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The 3 Pillars of The Naples Forum

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Service Theory and Practice

Special Issue Journal of Service Theory and Practice
Call for papers
Guest Editors:
Prof. Francesco Polese, University of Salerno, IT
Prof. Cristina Mele, University of Naples ‘Federico II’, IT
Prof. Evert Gummesson, Stockholm Business School, SWE

The 3 pillars of the Naples Forum on Service

The Naples Forum on Service has reached its fourth edition and, after the success of its past experiences (see has just run its 2015 experience confirming the success of its inspiring scientific premises. The Naples Forum is an effort to stimulate Paradigm 3 research, communicate it and speed up its progress (for a brief article on the paradigms, see Gummesson, 2012).
• Paradigm 1 (pre-1970s) where service was not at all on the agenda in marketing and management research and education.
• Paradigm 2 (1970s-2000s) when service research grew exponentially with seminal contributions from Northern Europe, France, UK, USA and other countries with goods/services differences in the center but lacking syntheses and unifying theory.
• Paradigm 3 (2000s-) when service research moved its focus from differences to commonalities and interdependencies between goods and services. It also moved from the supplier value chain to the value network of all stakeholders (“balanced centricity”) and service (in the singular) became the output irrespective of input. The roles of suppliers and customers have also changed through the recognition of cocreation of value with resource integration with customer-to-customer interaction (C2C) or more broadly as actor-to-actor interaction (A2A). In the core of Paradigm 3 is the recognition of complexity. Service systems are enormously complex – it is not sufficient to study the relationship between just a few variables. The new millennium brought with it openings to address complexity and take a more systemic view. Service-Dominant (S-D) Logic contributed a initial higher-level service theory of the best contributions of the past and showed directions for the future. Service Science started from practitioner experiences and challenges our way of designing and implementing service systems. Network Theory and Systems Theory have been deployed to address complexity, with applications like Many-to-Many-Marketing and the Viable Systems Approach (VSA). These developments form the 3 Pillars of the Naples Forum. With them it is motivated to label our current economy a Service Economy.
The transition to Paradigm 3 is developing – but it takes time and effort. Service research got under way 40 years ago and it is only now that we are beginning to sense the full picture of our economies as complex networks of service systems with a mission to enhance value for consumers, citizens, businesses and society as a whole. The following sections offer brief reviews of the characteristics of the 3 Pillars ending with reference to some recent publications on each of them.

Service Dominant (S-D) Logic
S-D logic summarizes its message in four axioms and ten foundational premises. In brief, these premises put the following to the fore. The most critical changes include moving from goods/services differences to goods/service interdependencies. The word ‘service’ is given a new meaning, going from an undefined input to the value of the output and value-in-use or in a more generalized way to value-in-context. Service is the fundamental basis of exchange (axiom 1) and goods are merely distribution mechanisms of service. Both businesses and customers are operant (active) resources as opposed to the mainstream marketing and economics idea that suppliers do things to customers who are just reactive or passive (operand resources). A service provider can only offer a value proposition to the market; the beneficiaries is always a co-creator of value (axiom 2), whereas value actualization rests with users in an idiosyncratic and contextual way (axiom 4). The network aspect is implicit through the statement that all social and economic actors are cocreators and resource integrators (axiom 3), implying that value creation takes place through interaction in complex networks and systems. Bob Lusch and Steve Vargo who designed S-D logic keep developing it and treat it as an open code where everyone is welcome to make constructive contributions

Service Science
Service Science is a call for academia, industry, and governments to become more systemic about service performance and innovation. The ultimate goal of Service Science is to apply scientific knowledge to the design and improvements of service systems for business and societal purposes. The concern is that we do not master seamless and reliable service systems at a time when systems are becoming increasingly complex and global, making us increasingly vulnerable to systems sluggishness and failure. Every service system is both a provider and client of service that is connected by value propositions in value-creating networks.
Service Science is a multidisciplinary, open-source program based on computer science, industrial engineering, organizational theory, business strategy and more, including the humanities. In terms of science, it investigates what service systems are and how they evolve, and the roles of people, knowledge, shared information and technology, as well as the relevance of customers inside production processes; in terms of management it investigates how to improve and evaluate quality and productivity; and in terms of engineering it develops new designs of service systems with better technologies and software.
Service Science is the study of complex service systems; such a simple and straight forward definition calls for intriguing issues due to the ample set of disciplines, research methods, cultural domains and areas of interest in order to capture the powerful insights and the essence of service in technological setting and in today life.

Network and Systems Theory
The words complexity, networks and systems pinpoint the same phenomena. Complexity is derived from the Latin verb complecti, meaning “to twine together” and the noun complexus means “network”. The word “system” is derived from the Greek systema, meaning “a whole composed of many parts”. So the meanings of the three words overlap and expose their interdependency. From these words different traditions have sprung up. Network theory and systems theory offer both a way of thinking in relationships and interaction and techniques to address complexity and context. These are part of complexity theory where many others, for example, chaos theory, fractal geometry and autopoiesis (self-organizing systems) belong. Complexity theory exists both in social sciences, natural sciences and technology but is not utilized efficiently by management disciplines.
Network theory has primarily offered a systemic approach for B2B but has equal potential for B2C/C2B (business-to-consumer/consumer-to-business). Many-to-Many Marketing is a general approach that describes, analyzes and utilizes the network properties of marketing and recognizes that both suppliers and customers operate in complex network contexts. The Viable Systems Approach (VSA) is a systems theory-based application for management. It postulates that every business is a system, nested in a relational context where it is looking for competitive profiles (viability) through interaction with other actors/stakeholders. Its theory proposes a new representation of the behavioral approach to business and relational interactions with its context. In practice it is a methodological proposal that enables a better understanding of business models, supporting decision making in complex context. Networks and systems thinking are integral parts of both S-D logic and Service Science.

Subject Coverage
Developing Paradigm 3 through Naples Forum Publications
Within the 3 Pillars lots of activities including extensive publishing takes place. Lusch and Vargo have been involved in over 50 articles and 20 book chapters, edited several Special Issues of journals, and spoken continually at conferences, universities and business firms around the world. A new book written by Bob and Steve, (Service-Dominant Logic was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014) is a condensed (220 pp.) overview of where  S-D Logic stands today. Jim Spohrer and his colleagues, together with Forum participants publish continuously on Service Science, including three recent books. Network and systems theory is increasingly integrated with the two other pillars and is the lead theme for several authors, not least from Italian researchers, the Nordic School and the IMP Group. The Naples Forum stimulates Paradigm 3 research, communicates it and speeds up its progress.
Important Note: This special issue will include some of the best papers presented at the ‘2015 Naples Forum on Service’ (June 9-12, 2015, Naples, Italy) provided that they are enhanced with new material (at least 50%) and their quality meets the JSTP standards. Moreover, public submissions are welcome. All submitted papers will be subject to double blind review process according to the JSTP review procedures

Submissions to Journal of Service Theory and Practice are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available at
When submitting, please select the special issue titled: Naples Forum 2015 Special Issue. Papers must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. A standard double-blind review process will be used to select papers for the special issue.
Full information and guidance on using ScholarOne Manuscripts is available at the Emerald ScholarOne Manuscripts Support Centre:
Important Dates:Submission of papers: October 8th, 2015
Expected publication date of the special issue: 2016
Articles should be between 8000 and 12000 words in length. Guidelines for authors can be found:
Registration and access is available at Full information and guidance on using ScholarOne Manuscripts is available at the Emerald ScholarOne Manuscripts Support Centre:
JSTP is abstracted and indexed in: ABI/INFORM, Business Source Alumni Edition/Complete/Corporate Plus/Elite/Premier, Cabell's Dictionary of Publishing Opportunities in Management and Marketing, Current Abstracts, Emerald Management Reviews, Materials Business File, Mechanical & Transportation Engineering Abstracts, METADEX, ProQuest, PsycINFO, Scopus, TOC Premier.
2013 Impact Factor: 0.984 (Thomson Reuters, 2014)

For further queries, please contact:
Prof. Francesco Polese, University of Salerno, IT.
E-mail: [email protected]

For more information on the Journal, visit the home page:

Badinelli, R., Barile, S., Ng, I., Polese, F., Saviano, M. and Di Nauta, P. (2012), “Viable Service Systems and Decision Making in Service Management”, Journal of Service Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 498-526.
Barile, S., Polese, F., Saviano, M., Pels, J., Carrubbo L. (2014), “The contribution of Vsa and Sdl perspectives to strategic thinking in emerging economies”, Managing Service Quality, Vol.24 No. 6, pp. 565– 591.
Barile, S., Pels, J., Polese, F. and Saviano, M. (2012), “An Introduction to the Viable Systems Approach and its Contribution to Marketing”, Journal of Business Market Management, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 54-78.
Barile, S., Spohrer, J. and Polese, F. (2010), “System Thinking for Service Research Advances”, Service Science, Vol. 2 No. 1/2, pp. i-iii.
Golinelli, G.M. (2010), Viable Systems Approach (vSa), Governing Business Dynamics. Kluwer Cedam: Padova.
Gummesson, E. (2012), “The three service marketing paradigms: which one are you guided by?”, Mercati e Competitività, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp.5-14.
Gummesson, E. and Mele, C. (2010), “Marketing as value co-creation through network interaction and resource integration”, Journal of Business Market Management, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 181-198
Gummesson, E. and Polese, F. (2009), “B2B is not an island”, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Vol. 24 No. 5/6, pp. 337-350.
Gummesson, E., Lusch, R.F. and Vargo, S.L. (2010), “Transitioning from Service Management to Service-Dominant Logic: Observations and Recommendations”, International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 8–22.
Lusch, R.F. and Vargo, S.L. (2014), Service-Dominant Logic: Premises, Perspectives, Possibilities. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Maglio, P. and Spohrer, J.C. (2008), “Fundamentals of service science”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 18–20.
Maglio, P., Kieliszewski, C.A.  and Spohrer, J.C. (eds.) (2011), Handbook of Service Science. Springer: NY.
Mele, C., Pels, J., Polese, F. (2010), “A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Applications”, Service Science, Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.126–135.
Mele, C., Pels, J. and Storbacka, K. (2014), “A holistic market conceptualization”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, pp. 1-15, doi:10.1007/s11747-014-0383-8.
Payne, A.F., Storbacka, K. and Frow P. (2008), “Managing the co-creation of value”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol.36 No.1, pp. 83–96.
Pels, J., Brodie, R.J. and Polese, F. (2012), “Value Co-creation: Using a Viable Systems Approach to Draw Implications from Organizational Theories”, Mercati & Competitività, Vol. 1/12, pp. 19-38.
Spohrer, J.C., Maglio, P., Bailey, J. and Gruhl, D. (2007), “Steps Toward a Science of Service Systems”, Computer, Vol. 40, pp. 71–77.
Vargo, S. and Lusch, R. (2008), “Service-Dominant Logic: Continuing the Evolution”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol.36 No.1, pp. 1–10.
Wieland, H., Polese, F., Vargo, S. and Lusch, R. (2012), “Toward a Service (Eco)Systems Perspective on Value Creation”, International Journal of Service Science, Management Engineering, and Technology, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 12-25.