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Created by Adminsske on 13 May 2012, at 22:32


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Applying Systems Theory to Service Science

The objective of this paper is to review recent developments in service theory and systems theory with a view to identifying common features between the two. In particular, the study explores the issue of whether so-called ‘smart service systems’ can be understood in terms of the ‘viable systems approach of systems theory. The paper begins with a review of recent developments in service theory by examining the fundamental principles of service-dominant logic (S-D logic) and service science (SS). The similarities and differences of the two are explored, with particular emphasis on the common feature of the service system. The study then moves to the realm of systems theory by exploring the main proposals of the viable systems approach (VSA), which is an interdisciplinary systems theory that includes elements derived from resource-based theory, biology, sociology, and mechanics. The paper then draws together service theory and systems theory by examining whether ‘smart service systems’ can be best understood in terms of ‘viable service systems’. The most important finding of the study is that the VSA provides valuable insights into the design and management of smart service systems, especially with regard to harmonisation, systems governance, and successful value co-creation processes.


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