Service Domain Fundamentals - SSKE
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The Fundamentals of the Service Domain Knowledge, abbreviated to Domain Fundamentals, proposes a structured description of basic concepts and views related to service and services.

The term service has two main generally accepted significances:

In the first sense, the focus is on exchange interactions and on the intangible character of a service (see, for example here or here).

In the second sense, the focus is on the software technology allowing network supported interoperability of various software agents.

In contemporary service systems economies, the two meanings fuse in the sense that implementing a modern service system assumes also the integration of information systems, as subsystems of organizational systems of systems [organizational system of systems] (Mora et al., 2003). In the mean time, the service domain is growing with the service orientation of modern manufacturing processes, for example through servitization of manufacturing (see, for example Prof. Neely’s contribution “The Servitization of Manufacturing: An International Perspective”, available at Cambridge Service Alliance). These service orientation processes also imply the strong integration of production processes with information systems and specific IT technologies.

The topics offered by Domain Fundamentals invites to a guided lecture, from these different but strongly interrelated perspectives, about the service worldview. This guided tour encompasses:

In the service science view, the service is generated within a service system, which offers value propositions to other service systems (Spohrer et al., 2008). Thus, one can regard a service as a subsystem of a service system, and study its interrelated components (such as service measures, service outcomes, value proposition, service interactions and others) or as a business process - which is itself a discrete-event dynamic system (Hlupic and Robinson, 1998) -, with focus on the flux of interactions and activities. An integrating theoretical perspective comes from the Systems Approach (Ackoff, 1971) on services, relating the service system concept with the more general organizational systems of systems concept and the system of systems concept (Mora et al., 2011).

In the paper “Service Science”, published in 2008 in Journal of Grid Computing, Spohrer and his co-workers notes:

“...the reader should consider service to be defined as the application of competence (resources) for benefit of another. Our notion of science can be defined as the agreed upon methods and standards of rigor used by a community to envelop a body of knowledge that accounts for observable classes of phenomenon in the world with conceptual frameworks, theories, models, and laws, that can be both empirically tested and applied to the benefit of society.”

And the authors continue:

“Service science can be thought of as a mashup or integration of many areas of study known as service management, service marketing, service operations, service engineering, service computing, service human resources management, service economics, management of service innovation, service supply chain and contracting (eSourcing), and others. One can make four preliminary observations about these many disciplines.

First, in one way or another they all dealwith types of resources. For example, service human resources management deals with people, service computing deals with information and information technologies, and service supply chains and contracting (eSourcing) deal with interacting organizations. People, information, technologies, and organizations can all be viewed as different types of resources with their own disciplines to study the way they can be applied or configured to create value.

Second, some of the disciplines more than others attempt to integrate and coordinate resources for specific purposes, for example, service management, service engineering, and management of service innovation.

Third, measurement is important in most of the disciplines, though criteria about what is good measurement may vary between the disciplines, for example, service economics, service management,and service engineering.

Fourth, and perhaps most problematically, one notices the need to modify the name of each discipline with the word “service.” Vargo and Lusch (2004) provide a foundational logic to understand why the modifier is needed, but suffice it to say society is transitioning from a worldview that sees value in goods (physical things) to a worldview that sees value realized in service exchanges (the application of knowledge via types of relationships for mutual benefit). This is especially problematic because the term “service” evokes many misconceptions and stereotypes. For example, government statistics that show the rise in the service sector, may count jobs as manufacturing jobs when they are part of a manufacturing company until those same jobs are outsourced to a company that provides the service back to the manufacturing company. In many cases the same people are doing the same job, but in the national accounts the jobs are now tallied differently. As another telling example, in general, the average American today is more likely to associate the concept “service job” with someone who works in a fast food restaurant than someone who works as a research professor in a university—even when that person is the university professor.”

Referring to the bridge between theory and practice and the impact of service domain for the society, industry and education, the authors emphasize:

“Service science (which is still slowly emerging, and may take twenty more years to become established) is inherently multidisciplinary, with a longterm goal of becoming truly interdisciplinary. The interdisciplinary goal will be realized only as bridging theories are found to integrate separate disciplines into a new whole. A key driving force behind the origins of service science is the desire of industry to hire, in potentially vast numbers, a new type of professional. The new professional will have deep knowledge in some existing discipline, and also be skilled in the integrated science and art of service design and value realization, by combining technology, business model, and social–organizational innovations to improve business and societal systems.

... The emerging service science professional, with a certificate in Service Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME) in addition to their home discipline degree, is a graduate who is both deep and broad. A service scientist must have deep contributory expertise in their home discipline and a great breadth of interactional expertise across the broad range of disciplines mentioned earlier. A visual metaphor might be that of a “Tshaped” person, broad knowledge on top resting on deep knowledge below. Some envision an effective 21st Century labour force of adaptive innovators, whose background and leadership abilities allow them to create consensus across a range of academic discipline silos and organizational functional silos.

From an industry perspective, the first driving force behind the demand for service science (short for SSME) is the need for a new type of professional who can lead in making service innovation more systematic and therefore a better investment choice. Many governments also see the need for service innovation to achieve important societal goals such as accessibility and sustainability. However, the ultimate success of this endeavour will likely depend on whether or not breakthrough theories can be developed in the academic research community. For example, can a unified theory of service marketing, service operations, and service computing be developed? What would such a theory be like? Imagine, as businesses that engage in information technology outsourcing do, that the customer resources (marketing) and the provider resources (operations) can become part of a unified pool (computing). Of course, a more general theory of entities interacting to achieve outcomes that co-create value is needed.”


  1. A Systemic Approach for the Formalization of the Information Systems Concept: Why Information Systems are Systems? (Authors: Manuel Mora Ovsei Gelman Francisco Cervantes Marcelo MejIa Alfredo Weitzenfeld Editors: Jeimy J. Cano Published In: Critical Reflections on Information Systems: A Systemic Approach Publication Date: 2003)
  2. Business process modelling and analysis using discrete-event simulation (Authors: Vlatka Hlupic Stewart Robinson Published In: Proceedings of the 30th conference on Winter simulation Publication Date: 1998)
  3. Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing (Authors: Stephen L. Vargo Robert F. Lusch Published In: Journal of Marketing Publication Date: 2004)
  4. Onto-ServSys: A Service System Ontology (Authors: Manuel Mora Mahesh Raisinghani Ovsei Gelman Miguel Angel Sicilia Editors: Haluk Demirkan Jim Spohrer Vikas Krishna Published In: The Science of Service Systems Publication Date: 2011)
  5. Service Science (Spohrer) (Authors: Jim Spohrer Laura C. Anderson Norman J. Pass Tryg Ager Daniel Gruhl Published In: Journal of Grid Computing Publication Date: 2008)
  6. Towards a system of systems concepts (Authors: Russell L. Ackoff Published In: Management Science (MANSCI) Publication Date: 1971)


The Servitization of Manufacturing: An International Perspective by A. Neely

This page was last modified on 12 November 2013, at 13:08.This page has been accessed 4,960 times.