The 2009 Naples Forum on Service – service-dominant logic, service science and network theory: integrating three perspectives for a new service agenda

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International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 23 March 2010



Gummesson, E., Mele, C. and Polese, F. (2010), "The 2009 Naples Forum on Service – service-dominant logic, service science and network theory: integrating three perspectives for a new service agenda", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 2 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The 2009 Naples Forum on Service – service-dominant logic, service science and network theory: integrating three perspectives for a new service agenda

Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 1

About the Guest EditorsEvert Gummesson is a Emeritus Professor of Marketing and Management at the Stockholm University School of Business, Sweden; Honorary Doctor of the Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, and a fellow of Tampere University, Finland. His interests especially embrace service, relationship marketing and customer relationship management, and a network approach to marketing, reflected in his latest book marketing as networks: the birth of many-to-many marketing. His book Total Relationship Marketing was published in its 3rd and revised edition in 2008. In 2000, he received the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) Award for Leadership in Services, and his paper (with Christopher Lovelock) “Whither services marketing?”, in the Journal of Service Research, won the AMA Award for best article on services in 2004. He is one of the 50 most important contributors to the development of marketing included in the guru list of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. Gummesson also takes a special interest in research methodology and the theory of science. He has spent 25 years as a business practitioner and is a frequent speaker at conferences, business meetings and universities around the world.

Cristina Mele is a Researcher and an Assistant Professor of International Management and Quality Management at the Department of Business Economics, University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy, where she is also a member of the board of PhD studies in Business Science. Since 2009, she also serves on the Evaluation Committee for the Second University of Naples. In 2008, she was a research fellow at the University of Westminster Service Research Centre, London. Cristina obtained her PhD in Management and Economics in 2000. Her main areas of interest are marketing, quality and innovation and her most recent studies are about service innovation and value co-creation in a network perspective. She has been a reviewer for Italian as well as international journals and has published over seventy articles in Italian and international journals, including the International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Managing Service Quality and the Journal of Customer Behaviour. Her papers presented at the Academy of Marketing Service Conferences, London, won a Best Paper Award in 2007, and in 2008 won the Award for Best Service Science Paper from the Journal of Services Marketing (co-authored with Luisa Andreu and Isabel Sanchez).

Francesco Polese is an Associate Professor at Cassino University, Italy, where he teaches Business Management. His research interests cover the management of networks and relationships, tourism, and R&D management. He actively participates in the international debate and conferences on sustainable tourism, viable networks and the impact of social relations on business performance. His recent publications include “business-to-business is not an island” (with Evert Gummesson), Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 24, No. 5 (2009); “Networking approaches for sustainable destination management: an Italian case study” (with A. Minguzzi), in Kozac, M., Andreu, L., Knoth, J., (Eds) (2009) Advances in Tourism Marketing: Managing Networks (Routledge); and “Key dimensions of service systems: interaction in social and technological networks to foster value co-creation” (with Cristina Mele), in Demirkan, H., Spohrer, J., Krishna, V., (Eds) (2010), The Science of Service Systems (Springer). He is a President of CUDH (University Centre of Disabilities and Handicaps) and Director of MADILab (University Lab for Innovation Management and Diffusion). Through his consultancy he has long experience in the design and management of complex research programmes involving both the public and private sectors.

Experiences! We increasingly hear that people look for experiences and kicks to make their dreams come true. This is so both in our professional and private lives. Experiences can be organized and offered through events, and event marketing is a growth area. The 2009 Naples Forum on Service was not just another conference; it was an event, an experience, even the total experience. Our goal was to make it special.

First of all we wanted it to be a strong professional experience. Dramatic changes are necessary in business, government and politics. The global economic crisis that broke out in 2008 and spread like a pandemic has no remedy and there is no vaccine against the next one. We are still very much stuck in concepts from the industrial era and its way of categorising our economy. If we use the wrong concepts and the wrong categories we are bound to address the wrong problems and come up with the wrong solutions – or no solutions at all. Cultural and behavioural change of customers, globalisation of systems and competition, information and communication technology with the internet and web service, and many other changes require new theory.

The Forum had three themes: service-dominant (S-D) logic, service science and networks. S-D logic dissolves the divide between goods/services and suppliers/customers into value propositions and co-created service and value. It forms a philosophy for the huge IBM service science programme and its applications in research, education and practice in an effort to create hassle-free, innovative service systems. Network theory is a systemic way of thinking and a methodology to go beyond fragmented research and address complexity and context with direct application on service systems. Two specific applications were specifically discussed: many-to-many marketing and the viable system approach.

The Forum was a co-created, networked event where everyone could shape his or her own role. The participants did well. We were apprehensive even the night before: do people just come here because Capri is one of the world’s most renowned tourist destinations? Will there be any people in the sessions?

We soon found we did not have to worry. Set in the eighteenth century Villa Orlandi, today used by the University of Naples Frederico II, and located in the ancient part of Anacapri at the very top of the Capri, we became part of a historical environment with atmosphere and ambiance. Having aimed at 60 participants but getting 160 was both a shock and an encouraging challenge. The villa was not designed for 160 people, so what do we do? Well, everything is possible. A gigantic tent was raised in the garden and it could house everyone for plenary sessions, even if some had to grab a chair and sit outside. One side of the tent was kept open for those who preferred to sit in the sun but the sessions could also be watched in a cool room inside the Villa through a videolink.

Villa Orlandi offered an exceptional arena for interaction and the building of networks – which is exactly what an academic conference with delegates from 25 countries should be about. People stayed in local hotels, all within walking distance to the venue.

The first shock, however, was that we received over 200 abstracts for presentations. And we were surprised at the quality of the abstracts and later of the full papers. In this special issue of the new International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences (IJQSS) we are proud to present eight papers from the Naples Forum, all treating different angels of Forum themes. Just like the Forum, IJQSS is dedicated to new developments in service and we are happy to make a contribution to the journal at this early stage of its life. The papers went through a second review process and were revised and improved by the authors. More papers will be published in two leading Italian journals, Sinergie and Mercati e Competitività and a special issue of the Journal of Service Science. Many of the presenters have submitted their papers to journals of their own choice.

The themes addressed at the Forum and in this special issue are catching the imagination of scholars and practitioners worldwide. The concept of service is undergoing fundamental change with far-reaching effects on economic thought. Still this is a starting point. Service deserves continual attention on our research agenda.

A good sign is that people soon started to ask about the next Forum: when will it be? In fact, we are now planning the 2011 Naples Forum on Service and hope this is the beginning of a series of bi-annual events. For more on the Naples Forum, published material and upcoming events go to its web site:

Evert Gummesson, Cristina Mele, Francesco PoleseGuest Editors

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