Viewing Services as Service Systems: Basic Premises of an Operational Model for Service Innovation, Engineering, and Management

Steven Alter, University of San Francisco

This is a working paper. Comments are welcomed.


This paper identifies basic premises of an operational view of service and service systems called the service as service systems (SaSS) model. It explains the relevance of each premise and illustrates ways in which the model agrees with or diverges from frequently taken for granted concepts and generalizations related to service, coproduction, value co-creation, value propositions, service interactions, service industries, and other important research topics. It also identifies foundational premises of service dominant logic that are most closely related to particular basic premises of the SaSS model, thereby illustrating why service dominant logic is more relevant to the nature of competition and economic exchange than to the nature of operational service systems.

This paper addresses an important void in a current service science landscape that includes many inconsistent and sometimes contradictory examples, concepts, and theories from economics, marketing, operations, and computer science. Responding to the Call for Papers, this model could support a “theoretically grounded basis for engineering and managing services and for service innovation.”