Cultural and behavioral change of customers, globalization of systems and competition, information and communication technology with the Internet and web service, and other changes – all require new marketing and management theories. New approaches to marketing and management have been brewing for the past three decades challenging the 1960s and 1970s theories; still we are left with a fragmented and confusing view of these proposals, and the discipline has reached a turning point calling for more systemic and integrative theory. The three themes of the 2009 Naples Forum – currently catching the imagination of scholars and practitioners worldwide – represent efforts in that direction.

Service-Dominant (S-D) Logic presents its message through ten foundational premises. In brief, these premises put the following to the fore. Service is the fundamental basis of exchange and all social and economic actors (firms, customers, etc) are resource integrators that interact through mutual service provision to co-create value. “Service” refers to the process of one actor’s resources for another actor’s benefit, and should not be confused with “services” – intangible goods; goods are merely distribution mechanisms of service provision. Both firms and customers are viewed as active participants in the value-creation process as opposed to the mainstream marketing idea that firms create and deliver value and customers just react and consume it. That is, the customer is always a co-creator of value. Thus, firms can only offer a value proposition; value actualization is performed by customers idiosyncratically, in the context of their own lives. The network aspect is implicit through the statement that all social and economic actors are resource integrators, implying that value creation takes place through interaction in complex networks. S-D logic is intended to capture evolutionary thinking about value creation and exchange and is subject to ongoing, open development. For more, go to the most recent updates: Vargo, S. L. and Lusch, R. F. (2008a), “Service-dominant logic: continuing the evolution”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 36 No 1, pp.1-10; and Vargo, S. L. and Lusch, R. F. (2008b), “Why ‘service’?” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 36 No 1, pp.25-38.

Service Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME), usually just referred to as service science, is a global development program run by IBM together with universities. It is a call for academia, industry, and governments to become more systematic about service performance and innovation. Further, it is a proposed academic discipline and research area that would complement – rather than replace – the many disciplines that contribute to knowledge about service. It’s philosophy is in line with S-D logic. The ultimate goal of service science is to apply scientific knowledge on the design and improvements of service systems for business and societal purposes (such as efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability). The concern is that we do not master seamless and reliable service systems at a time when systems are becoming increasingly complex and global, making us increasingly vulnerable to systems sluggishness and failure. Every service system is both a provider and client of service that is connected by value propositions in value chains, value networks, or value-creating systems. Read more on service science on Google but stick to entries from the past six months; the program is developing fast and older entries may be misleading. For a recent and condensed update, see Maglio, P.P. and Spohrer, J., (2008), “Fundamentals of service science”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 36 No.1, pp.18-20.

Network Theory is both a way of thinking in relationships and interaction and a methodology to address complexity and context. It can be used with different degrees of sophistication: as a basis for verbal treatise (discussion or text), graphics (from sketches of nodes and links to computer generated diagrams), or mathematical applications. Network theory is a systems approach which in marketing has mainly been applied to B2B marketing but has equal potential for B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing and consequently to marketing in general. Marketing is a part of or a perspective on management and to become efficient marketing should be seen in a management context; marketing-oriented management rather than marketing management. Two network approaches will be presented. One is the Viable System Approach (VSA), grounded in systems thinking, a relational based view (RBV) and network theory, postulating every business as a system, immerged in a relational context looking for competitive profiles (viability) through interaction with other actors/stakeholders. The other is Many-to-Many Marketing which is a general marketing approach that describes, analyzes and utilizes the network properties of marketing. It applies to marketing in general and recognizes that both suppliers and customers operate in complex network contexts. Other network approaches are welcomed. See further Golinelli et al.(2002), “The firm as a viable system: managing inter-organisational relationships”. Sinergie, No. 58, pp.65-98; and Gummesson, E. (2007a), “Exit Services Marketing – Enter Service Marketing”. Journal of Customer Behaviour, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp.113-141. 

Connecting the themes. The themes are interdependent and the Forum will treat them in an integrative spirit. S-D logic dissolves the divides between goods/services and supplier/customer into co-created service and value. It provides a foundational philosophy for the service science project and its applications in education, theory, and practice in its effort to create hassle-free, innovative service systems. Network theory is a systemic way of thinking and a methodology to go beyond fragmented research in management and marketing addressing complexity and context with direct application on service systems. 

Call for Papers

We invite papers addressing the three themes of the conference – S-D logic, service science and network theory. Submissions can deal with the themes separately or with parts of them and we especially encourage papers addressing an integrated perspective. The papers could be theoretical and/or empirical and be based on qualitative or quantitative research. Topics could include (but are not restricted to) the following:

  • Networks, interaction and relationships
  • Value co-creation and changed customer roles
  • Value propositions and a stakeholder perspective 
  • Integration of resources and capabilities
  • Business and social relations
  • Service innovation
  • Many-to-many marketing
  • The Viable System Approach
  • Other network approaches
  • New business models to manage networks and value
  • Experiences of service science projects in research and/or education
  • Brand communities
  • Markets as networks
  • Web 2.0 or the semantic web
  • Methodological issues


Forum Sessions

S-D logic

  • S-D logic: empirical evidences;
  • S-D logic: contributes
  • S-D logic and co-creation: healthcare;
  • S-D logic and network in banks;
  • Technology: S-D logic and ICT;
  • Value in use and Service
  • Value co-creation: the consumer's role;
  • Co-creation in public services.

Network Theory

  • Many-toMany Marketing;
  • Viable System Approach;
  • Network and value;
  • Service networks;
  • Value co-creation: network;
  • Tourism: network's role.

Service Science

  • Service Science;
  • Technology: S-D logic and web 2.0;
  • Service Innovation: learning and co-creation;
  • Service Innovation: customer's involvement.

Integration and general issues

  • Expanding and integrating S-D logic, Service Science and Network theory;
  • Service innovation: different perspectives;
  • Resource integration;
  • Value co-creation: critical perspectves;
  • Tourism and cultural events;
  • From product and service to solution;
  • Customer and relationships.

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