Management Seminars: Steve Pearce

12 April 2016, 4.00 PM - 12 April 2016, 5.30 PM

Steve Pearce, Senior Teaching Associate, Bristol University

G.15, 15-19 Tyndall's Park Road

Title:  Service Design for Service Systems: Design Characteristics for Efficiency and Effectiveness


Services are a dominant component of the global economy. Mediating technology and customer activities can determine performance of service businesses. Digital interaction, co-production and self-service now pervade throughout services in the public, voluntary and commercial sectors of the economy.   

This cross discipline research explores the service process (Sampson and Froehle 2006), the service concept (Goldstein, Johnston et al. 2002) and service encounter (Solomon, Surprenant et al. 1985) as key components of service design. These theoretical concepts involve the interactions of customers, service workers and mediating technology to co-produce service. Extant theories on service design characteristics exist in Marketing, Service Operations, Information Technology and Management literature. Service design characteristics determine how customers provide inputs into service processes. These inputs can structure the nature of service interactions.   The interactions result in process outcomes of efficiency and effectiveness for the customer and provider. This study explores the impact of these design characteristics on service process performance from the providers’ perspective.  

The choice of service design characteristics has strategic business implications often with different value propositions and value potential. The service process and design characteristics are explored using the Unified Services Theory (UST) (Sampson and Froehle 2006).  Service interactions can be Direct (‘face to face’), Surrogate (interaction with mediating technology) and Independent.   This research analyses the movement from direct to surrogate interaction using Process Chain Network (PCN) diagrams (Sampson 2012). The strategic positioning of service offerings are explored by analysing service processes and design characteristics using a single embedded case study design.  

The case study results provide empirical evidence to support the UST and illustrate the benefits of analysing service processes using PCN analysis. The theoretical impacts on efficiency and effectiveness are supported in the study, building and contributing to service operations management theory.  Emerging from the study are insights into the customer’s role in the service process and the customer learning required in achieving the desired performance impact for the provider.






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