Conference Naples Forum on Service – June 6-9, 2017

HOSTED BY The University of Naples “Federico II” and the University of Salerno


Evert GUMMESSON, Stockholm University, Sweden
Cristina MELE, University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy
Francesco POLESE, University of Salerno, Italy


Robert LUSCH, University of Arizona, USA
Stephen VARGO, University of Hawaii, USA.
Jim SPOHRER, IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, USA.


The Scientic Committee members will act as advisors to the Chairs and support the scientic level
of the Forum. Important tasks for the members are the participation in the review process of
submitted abstracts. The Scientic Committee members will serve as discussants during sessions.
President: Sergio Barile, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy
Claudio Baccarani, University of Verona, Italy
David Ballantyne, University of Otago, New Zealand
Ralph Badinelli, University of Virginia Tech, USA
Rod Brodie, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Maria Colurcio, Università Magna Graecia di Catanzaro, Italy
Bo Edvardsson, Karlstad University, Sweden
Gaetano Golinelli, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy
Anu Helkkula, Hanken University, Finland
Michael Kleinaltenkamp, University of Berlin, Germany
Helge Lobler, University of Leipzig, Germany
Robert Lusch, University of Arizona, USA
Paul Maglio, University of California, USA
Suvi Nenonen, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Irene Ng, University of Warwick, UK
Jaqueline Pels, University of Torquato de Tella, Argentina
Enzo Rullani, Venice International University, Italy
Tiziana Russo Spena, University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy
Roberta Sebastiani, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Italy
Paolo Stampacchia, University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy
Jim Spohrer, IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, USA
Kaj Storbacka, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Marja Toivonen, VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland
Marta Ugolini, University of Verona, Italy
Stephen Vargo, University of Hawaii, USA

The Naples Forum on Service has reached its fth edition and, after the success of its past
experiences (see is about to start its organization with inspiring
scientic premises and great expectations for it to be the best edition ever organized. For the 2017
Forum, we continue moving our locations clockwise around the gulf of Naples and arrive in Sorrento
(after Capri, Ischia and Naples), in an elegant and fascinating venue.
The Naples Forum is an eort to stimulate Paradigm 3 research, communicate it and speed up its
progress (for a brief article on the paradigms, see Gummesson, 2012).
• Paradigm 1
(pre-1970s) where service was not on the agenda in marketing and management
research and education.
• Paradigm 2
(1970s-2000s) when service research grew exponentially with seminal contributions
from Northern Europe, France, UK, USA and other countries with goods/services dierences in the
center but lacking syntheses and unifying theory.
•Paradigm 3
(2000s-) when service research moved its focus from differences to commonalities and
interdependencies between goods and services. It also moved from the supplier value chain to the
value network of all stakeholders (“balanced centricity”) and service (in the singular) became the
output irrespective of input. The roles of suppliers and customers have also changed through the
recognition of co-creation of value with resource integration with customer-to-customer interaction
(C2C) or more broadly as actor-to-actor interaction (A2A). In the core of Paradigm 3 is the recognition of complexity . Service systems are enormously complex – it is not sucient to study the relationship
between just a few variables. The new millennium brought with it openings to address complexity
and take a more systemic view.
Service-Dominant (S-D) Logic contributed a initial higher-level service
theory of the best contributions of the past and showed directions for the future.
Service Science started from practitioner experiences and challenges our way of designing and implementing service systems.
Network Theory and Systems Theory have been deployed to address complexity,
with applications like Many-to-Many-Marketing and the Viable Systems Approach (VSA). These
developments form the 3 Pillars of the Naples Forum. With them it is motivated to label our current economy a Service Economy. The transition to Paradigm 3 is developing – but it takes time and eort. Service research got under way 40 years ago and it is only now that we are beginning to sense the full picture of our economies as complex networks of service systems with a mission to enhance value for consumers, citizens, businesses and society as a whole.
The following sections offer brief reviews of the characteristics of the 3 Pillars.
Service Dominant (S-D) Logic
S-D logic summarizes its message in four axioms and ten foundational premises. In brief, these
premises put the following to the fore. The most critical changes include moving from
goods/services dierences to goods/service interdependencies. The word ‘service’ is given a new
meaning, going from an undened input to the value of the output and value-in-use or in a more
generalized way to value-in-context. Service is the fundamental basis of exchange (axiom 1) and
goods are merely distribution mechanisms of service. Both businesses and customers are operant
(active) resources as opposed to the mainstream marketing and economics idea that suppliers do
things to customers who are just reactive or passive (operand resources). A service provider can only
oer a value proposition to the market; the beneciaries is always a co-creator of value (axiom 2),
whereas value actualization rests with users in an idiosyncratic and contextual way (axiom 4). The
network aspect is implicit through the statement that all social and economic actors are cocreators
and resource integrators (axiom 3), implying that value creation takes place through interaction in
complex networks and systems. Bob Lusch and Steve Vargo who designed S-D logic keep developing it and treat it as an open code where everyone is welcome to make constructive contributions
Service Science.  Service Science is a call for academia, industry, and governments to become more systemic about service performance and innovation. The ultimate goal of Service Science is to apply scientific knowledge to the design and improvements of service systems for business and societal purposes. 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-creating networks. Service Science is a multidisciplinary, open-source program based on computer science, industrial engineering, organizational theory, business strategy and more, including the humanities. In terms of science, it investigates what service systems are and how they evolve, and the roles of people, knowledge, shared information and technology, as well as the relevance of customers inside production processes; in terms of management it investigates how to improve and evaluate quality and productivity; and in terms of engineering it develops new designs of service systems with better technologies and software. Service Science studies complex service systems; such a simple and straight forward position calls for intriguing issues due to the ample set of disciplines, research methods, cultural domains and areas of interest in order to capture the powerful insights and the essence of service in technological setting and in today life.
Network and Systems Theory
The words complexity , networks and systems pinpoint the same phenomena. Complexity is derived
from the Latin verb complecti, meaning “to twine together” and the noun complexus means “network”. The word “system” is derived from the Greek systema , meaning “a whole composed of
many parts”. So the meanings of the three words overlap and expose their interdependency. From these words dierent traditions have sprung up. Network theory and systems theory or both a way
of thinking in relationships and interaction and techniques to address complexity and context.
These are part of complexity theory where many others, for example, chaos theory, fractal geometry and autopoiesis (self-organizing systems) belong. Complexity theory exists both in social sciences, natural sciences and technology but is not utilized eciently by management disciplines. Network theory has primarily oered a systemic approach for B2B but has equal potential for B2C/C2B (business-to-consumer/consumer-to-business).
Many-to-Many Marketing is a general approach that describes, analyzes and utilizes the network properties of marketing and recognizes hat both suppliers and customers operate in complex network contexts.
The Viable Systems Approach (VSA) is a systems theory-based application for management. It postulates that every business is a system, nested in a relational context where it is looking for competitive proles (viability) through interaction with other actors/stakeholders. Its theory proposes a new representation of the behavioral approach to business and relational interactions with its context. In practice it is a methodological proposal that enables a better understanding of business models, supporting decision making in complex context.
Networks and systems thinking are integral parts of both S-D logic and Service Science.

Developing Paradigm 3 through Naples Forum Publications
Within the 3 Pillars lots of activities including extensive publishing takes place. Lusch and Vargo have
been involved in over 50 articles and 20 book chapters, edited several Special Issues of journals, and
spoken continually at conferences, universities and business rms around the world. A new book
written by Bob and Steve, (Service-Dominant Logic was published by Cambridge University Press in
2014) is a condensed (220 pp.) overview of where S-D Logic stands today. Jim Spohrer and his
colleagues, together with Forum participants publish continuously on Service Science, including
three recent books. Network and systems theory is increasingly integrated with the two other pillars
and is the lead theme for several authors, not least from Italian researchers, the Nordic School and
the IMP Group.
The Naples Forum stimulates Paradigm 3 research, communicates it and speeds up its progress. The
Forum supports the eorts of the participants to publish by co-authoring with other participants
and adopt presented papers to articles in journals of their own choice and in special Forum issues.
As a result of past editions of the forum more than 100 articles were published in 13 journal special
issues of, among the others,
Journal of Service Management, Managing Service Quality, Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Service Science, Journal of Business Market Management, Mercati e Competitività.
In this context we stimulate senior and young researchers to submit their proposal based upon the
above mentioned Paradigm 3 spirit.
A paper can either focus on one of the Forum Pillars or integrate
two or all three of them.
The Forum starts on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, with registration and a reception at 18:00. On Wednesday,
June 7, the Forum opens at 8.30 and ends on Friday, June 9, at 16:00. For details and continuous
updates, see
Grand Hotel Cocumella, Via Cocumella 7, Sorrento, Italy (

We invite papers dealing with themes within one or several of the 3 Forum Pillars: S-D logic, service
science, and network/systems theory. We especially encourage submissions with an integrative
perspective. The papers could be theoretical and/or empirical and be based on qualitative and/or
quantitative research. In order to submit an abstract directions are given within the web page. Note that Abstracts must be structured and follow the
format of Emerald journal abstracts. Topics could include (but are not restricted to) the following:
– Business models to manage networks and service systems
– Complexity theory and service research
– Experience, value-in-use and value-in-context
– Internet of Things, Internet of Everything and the hub of all things
– Integration and management of resources and capabilities
– Markets and marketing- Methodological challenges and issues in service research
– Multi-disciplinary approaches in service research
– Networks, interaction and relationships
– Practice-theory in service research
– Service design
– Service processes and engineering
– Service science projects in research and/or education
– Service systems and system thinking
– Social Innovation
– The development of Service-Dominant Logic
– The development of service science
– The role of institutional logics in service research

– The Viable Systems Approach (VSA)
– Value co-creation and the changing role of suppliers and customers
– Value propositions
– Web 2.0 or Web 3.0, the semantic web
IMPORTANT: These and possible other subthemes must have a clear connection to one or several of
the 3 Forum Pillars. Three journal, and specically Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Journal of Service Management and Journal of Marketing Management , will publish best selected papers from the Forum.
A purpose of the Naples Forum is to get dierent generations of researchers together both at the
organized sessions and informally during breaks and social events. In the nal selection of papers,
both senior researchers and newcomers will be given a chance to present. There will be plenary
sessions as well as parallel sessions. In order to increase the number of active participants special
poster sessions will be organized during the Forum.

To stimulate academic scholarship, discussions of ideas and dialogue about service among students
and researchers from dierent countries, we would like to invite doctoral students to attend this
workshop. PhD students in early and middle stages of their PhD research project are particularly
encouraged to present their research proposals, preliminary results and their reections on issues
related to theory, methods and analysis. In case the PhD dissertation is not a monograph and is
made of a series of articles on a common theme, the candidate can present a part of the work and a
two-page summary of the overall dissertation theme. Note: The idea of the workshop is to help PhD
students develop their dissertations and you should therefore prepare questions to the professors
present. The doctorial workshop will be held on Tuesday, June 7 2017 (morning and afternoon).

Abstract submission:
December 20, 2016
Notication of acceptance:
January 20, 2017
Final paper submission (optional): April 30, 2017

Information (hotel, travel, etc) will be available soon on the website. The fees include participation in:
• All Forum sessions
• Forum material
• Lunches, refreshment during breaks, dinner and social events
(the fee does NOT include Gala Dinner).

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