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Institutions as resource context

Kaisa Koskela-Huotari (CTF, Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden AND VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Oulu, Finland)
Stephen L Vargo (Department of Marketing, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 14 March 2016




The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of institutions and institutional complexity in the process through which resources-in-context get their “resourceness.”


To shed light on the process of potential resources gaining their “resourceness,” the authors draw from two streams of literature: the service ecosystems perspective and institutional theory.


The authors combine the process of resources “becoming” with the concept of institutions and conceptualize institutional arrangements, and the unique sets of practices, symbols and organizing principles they carry, as the sense-making frames of the “resourceness” of potential resources. In service ecosystems, numerous partially conflicting institutional arrangements co-exit and provide actors with alternative frames of sense-making and action, enabling the emergence of new instances of “resourceness”.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests that “resourceness” is inseparable from the complex institutional context in which it arises. This conceptualization reveals the need for more holistic, systemic and multidisciplinary perspectives on understanding the implications of the process of resources “becoming” on value co creation, innovation and market formation.

Practical implications

As the “resourceness” of potential resources arises due to the influence of institutions, managers need a more profound understanding of the complimentary and inhibiting institutional arrangements and the related practices, symbols and organizing principles that comprise the multidimensional context in which they operate.


This paper is one of the first to focus specifically on the process of resources “becoming,” using a systemic and institutional perspective to grasp the complexity of the phenomenon.



This research has been partially carried out in Digile Need for Speed program and funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.


Koskela-Huotari, K. and Vargo, S.L. (2016), "Institutions as resource context", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 163-178.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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