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Service-Dominant Logic, Service Ecosystems and Institutions: Bridging Theory and Practice

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Service Management


Guest Editors: Irene CL Ng, WMG, University of Warwick, Stephen L Vargo, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Abstract Submission Deadline: October 1, 2016

The term ‘service system’ has entered the lexicon of service researchers, with the service system described as a network of agents that interact and integrate resources for value co-creation (Maglio et al., 2009, Ng et al., 2011). The context of value creation is intrinsic to the system design and the adaptive, interactive actions of agents classify the network as an ecosystem (Lusch et al., 2010).
Lusch and Vargo (2014) define “service ecosystems” as "relatively self-contained, self-adjusting system[s] of resource-integrating actors connected by shared institutional arrangements and mutual value creation through service exchange." This perspective is based on the axioms of Vargo and Lusch’s (2004, 2008, 2016) Service-Dominant logic (S-D logic); that service is exchanged for service (FP1/Axiom 1), that the customer is always a co-creator of value (FP6/Axiom 2), that all social and economic actors are resource integrators (FP9/Axiom 3), that value is always uniquely and phenomenologically determined by the beneficiary (FP10/Axiom 4), and that value cocreation is coordinated through actor-generated institutions and institutional arrangements (FP11/Axiom 5).
In ongoing work on S-D logic, there is growing recognition that ‘institutions and institutional arrangements are the foundational facilitators of value cocreation in markets and elsewhere’, and that networks are being conceptualised as ‘resource-integrating, service-exchanging actors that constrain and coordinate themselves through institutions and institutional arrangements.’ (Vargo and Lusch, 2016).  In essence, acknowledgement and comprehension of the existence and role of institutions has become essential to understanding value cocreation (Vargo and Lusch 2011).

The addition of Axiom 5 on the role of institutions in value cocreation, along with the adoption of an ecosystems perspective, suggests that the narrative of S-D logic has, arguably, become reasonably clear and cohesive: value cocreation occurs through actors’ integration of resources and service exchange enabled and constrained through endogenously generated, shared institutions (social norms, rules, symbols and other normative and heuristic guidelines) establishing dynamic, nested and overlapping service ecosystems, which provide the context for further value cocreation. This narrative is applicable to all levels of aggregation (e.g., dyadic exchange, family, organization, industry, cultural, etc.).

Application and empirical investigation however require the development of less abstract, mid-range theory. Some of this mid-range theory development is currently occurring, such as recent work on the role of engagement in value cocreation (e.g., Brodie et al., 2011). The purpose of this special issue is to develop and investigate additional mid-range and micro-level (of abstraction) theories that lend themselves to practice and testing and thus to the refinement of the meta-theory.  Some possible topics include, but are not limited to:
a. Microfoundations and mid-range theories of S-D logic ­ assessing and applying the theory.
b. Institutional logics and the work of institutions
c. Resiliency and agility in service ecosystems
d. Governance issues in service ecosystems
e. Customer/consumer/stakeholder involvement/engagement and/or coordinating/collaborating with diverse stakeholders
f. Role of shared institutions in value cocreation and service ecosystems
g. System viability (wellbeing, value)
h. Supply Chain Management from an service ecosystems perspective
i. Modelling large-scale service ecosystems
j. Risk assessment in large-scale service ecosystems
k. Language and sign systems
l. Complex adaptive systems thinking
m. Nature as service (ecosystem services)
n. Mid-range theories of service-dominant logic

Initial submission is by extended abstract with a suggested word count of 1500-2000 (including references and supporting material), which should be sent to Yin F Lim at [email protected] by October 1, 2016. The authors of a limited number of these abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper. These invited submissions will then undergo the normal blind review process to identify the articles to be published in the special issue.

Important Dates
Initial, extended abstract submission: October 1, 2016
Anticipated invited paper submission: Jan 15, 2017
Expected publication date:  Early 2018

Brodie, R.J., Hollebeek, L.D., Juric, B. and Ilic, A. (2011), “Customer engagement: conceptual domain, fundamental exchange on customer value and loyalty”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 59, pp. 449–456.
Maglio P.P., Vargo, S.L., Caswell, N. and Spohrer. J. (2009), “The service system is the basic abstraction of service science”, Information Systems and e-business Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 395-406.
Lusch, R., Vargo, S. and Tanniru, M. (2010), "Service, value networks and learning", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 15-31.
Ng, I.C.L., Maull, R.S. and Smith, L. (2011), “Embedding the new
discipline of service science”, in Demirkan, H., Spohrer, J.C. and Krishna, V. (Eds.), The Science of Service Systems, volume in Service Science: Research and Innovations (SSRI) in the Service Economy Book Series, Springer, New York, pp.13-31 ISSN: 1865-4924
Vargo, S.L. and Lusch, R.F. (2004), "Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing", Journal of Marketing, Vol. 68, January, pp. 1-17.
Vargo, S.L. and Lusch, R.F. (2008), "Service-dominant logic: continuing the evolution", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 36, pp. 1-10.
Vargo, S. L. and Lusch, R. F. (2011), “It’s all b2b and beyond…: toward a systems perspective of the market”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 181–187.
Lusch, R. F. and Vargo, S. L. (2014), Service-Dominant Logic: Premises, Perspectives, Possibilities, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Vargo, S.L. and Lusch, R.F. (2016), "Institutions and axioms: an extension and update of service-dominant logic", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 44, pp. 5-23.