Calls for papers


International Journal of Services Sciences
International Journal of Services Sciences


Special Issue on: "Making Sense of Service Ecosystem Dynamics"

Guest Editor:
Prof. Janne Huiskonen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland

Creating world-class processes and products may not provide sustainable business success anymore. There is a growing need to understand the systemic nature and dynamics of business and organisational environments. James Moore (1993) argued as long as two decades ago that business actors should no longer focus on their local environments, but should instead try to understand the cross-industrial ecosystems they are acting in. Due to constant change in business logics and the movement towards service-orientation, a similar need has arisen in the context of services. Viroli and Zambonelli (2009) propose that an inspiration for a potential explanation to tackle issues of modern service system may originate from natural systems: a need to find “the basic rules of the game”.

One of the analogues between natural and non-natural systems is provided through various ecosystem conceptualisations focusing on organisational and business contexts. For example, Lusch (2008, 15) defines a service ecosystem as a spontaneously sensing and responding spatial and temporal structure of largely loosely coupled value-proposing social and economic actors interacting through institutions and technology to 1) coproduce service offerings, 2) exchange service offerings and 3) cocreate value. Basole and Rouse (2008) state that the structure and dynamics of value networks as well as customer expectations influence the complexity of the services ecosystem, which indicates that the traditional tools and approaches relevant in static contexts may not be applicable when explaining dynamic service ecosystem functionalities.

Despite the growing interest in service ecosystems and related themes, research approaches tend to focus on exploring and describing service systems on an abstract level without the goal of explaining why the ecosystem perspective is valuable, how it should be used and – perhaps most importantly – what kind of new knowledge it offers to service organisations and their management in business or public-sector contexts.

Through this call we propose that there is both a scientific and empirical gap in how services are analysed and managed as systems. Adopting more or less novel abstract definitions and concepts is not beneficial if they cannot be used to explain service phenomena in a new way for business or public-sector actors.

The main goal of this special issue is to challenge researchers to move forward: from exploration towards potential explanations. We encourage both conceptual and empirical research with the following foci:

  • Conceptual focus: How do we explain the behaviour and influence mechanisms of a business ecosystem as a holistic entity? (Conceptual and theoretical developments)
  • Empirical focus: How do we study business ecosystems empirically? (Empirical studies and rigorous research methodologies used in them)

Subject Coverage
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Conceptual approaches and models explaining the behaviour of service ecosystems as a whole and/or explaining influence mechanisms related to the behaviour of the ecosystem.
  • Empirical studies explaining how service ecosystems can be studied empirically while maintaining both scientific and managerial relevancy throughout the study.
  • Studies may focus on themes such as:
    • service ecosystem evolution
    • emergent properties of service ecosystems
    • resource integration logics and mechanisms
    • value creation logics in service ecosystems
    • conditions to support sustainability of service ecosystems
    • other relevant themes that provide a clear connection to existing theoretical discussions.
  • Approaches such as systems theory, complexity theory, service-dominant networks, service engineering, design theory are expected; however, other rigorous approaches are also welcome.
All submissions should adopt a service ecosystem perspective and include a link to existing ecosystem studies and discussions related to ecosystems and the systemic nature of services.

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.

Important Dates

Manuscripts due by: 15 February, 2014