Advances in service networks research

Scott, Noel, and Laws, Eric (2010) Advances in service networks research. Service Industries Journal, 30 (10). pp. 1581-1592.

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Networks are an important area of study for the services industries. The guest editors of this volume contend that networks are indeed a fundamental feature of services - services intangibility makes service providers heavily dependent on the recommendations of others to direct customers to a particular business; makes acquisition of knowledge about customers and competitors more difficult and often leads to exchange of information through knowledge networks. Fluctuations in services demand are perhaps more difficult to deal with as the 'product' cannot be stockpiled, but one strategy to deal with this is to work within a referral network to cater to demand peaks. Services require people to be engaged in their production. This leads to an increased proportion of smaller firms in the service industries because scaling up volume is more difficult with people involved. These are just a few of the reasons why networks in the service industries are important. This introduction to the special issue on advances in service network research concludes that firstly, many of the concepts of central concern for service researchers, especially those interested in inter-organisational relationships, are related to concepts that have been developed from, and studied using, the network perspective. Secondly, there is a need to move to the use of more quantitative techniques for network analysis and lastly, recent developments in network research show much promise in the use of complex systems mathematical techniques to simulate and model networks and the effect of interventions. Thus it is possible to provide suggestions as to how a network may evolve over time and inform those involved within networks as to the relative advantages of alternative modes of action. Overall this collection of papers indicates that there are significant opportunities for further research in this emergent field of study.

Item ID: 15722
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1743-9507
Keywords: networks; history of network theory; governance; complex systems; services
Date Deposited: 14 May 2011 10:43
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1599 Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 159999 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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