Purpose –This paper aims to highlight how systems thinking contributes to decision making in uncertain contexts that are characteristic of service systems. Based on the assumption that service systems face complex conditions, we posit that systems thinking may support the understanding of key issues in service management. Design/methodology/approach – This paper proposes an interpretation of complexity in the context of service systems, which highlights the perspective change that occurs when a systems approach is adopted. The offered conceptual perspective is then brought to an operational level, in spite of the complexity of the decisions driving a viable system, by modeling a service system as a network of agents, resources, processes and decisions through the use of fuzzy logic. The paper reviews service management research streams, and takes a deeper look at the concepts of service systems and complex service systems. The paper then proceeds to discuss how systems thinking contributes to service management by proposing a systems interpretation of complexity. Findings – Service management theories and models may be enhanced by integrating prevailing approaches, based on a quantitative and mechanistic view of service systems dynamics, with systems thinking-based meta-models that can be used in better understanding service exchanges. The findings of the paper also show how the integration of an engineering approach can be insightful to the understanding of service systems; adopting a Viable Systems Approach (VSA) as a meta-model can be useful in fully comprehending market behavior in uncertain conditions. Research limitations/implications – The paper introduces the VSA as a useful meta-model capable of better addressing decision making in service systems under conditions of complexity. The paper also proposes the adoption of fuzzy logic models to deal with the vagueness and ambiguity that characterize complexity contexts. Future research ought to investigate the analysis of complex phenomena, such as the service exchange, when adopting both the VSA and several operative models and constructs, in order to strengthen the observer’s capacity to understand reality. Practical implications – The VSA’s contribution to decision making in the service exchange is clear when practitioners choose to adopt it as a meta-model that offers a terminological setting and general interpretative approaches. In this sense, practitioners may valorize this proposal to integrate its insights with operative models that support decision making in service systems and with a more powerful understanding of both the structural and operative levels characterizing their governance and development. Originality/value – The originality of this paper lies in exploring the contribution of systems thinking, in particular of the Viable Systems Approach (VSA), to service management and decision making.
|Titolo:||Viable Service Systems and Decision Making in Service Management|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1.2 Articolo su rivista con ISSN|