Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to combine service science (service science, management and engineering, and SSME) and service dominant (S-D) logic contributions with the network and systems-based theories of many-to-many marketing proposed by Gummesson and the viable system approach (VSA), proposed by Italian researchers and highly diffused in Italy during the 2000s. Design/methodology/approach – This paper is a conceptual analysis based on recent developments in service science, S-D logic and network/systems theory. Findings – Being grounded in network theory, systems thinking and value co-creation, many-to-many marketing is found to be particularly supportive to both service science and S-D logic. It is also found that VSA, being broad, interdisciplinary and based on systems theory and resource-based theory, and with strong influences from biology, sociology and mechanics, is a key to the interpretation of complex phenomena. Both many-to-many and VSA embrace the whole and the general while still considering the detail and its contextual dependency. Both theories are highly suitable for analysing and designing service systems. Research limitations/implications – The network and systemic approach to business offer by many-to-many marketing and VSA and applicable to service and the value creation, relationship management and business finalities, are strongly coherent with the one proposed or tacitly implied by service science and S-D logic. Practical implications – The paper helps practitioners to better manage service and to enable efficient behaviour within multiple contexts with multiple actors and optimising inter-systemic relations. Originality/value – This is believed to be the only paper to apply network theories and the VSA perspective on service. Keywords Systems theory, Networking, Customer service management
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