What’s ahead in service research: new perspectives for business and society
Call fo papers: RESER 2016 Call for papers
IDA, Kalvebod Brygge 31, København K – September 12th, 2015
Members of the RESER Council:
Brita Hermelin (Linköping University), Céline Merlin Brogniard (University of Lille), Gisela di Meglio (Universidad Complutense de Madrid); José Luis Navarro-Espigares (University of Granada), Marie Christine Monnoyer (Université de Toulouse 1), Markus Scheuer (RWI Essen), Patrik Ström (University of Gothenburg, President), Pedro Costa (University Institute of Lisbon), Lars Fuglsang (Roskilde University, organizer of 2015 conference).
(Members of council excused: Alexander Schletz (Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart); Laurentiu Tachiciu (Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest); Maria Savona (SPRU, UK), Risto Rajala (Aalto University))
Members of the RESER and other participants:
Jean Philippe (Aix Marseille University), Marja Toivonen (Aalto University), Grete Rusten (Bergen University), Metka Stare (University of Ljubljana), Jon Sundbo (Roskilde University), Flemming Sørensen (Roskilde University), Zhuo Zhang (Aix Marseille University); Estibaliz Hernandez (Mondragon Innovation and Knowledge); Jose Aureliano Martin Segura (Granada University), Cesar Perez Lopez (IEF), Luna Leoni (Rome University), Janina Evers (RIAS)
The RESER president Patrik Strom opened the GA and thanked the local organizers in Copenhagen for an excellent conference.
The Helsinki 2014 General Assembly Minutes were approved by the GA, without changes.
The council activity report was presented by the President. The activity report was discussed with the GA participants, and is annexed to these minutes. A comprehensive and sequential presentation of the several items was made, with particular focus on the accomplishment of the several RESER Council priorities for 2014/15 and the implementation of medium term RESER action plan.
Summary of the topics presented (cf. annex for details):
Some particular topics encouraged specific comment by some AG participants:
– Marja Toivonen reported that we had 6 journals with selection of papers from the 2014 Helsinki conference (being 3 of these special editions already out now)
(3 now out)
– Technology Innovation Management Review (special issue, published on February 15, including a sponsored big add to next RESER conference);
– Journal of Inspiration Economics (new journal, with selection process coordinated by F. Gallouj);
– Journal of Energy and Environment (from their initiative, selection of papers on environment and sustainable issues)
(3 on hold)
– Journal of Service Science (ongoing process, special issue, on social innovation issues)
– Economie et Société, series on Economics and Management of Services (EGS) journal (ongoing publishing process coordinated by F. Gallouj)
– Journal of Industry and Innovation (special issue on social systems of innovation, which process of selection started recently)
MCM highlighted the importance (and the need) to have a comprehensive list of persons who published in each journal, to give the information in the website. Conference organizers will provide that information.
– REDLAS conference
Gisela di Meglio informed that despite the interest of several RESER members to participate in this year’s Montevideo Conference, at the end no member was able to go; nevertheless, Maria Savona was presenting a communication by skype.
– Other conferences
Brita Hermelin and Grete Rusten reported an unforeseen accident which impeded their presence at RSA conference session, organized by themselves, but considered this a positive experience, to repeat, as well as other previously organized session, e.g, last year at AAG.
Metka reported also previous experiences (eg Marketing Association meeting,…), and the GA agreed that this is something to reinforce in next years, opening RESER to the exterior, avoiding lock in, and trying to engage others in our conferences.
The need to keep on both perspectives was claimed:
– on the one hand, having special sessions organized at other associations’ meetings;
– and on the other hand, to have also special sessions in our conferences, as in the past (e.g., an EU project with RESER members, etc.)
MCM remembered the need of information, but also the updating of information – e.g, paper or book publications, presentations about services in big conferences, etc,
Effort was made this year to present PhD students to RESER community through the website. It is important to feed the news all over year and not just immediately before and after the conference.
The publication of conference papers at the website was also discussed, and the relation with journal publications schedules. In parallel to this discussion, MCM reported the publication of 3 Aix-en Provence Conference papers in SIJ (and no publication of others, after a complex process, eg, papers of reputed researchers with 4 revisons, accepted by reser nominated editors, but then rejected at the end by journal editors); In the case of the process of publication of Bucharest Conference papers, the same process occurred, and there is at least one paper published now.
MCM remembered no need of password to access to the website; all publication is made by MCM, so, all the information to be published should be directed to her.
-Grete Rusten highlighted the high level of activity presented by the council considering the kind of structuring of the work of the organization, which is non-professional and “volunteer” based.
– Metka requested more information about the High Level Group conference; PS reported briefly the dynamics of transformation in the structure with new European Commission formation and new DG’s; It was also reported information provided by Peter Smith to some members, considering that this would be a good moment to seize opportunities, seizing the changes in the organizational structure of the European Commission. It was discussed that new influent persons should be aware of RESER activities, and may be a way can be that they can be invited to next conference (as occurred in the past).
PS presented some of the priorities for the Council Activity for 2014/15, which were discussed by the GA.
– PhD Students grant
In sequence of the debates held on precedent meetings, the question of support schemes to PhD students was discussed by the GA. Patrik framed the question and remembered the issue of the possibility of opening to applicants which are not RESER members, or not come from teams from RESER network. The deadline to application was normally in June, so mobility can start in September, but there have been lack of applications, as discussed in previous meetings.
A general discussion was launsched with participation of several members:
– Brita defended that since money comes from member fees, we should in general keep the grants to members;
– Gisela supported also that the money should be used to increase collaboration amongst members of the network;
– It was remembered that we have now more flexible conditions, but we don’t have applications neither this year or previous;
– Patrik suggested the possibility of pos-doc students also apply;
– Grete R. suggested if we could raise the financial value of the grant, as RESER finances are well, and that could raise attractiveness;
– It was remembered the need to be a RESER member when apply, but just the applicant institution (which is not impeditive for the candidates; and if they are participants in any RESER meeting they are also memebers);
– Luna Leone defended the importance of opening to post docs, because of practical issues: In some case, to be recognized mobility within a PhD program, there is a need of staying abroad at least 6 months, and post doc could be more flexible; may be that can be an opportunity;
– GA agreed that the grant should be eligible also to pos-docs, but effectively this possibility is already in the rules, we just need to market here more this point;
– A brief discussion was held discussing if we should raise the value of the grant; the possibility of raising the value, but to have a minimum time (2 months, 1 month…) was suggest. After debate, it was considered that we should keep the value of 3000 euros for 1 stay of one month, and the possibility to extend it to 4000 euros, if the stay is set for more time than this;
– Pedro remembered the possibility of combining this individual students’ research grant with the small research grant application, in projects that can combine the stay of a student in one team in the scope of a broader small research project, which can also improve the attractiveness and consistency for applications.
– Marie-Christine suggested the possibility of extending this year’s deadline until the end of December;
– Lars reported the case of a potential applicant, which this year has contacted Roskylde University, interested in this possibility (Silvia Morales, from Grenoble). The general opinion was that she should be encouraged to submit a proposal. There is no formal problem, as she is a RESER member being present at the conference this year (even if Grenoble at university, which was a former RESER team, now they are not RESER members, although some research in services is made). Being an individual member she can apply.
– Research grant
Patrik launched also the debate about the small research grant: it has set the value of 5000 euros; it was sometimes already used, although we do not have applicants for now; it is of fundamental importance being RESER teams involved. A debate was held on if we should keep it or not, and the GA agreed on that, on the sequence of Council’s discussion.
It is not updated the information in the website, including the deadline. In past, the deadline was established for January (in order to have results decided on the annual face to face meeting of February).
It was set January 31st deadline for the next one.
Patrik reported the updates on the possibility of having a RESER books with Edward Elgar. However, doubts remain (also in the publisher) about if we have enough good and coherent papers that could be a platform to a book every year (and if we are able to have interest of people in publish their papers in book format, i.e., have critical mass of papers every year).
The idea would be, e.g., to have 6 good papers on a theme, from conference participants who wants to publish on the book, and other people working on the area could be invited to add also texts.
This needs a significant workload, may be 2 or 3 persons from council plus local organizing team (without surcharging too much these ones).
Grete suggested that we could use the small research grant to help editorial committees (helping through a project to meet, and so on);
Marie-Christine suggested to seize the expertise of well-known and experient RESER senior members (e.g Will Beyers, P. Daniels,…), some of them with wide book publishing experience, to be involved in this process (as invited editors, e.g), may be offering them a “reward”, a compensation for their work (e.g., free attendance in next conference, or membership fees, etc.).
Brita suggested the possibility of setting easier schemes, and keep it simple: e.g, direct support for specific book projects, which would be easier to remember and to handle;
Council agreed on this, and to explore further these suggestions.
A discussion on the visibility of RESER conference papers was also held. There is an well identified problem with the availability of these papers in RESER webpage (as it was made in the past), because of the problems with journal publishers, which often (and increasingly) do not publish papers which were available before in proceedings of working papers.
In order to overcome this problem, the council suggests having all conference abstracts on the website (instead of the papers, in a first moment, and then with links to the papers in their publishable versions), as a kind of repository which could also increase the interest of RESER webpage for services research community. The dissemination of abstracts is not affecting negatively the publishing industry (on the contrary…) and will not be problematic to them, and the RESER community can have a simple and consistent repository of its information, and all production presented at the conferences, as well as links to the published papers.
I was decided to upload just the abstracts of authors who were effectively present/registered at the conference (as there were some absences)
A brief discussion was also held on this parallel issue: how to secure that people show up at a conference (or to not have heir in the program and abstract books if they not show up).
The problem was identified by this year’s organizers, with particular accuracy, and a brief debate was held on how to overcome it, with articulation with the registration calendar or other forms. Several suggestions were made: the possibility of having a pre-payment to have abstract; to make the authors aware that the name would not be put in the program without payment (BH); to publish a second/final version of the abstract books, after the conference (JLN); to make the deadline for the author’s registration coincident with early bird dates (MS); or make sure to have cross checked all presentations before the conference as usual practice, as made by some organizational teams (MT). It was considered to have all these suggestions in consideration for next editions and pass the information to future local organizing teams.
– Collaboration with other networks and RESER awareness
Patrik presented the issue and it was briefly discussed by GA members.
Metka argued that he most important relation with exterior is the webpage, as it has been strategically assumed in recent times by the council; but this reality draws extra importance to the information being in webpage (in quantity and quality), and members should individually make an effort to send info and news.
The return to a more regular sending of the minutes to members could also improve awareness of deadlines and other things.
The financial account and the budget proposal were presented by the treasurer, Jose Luis Navarro. The documents were presented, having been distributed to members previously. The accounts can be consulted in the respective documents.
Jose Luis highlighted some facts about financial activity report:
– Incomes improved substantially last year (from around 10,700 to 14,700), both by individual presences in Helsinki; and the association of one more institutional member;
– Expenditures increase a little (to levels of two years ago) (to 7382 euros);
– This results on an aprox surplus of 7000 euros;
– Expenses were less aprox 8000 euros than expected/budgeted because it were not used the grants (phd and research);
– Account: 45825 – statement of financial position – net balance;
– At the end, this year we had more income than expected (aprox + 4000) and less expended (-8000), which resulted (as precedent year) in an operational surplus caused by these deviances;
The report was consensually approved.
Jose Luis presented also the budget proposal for next year (cf. accounts), for 1/9/15 to 31/8/16. Like in precedent year, it is expected a small deficit, but in last years, at the end of the year it ended up in surplus (without eventual publication, and raise of PhD mobility grant).
After brief discussion, the GA approved the budget for 2015-16.
As the RESER gained this year a new institutional member (Mondragon Innovation and Knowledge, from Basque Country, Spain), it was seized this opportunity to make a brief presentation of these team’s activity. Estibaliz Hernandez made a brief presentation of the activity developed in MIK, and explained their interests on services and services innovation particularly. A particular focus is put on this team in the issues of applied research and transference of knowledge.
Patrik explained briefly the functioning of the council and of electoral process, considering there were new members present at the GA.
The general assembly proceeded to the election of new council members. Following the electoral procedures, a set of candidates had previously expressed their candidatures.
– 1 Member whose mandate was ending, but who expressed their will to continue serving in the council: Laurentiu Tachiciu, which had expressed his interested in being reelected.
– 1 other member expressed also his candidature to be elected as Council Members for the next 3 years: Lars Fuglsang (which presented himself and his main research interests)
Both candidates were elected unanimously.
Tiziana Russo Spena will join also the council as the organizer for the 2016 conference.
MCM presented a suggestion of having also a PhD student as co-opted member in the Council meetings to speak about the students’ problems and interests, as occurred in the past (as the “voice” of the students”). The idea would be to ask Luna Leone (a student which was previously awarded, and already with regular link to RESER). Luna Leoni, which was present at the meeting, was challenged to accept. She presented her research interest, and accepted, and then the council seconded and approved MCM’s proposal.
Patrik raised the question of the need to initiate the thinking about this topic, expressing council’s awareness of promoting geographical and disciplinary diversity, on selecting location for RESER conferences.
Marja Toivonen expressed the possibility of Lituania, and offered to ask if they could be candidates; Markus reported contacts with Lithuania regular attendees; the possibility of Baltic states is interesting and will be explored.
Metka suggested the interest of collaboration of new institutional member, Mondragon IK, which could be explored in a potential organization of a future conference. Estibaliz said that this could be a possibility to explore, but after this period, in future occasions.
– Patrik remembered the need to start thinking potential nominees for lifetime award, process which will be developed in council meetings (but suggestions are welcomed).
– A brief discussion was held on how to attract new people to be permanent members in RESER, to keep their relation after finishing their PhD, and maintaining their interest in linking to our network, in scenery where disciplinary associations conferences multiply, resources are scarce and competition is high. Metka remembered again that the link to the website is very important and also the importance of distributing minutes for members. It is important to have an updating of the emailing list for that, with inputs from Copenhagen organization team (with the updating of new members).
– Next council meeting was pre-scheduled to October: Patrik will send out a doodle to stablish the date.
Minutes prepared by
Download the report in PDF here : Reser Activity Report 2014-5015
In Europe, in many countries and in most sectors, economic growth has disappeared or at least slowed down considerably. As in all major crises, there is a disruption in the functioning of the economy and of businesses. Issues of sovereign debt and the development of European monetary union should not make us forget the technological and entrepreneurial aspects of this rupture. In this context, research on services can bring new ideas to the debate on economic development. Such research relies on the observation of companies which try to create value through services, regardless of their business sector. The emerging business landscape is characterized by important and complementary mutations. While hybrid manufacturing-services offerings and the phenomenon of “servitization” are increasingly seen in many industries, an engineering-based approach to services can also be observed, with a strong practice of modeling and simulation, both at the level of services’ production and of the interactions with customers.
This conference should therefore be a forum for the analysis and discussion of innovative studies to demonstrate the role and impact of services in economic growth, while highlighting services’ specificities in the interactional aspects of customer relationships. Researchers from management, economics, sociology, geography, or any other discipline are invited to submit studies that explore and develop a multidisciplinary understanding of these issues. Researchers are invited to submit papers based on literature reviews, conceptual and empirical studies using qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. We propose to organize this forum around the following five themes, but papers on related or transversal topics are also welcome:
A major transformation is taking place in economic growth, and it primarily concerns productivity. Developed countries are struggling to effectively mobilize their workforce as shown by the rapidly increasing levels of unemployment in OECD countries. With fewer resources due to lower margins or markets, companies are no longer investing as much in new equipment and must rely on other means to increase their efficiency. Growth relies more than ever on increasing productivity. In services, the general slowdown in productivity gains is attributed to many causes, but it is assumed that productivity gains created by information and communication technologies are no longer as important as during the last two decades.
Important changes are also occurring at the level of management. Organization charts inherited from the 19th century are competing with more flexible organizations where employees have more room to maneuver while being highly accountable for results. In services to households, maintaining productivity gains relies on the ability of companies to mobilize their workforces, to raise skills of their partners and providers, to develop friendly customer relationships (with a real link between staff and customers) and to create short and effective customer journeys. In knowledge-intensive services, communication, interaction and negotiation skills become increasingly important as these services develop. These trends affect both commercial and non-commercial services. In most services, standardization of tasks requires a reorganization of activities that can be automated and centralized. Finally, strategies for innovation in services require a particular human resource management to select the right people that will be able to communicate internally and externally and to build a compensation system rewarding creativity.
Situations of employment in services are numerous and varied. We expect, among others, papers on:
Research on innovation in services has gradually moved away from the technological or industrial model of innovation and focused on the specificities of innovation in service activities. This stream of research has been the subject of several RESER research programs and presentations or workshops at past RESER conferences. Recently, it has been enriched with a new conceptual approach, termed the “Service-Dominant Logic”, which considers services less as a category of activities, and more as representative of a global perspective on value creation. This perspective is based on the concepts of exchange value and use value, in addition to its interest in the design of manufacturing and sales processes, and highlights the fact that the source of value creation lies within the ability to recognize and meet consumers’ needs. Such vision echoes the early work on the service economy that emerged in the 1980s and can also be linked to more recent research on sustainable development.
As for the measurement of innovation in services, even though it has developed parallel to the previously mentioned conceptual developments on this theme, it still requires more research and can be the object of conceptual and empirical papers. In this same framework of innovation measurement, the evaluation of local innovation policies has been the subject of several European programs. Data to measure innovation in services are normally available at national and regional levels, but the measurement of innovation at the local level is becoming crucial, because it is at this level that cluster strategies are implemented.
Hence, we expect communications on the following or related topics:
The current economic difficulties also have technological roots. Digital transformation affects key areas of activity and represents a real revolution. All businesses are impacted but not at the same speed or to the same degree. This digital transformation of the economy gives way to the emergence of new entrepreneurs and new organizations. It includes the traditional sector of ICT, software and computer services companies, telecommunications, as well as the Internet sector and other creative industries. It also appears in the somehow surprising development of robotics in services, simulation and interaction models that have been grouped under the terms “Service Science”. Service engineering integrates the structures, processes and skills to deliver innovative services to the largest number in the most reliable fashion. Relationships with suppliers are also changing and supply chains are increasingly becoming platforms from which all partners can benefit.
These new services are driven by entrepreneurs who face the traditional challenges of business creation, but must also develop interactive skills as many services are developing in networks and in more or less formal alliances. Such networks give access to additional resources and can improve profitability. A careful attention to consumers’ needs can also create opportunities for new lucrative and successful businesses even in traditional sectors. Diversification can also be an effective tool as it opens new horizons and, when it is successfully implemented, allows companies to boost sales. For instance, entrepreneurs in the ‘low cost’ sector show that there are considerable margins for more productivity in services. These entrepreneurs offer a totally redesigned and more effective organization, where the simplicity of the offer is a factor in reducing costs and guaranteeing lower prices for the consumer. The organization focuses on jobs directly related to the service, resulting in the reduction of hierarchies. At the same time, Internet use is widespread. The question arises whether this customer-based advantage will erode over time with the development of the necessary bureaucracy to manage success. One may ask whether there is a cycle of services, like the “wheel of retailing”: the advantages that have led to the birth of the company disappearing at the end of the cycle under the effects of gentrification and bureaucratization of operations.
For this theme, focusing on the company in its relations with its environment, we expectpapers concerning, among other things:
One of the main developments of the 1990’s was the acknowledgement of the importance of service activities in international trade. The General Agreement on Tradeand Services (GATS), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the “single market” in Europe and the deregulation of public and private services have brought to light the existence of an international trade in services and created rules for this trade. Whether the strategic dimension for the firm or the theoretical problems generated by services in the international trade analysis are concerned, a wide interest exists in the internationalisation of services that is now amplified by the new opportunities created by the development of information and communication technologies. These recent technologies greatly increase the potential of trade for service firms and favour the internationalization process of service firms. Thanks to these technologies, even the smallest service firm in some domains can reach far-distant markets, virtually prospect them and deliver services with low investments and no travelling costs. These technologies also enable easier control procedures with distant established partners or subsidiaries and swifter exchanges of information, which are necessary to implement such strategies.
However, all these movements have not completely liberalized the international trade in services in all its aspects. Moreover, the knowledge of international trade in services and of the internationalization process of firms is still impeded by the lack of statistical evidence and incomplete case studies of international service firms. The balance of payment statistics give only a partial perspective on this question.
Our objectives in this track are multiple and include among other things addressing the following topics:
The relationships between service activities, economic revival, and urban and regional restructuring constitute a multi-level question. For innovation, the local links between industrial services and manufacturing are essential to build clusters, to encourage creativity networks and to foster innovation. Many regions have tried to establish regional innovation policies with mixed results, because the local demand in services, particularly knowledge intensive services, is not balanced with local supply. The deficit in business services impedes not only innovation in but also the internationalization of manufacturing services, allowing them to compete effectively.
Research studies on urban development have brought much evidence about the relationships between urban growth and localization of service activities. Urbanization and the shift towards services are general, but not all cities have the same capacity to face the future. Business services, particularly knowledge intensive services, appear very clearly to be the drivers of growth of major cities, but at the same time an impediment to the development of secondary cities which are not able to attract these services.
Economic development is not only a matter of firms and jobs but also the result of creating a city where people want to live. The physicality of cities is still a very important dimension depending on the physical organization of cities and infrastructure: proximity, face-to-face interaction with business counterparts is still necessary and commuting needs increasingly efficient transport systems. Zoning, densities, traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emission are major issues for developers but also for urban people who will decide more and more their own localization on these criteria. Services are at the heart of these questions because they are an integral part of the management of the cities and a lever to attract people and firms.
The conference should be an opportunity to present contributions dealing with, for example:
In 2007 RESER Council conferred the commendation for lifelong achievement and contribution to service-related research to William J. Baumol (USA) and Jean Gadrey (France).