations are far more important than putting the article into reasonable English, which is always possible with a bit of help.

“Improving the English will not get a poor piece of research published – it is the research method, rigour and appropriateness of analysis and findings that are the important things. A paper’s structure, the English, format and style can always be improved. But little can be done if there is a poor conceptual framework, shallow literature underpinning, inappropriate data collection methods and techniques of analysis, and which culminate in superficial conclusions.”

Dr David Parker
editor specializing in operations management, logistics, marketing, e-commerce, based in Queensland, Australia

Where should I publish?

If you have answered the question “Have I got something to publish?” favourably and fully, you will be in a good position to deal with the next part of the process, which is finding an outlet for publication. Most people in the publishing business recommend targeting a suitable journal – which means that you have to go about looking for a journal whose editorial aims and objectives match your work. See our How to… find the right journal guide for more on how to go about this.

paperProducing a draft

Write a draft of the paper in whatever English you have – it is better to do it like that than to write in your own language and then translate. Don’t worry too much about grammar, spelling, etc. – this should come later, once you have a draft of the content, as a separate, editing stage.

When you write, good advice is to look at your targeted journal, and others in the same field, and look at how articles are written. That way, you will pick up tips concerning phrasing, nuances, English idiom, etc.

“My general advice to a non-English speaking author would be to read high quality journals in their field (it is important that it is in their respective discipline) and take note of how experienced authors draw upon others’ work, their use of referencing to support argument and develop research methods, and the phrasing adopted (discipline specific rather than generalised). Be succinct and keep sentences short.”

Dr David Parker
editor specializing in operations management, logistics, marketing, e-commerce, based in Queensland, Australia

“When writing a paper, it is best to look at how papers in the same subject area are written [and to try and] mimic the way language is used to discuss a certain topic. A native English writer will use language to discuss the same topic in a wide variety of ways, and these ways can be used to help non-native speakers get around the problem of repeating themselves.”

Simon Linacre
Publisher, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

You may need more ‘hands-on’ help here, in the form of someone who can help you express yourself more clearly in English. This is not the same as using a professional editing service but involves sitting down with someone (perhaps a colleague in your department) whose English is better than yours and who can help you clarify your meaning.

Once you have a draft where your meaning is reasonably clear, even if the English needs polishing, then it is worth getting informal advice as to its publishing potential.

When to approach the editor?

Before entering the publishing process formally, it is always worth approaching the editor, or perhaps someone on the editorial Board whom you know, to read a draft of the paper with a view to giving you an opinion of its research and academic content before you go to the trouble – and possibly expense – of polishing the English.

However, before this stage is reached it is important that the article is clear enough for the editor to see the general argument, even if the English needs a polish.

“Most editors will be willing to give an early draft of a paper a first read and offer comments to an author before formal submission – it is much better to do this with a promise to ‘tidy up’ the English than submit an article that has poor English, as this will be rejected immediately. Also, editors will not want to struggle with a whole article written in poor English, so any early draft should be a shortened version of a couple of pages to give a flavour of the research area and findings.”

Simon Linacre
Publisher, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

It is in your own best interests to check that your draft is reasonably clear before you submit even a draft for informal assessment to an editor. Check with a member of your department, or if that is not possible for whatever reason, find a colleague in another university department, or even a non-academic with reasonably fluent English.

Getting help with the English

Although you should not approach an editor until you have a draft which is reasonably clear, once you have an indication of interest you need to think about tidying up your English.

At this point, you might wish to consider using the services of a professional editor

In the latter case, if you cannot make your ideas clear enough, you are advised to find someone whose English is reasonably good and who can help you find ways of expressing yourself clearly. You should do this before you approach someone even for an informal assessment.

Getting into the formal publishing process
Once your paper is in reasonable order you are ready to enter the publishing process formally. At this stage, your position is little different to that of any other author: you will have chosen your journal, and you will submit your paper to the editor in the knowledge that there is a reasonable overlap between the scope of your article and the objectives of the journal. If the editor considers that your article has potential, he or she will submit it for peer review. As part of that process, reviewers may offer their own suggestions for changes to the English.

You will need to make sure that your article is carefully and fully referenced. This is not something that demands a great knowledge of English but something which is fiddly and which requires care. See How to… use the Harvard reference system guide for more information.



Photo: Ildar Sagdejev, CC