Barile S., Polese F., Saviano M., Di Nauta P., Drawing boundaries in complex service systems. A Viable Systems Perspective
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Barile S., Polese F., Saviano M., Di Nauta P., Drawing boundaries in complex service systems. A Viable Systems Perspective

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Presentation at Forum on Markets and Marketing (FMM) 2011, Cambridge

Presentation at Forum on Markets and Marketing (FMM) 2011, Cambridge

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  • Systems theories have been useful in numerous research domains. In business, marketing, and specifically service research they maybe useful in particular due to their potential in addressing complexity. Complexity calls for: Distinguish betyween structural complexity and systemic complexity (one related to static structural analysis (the picture), one related to dynamic analysis (the movie). Complexity is not objective (it is linked to the observer capacity/ability to interpret the observed phenomenon (his/her interpretative scheme affect the understanding). The same observer, in time, may perceive different level of complexity (continuous allignment of complexity) There are conceptual differences between: complexity - caos - complicatedness
  • reductionism & holism structure / systems paradigm dynamics boarders actors as systems: firms, individuals, customers, partners, etc.) multi actors
  • Complex Service Systems, as smarter systems improve quality of life, creating more opportunities for win-win interactions: resulting in measurable resource access & value-cocreation for multiple stakeholders.
  • But Complex Service Systems are not so far away from us! A global player designing and assembling an airplane engine coordinating an international network of actors. A client trying to book his honeymoon through an ICT tourims platform. A municipality designing its social policies: London Borough of Sutton.
  • But Complex Service Systems are not so far away from us! A global player designing and assembling an airplane engine coordinating an international network of actors. A client trying to book his honeymoon through an ICT tourims platform. A municipality designing its social policies: London Borough of Sutton.
  • But Complex Service Systems are not so far away from us! A global player designing and assembling an airplane engine coordinating an international network of actors. A client trying to book his honeymoon through an ICT tourims platform. A municipality designing its social policies: London Borough of Sutton.

Transcript

  • 1. DRAWING BOUNDARIES IN COMPLEX SERVICE SYSTEMS. A VIABLE SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE. Primiano Di Nauta University of Foggia Sergio Barile “ La Sapienza” University of Rome Francesco Polese University of Cassino Marialuisa Saviano University of Salerno 2011, Sept. 22-23 Understanding Complex Service Systems Through Different Lenses -
  • 2. Agenda
    • Service & Complexity
    • Systems & Complexity
    • Systems & Service
    • Service exchange & Service Systems
    • Complex Service Systems
    • Complex Systems’ Boundaries
    • The Case Scenario from a Viable Systems Approach
    Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 3. Service & Complexity
    • Service is related to value co-creation among actors.
    • Adopting a Service view improves positive interaction between entities in reticular systems .
    • Service co-creation involves many actors within a dynamic process.
    • Service exchanges need evolving expertises and competences.
    Drawing Boundaries Service is considered an ever complex issue to deal with. S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 4. Systems & Complexity
    • Systems theories (ST) are strictly linked to complexity theories (CT).
    • Through ST we can investigate organization behavior.
    • ST allow the analysis of links, nets, balances, processes. dynamics
    • With ST various standpoints can be chosen to underpin resources, goals, needs/expectations.
    • ST support the interpretation of complex phenomena both from a holistic perspective and from a reductionist view.
    Drawing Boundaries
  • 5.
    • Systems theories as methodological lens
    • for the analysis of Service Exchanges
    • Systems studies and theories increase knowledge about multiple perspectives, linking components, connective functions and practical applications of complex phenomena (as service exchange).
    • reductionism & holism
    • structure / systems paradigm
    • dynamics
    • borders
    • actors as systems (firms, individuals, customers, partners, etc.)
    • multi actors
    • Systems are in nature, in society, in business, within socio-economic contexts. They are not only peculiar of individuals and their human mind. They may be identified also within organizations, districts, etc.
    Systems & Service Drawing Boundaries
  • 6. Systems & Service
    • From a Systems Theories perspective:
    • “ a system as a complex of interacting elements ” (Von Bertalaffy, 1956);
    • “ a system as an entity that is adaptable for the purpose of surviving in its changing environment” (Beer, 1975);
    • “ system elements are rationally connected” (Luhmann, 1990);
    • concepts of many part compositions (Parsons, 1965), boundaries, connections and different relationship levels show certain signs of system relevance and allow an interpretation of its own capabilities as being critical and influential and its relations with correspondent supra-systems and sub-systems.
    • “ sub-systems focus on the analysis of relationships among its own internal components while supra-systems focus on the connections between the analysis unit and other influencing systemic entities in their context” (Golinelli, 2000, 2010);
    • “ a structure can be studied (what is it? how is it made?), a system should only be interpreted (how does it works? what logics does it follow?)” (Barile, 2000, 2009, 2011);
    • “ a system can be defined as an entity which is a coherent whole” (Ng, Maull, Yip, 2009).
    Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 7. Service Systems definitions value-co-creation configurations, resources integrators , knowledge-based, capable of enabling connections and interaction, with the aim of reaching desired outcomes, simply, always, an operative application, any number of elements, interconnections, attributes, and stakeholders interacting in a co-productive relationship. … a Service System is basically composed of heterogeneous entities, interacting with each other with a specific shared goal. Service Exchanges & Service Systems Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 8. Service Science & Service Systems Smart traffic systems Smart water management Smart energy grids Smart healthcare Smart food systems Intelligent oil field technologies Smart regions Smart weather Smart countries Smart supply chains Smart cities Smart retail Source: www.ibm.com/think Complex Service Systems, as smarter systems, improve quality of life, creating more opportunities for win-win interactions: measurable resource access & value-cocreation for multiple stakeholders. Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 9. a) A global player designing and assembling an airplane engine coordinating an international network of actors. Complex Service Systems are everywhere Drawing Boundaries But Complex Service Systems are not so far away from us S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 10. b) A client trying to book his honeymoon through an ICT tourims platform. Complex Service Systems are everywhere Drawing Boundaries But Complex Service Systems are not so far away from us S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 11. But Complex Service Systems are not so far away from us! c) A municipality designing its social policies: London Borough of Sutton. Complex Service Systems are everywhere Drawing Boundaries London Bureau of Sutton as a Complex Service System with these traits: - Many actors, each one with its perspective/goal owning various kind of resources (affecting service exchange) - High dynamism mapping numerous relationships/interactions - No definite borders The case Scenario as a Complex SS S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta Source: http://www.rjdance.co.uk
  • 12.
    • Complexity does not characterize the system in itself, but emerges subjectively, charactering the interpretation of the context made by the decision maker.
    • A phenomenon can generate chaos, complexity or simply complication. It depends on the interpretative capacity of the decision maker, not on the characteristics of the phenomenon (huge variety, variability, etc.).
    • Complexity manifests itself when the interaction emerging from relations in a specific process does not respond to clear cut criteria of behavioral rules.
    • Complexity forces decision makers to abandon the structural perspective and need to evaluate “objects”, both tangible or intangible, not enumerable on the basis of a known calculation criteria (Barile, 2009).
    Drawing Boundaries Complexity: a vSa perspective S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 13.
    • Key points:
    • organizations (as well as individuals) as viable systems aiming at surviving in their context
    • key role of the governing subject in interpreting the context , defining goals and involving all the relevant actors into the system’s plan
    • governance decisions as outcomes of the action of two complementary and coessential drivers/forces, competitiveness (opposing resistance) and consonance ( generating harmony ).
    S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta The vSa governance methodology Drawing Boundaries
  • 14.
    • The systems perspective emphasizes the following elements:
    • a) while the concept of boundary exists and is justified in structural terms, in a systems perspective, it has little sense; contact (both physical and not) with a system implies participation to the system itself; a system is absorbent; when it exists, it is conceived as total;
    • b) a system is made up of components which are often different , referred to a common project/goal;
    • links , in the sense of physical bond between the mass of components present in an environment, switch into interactions as dynamics take place and actors evolve in time.
    • interaction between the components leads to the emersion of a potential system from the structure ( several systems can emerge from the same structure )
    Core interpretative issue: vSa & LBS: the problem of drawing boundaries Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 15.
    • Once interaction takes place, the system may e xceed structural borders .
    • Thus, the system which emerges from the context has no boundaries and interaction may generate unexpected outcomes.
    • When the observer focuses attention on a system, all the perceived elements in the surrounding reality are involved into the system and may affect its dynamics.
    Source: Barile and Saviano, 2011 www.asvsa.com Core interpretative issue: vSa & LBS: the problem of drawing boundaries Drawing Boundaries
  • 16. What is the service? What should the unit of analysis be for such a complex service system? Why? I.e.: which service system are we talking about? 1. The system whose goal is “ reducing crime” ? 2. A new system whose goal is “ reducing the fear of crime” ? 3. The same system that aims at achieving both goals ? Clearly, it is the “same” service system that has to deal with a paradoxical unexpected outcome of the open interaction: the increased fear of crime , that may affect service outcomes, making system’s “customers” unsatisfied, even if statistical evidences show good results (lower crime rate). Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions
  • 17.
    • Where are the boundaries drawn? Why are boundaries important? Who should be drawing them?
    • Boundaries are relevant to define/identify/manage system’s structure .
    • But, boundaries vanish at the system’s dynamic interaction level and unplanned/unexpected i nteraction will emerge (with not only negative effects!!).
    • A socio-territorial system, like that of the case scenario, has significant boundaries just for administrative, geographical, etc. structural issues.
    • Although governing body strive to draw boundaries by putting up barriers to undesired flows incoming from external entities/phenomena, interaction will emerge involving all elements even simply perceived by the community , both physical and not (e.g. the perceived significance of “graffiti signs” on the walls) and the outcome will be affected by them.
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 18.
    • Who is “managing” this complex system? In light of the problem (fear of crime), who should be managing it?
    • How the LBS Service System can “manage” this kind of processes, i.e. emerging unexpected interaction?
    • Management deals with “ problem solving ” issues ( complication) .
    • Governance deals with “ decision making ” issues ( complexity ).
    • “ Fear of crime” phenomenon is not logically correlated to the “reduction of crime” evidence. It may be an expression of a psychological state of anxiety, mainly due to uncertainty.
    • Consequently, i t cannot be addressed by adopting a problem solving approach (e.g. communication).
    • It requires a governance approach able to act upon people perception ( feelings).
    • This leads us to shift focus on the psychological dimension of service exchange affecting perceptions .
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 19.
    • To the community of LBS, safety is becoming a dominant interpretation scheme (in turn related to the more general “survival” interpretation scheme) making the level of crime as a top priority and influencing perception and interpretation of every incoming information directly or even not directly related to it.
    • The relevance rationally attributed to the piece of information “ lower crime rate ”, based on objective quantitative data, is not sufficient to balance the effect of the “ growing uncertainty ” deriving from an open interaction with the rest of the world.
    • From this perspective, the LBS governing body high commitment in approaching the fight against crime (service offering) may end up for making the relevance of safety higher, consequently increasing the fear of losing it .
    S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta vSa insights
  • 20.
    • The LBS governing body, in order to reduce the fear of crime among residents, should shift approach :
    • from a problem solving logic (Barile, 2009) , fighting against crime by opposing a resistance ( competition logic ) so risking to make the reaction of fear even stronger (Watzlavick, Weakland and Fish, 1974) to a complex decision making logic.
    • This means it should shift focus :
    • from a rational to an emotional knowledge strategy (Vannini, Di Corpo, 2009) reducing the variety distance between the residents and the phenomenon ( information variety consonance model , Barile, 2009) by making LBS residents more (emotionally, not rationally) aware of the true reality of the crime that generates their fear, with the desirable effects of generating consciousness , so reducing:
            • uncertainty
            • anxiety
            • fear
    S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta vSa insights
  • 21.
    • Any physical boundary, any easy identifiable border vanish when considering the emergent interaction with actors (and their psychological traits) and elements that may affecting the system’s outcome /service exchange.
    • Still, systems emerge from structures.
    • Is there a structure without boundaries?
    S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta FEAR OF CRI ME
  • 22. THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION Primiano Di Nauta [email_address] Sergio Barile [email_address] Francesco Polese [email_address] Marialuisa Saviano msaviano@unisa.it 2011, Sept. 22
  • 23. Concluding remarks
    • To summarize, from a VSA perspective, the key elements of analysis of the case and the relative interpretation schemes we propose, address attention on the following aspects:
    • the vanishing systems boundaries ( structure-system distinction );
    • the role of unknown in generating uncertainty ( complexity model ) ;
    • the subjective psychological nature of the investigated phenomenon (fear of crime) ( information variety model );
    • the subjective relevance effect of the fear of crime due to a context determined state of anxiety ( contextualization approach );
    • the complex “decision making” nature of the investigated phenomenon ( VSA governance model ).
    S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta Drawing Boundaries
  • 24. Drawing Boundaries System The case Scenario from a vSa perspective Actor Resource Various Possible goals Critical resource Convergent Goal Citizen Consensus; taxes; social involvement, etc Healthcare, sports, wealth, evinronment Behavior Reduction of “Fear of crime” perception Metropolitan Police Safety; control Road accidents prevention; Crime dissuasion and prevension Safety Shops/ Organizations Labour offering; economic exchanges Profits; cheap labour workforce Salaries Profits; Reduction of crime Politician Investments, Economic growth; taxes reduction, consensus Communication, crime policy definition Crime reduction policy others … … … …
  • 25.
    • How does a community remain ‘viable’? How would a systems perspective help?
    • We can refer the concept of viability to the whole community if we consider it as a whole system , but social systems are characterized by multiple subjectively changing goals (multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder systems).
    • We should first identify the finality , then define the system , finally evaluating its conditions of viability .
    • ( this is the way a systems approach may help understanding )
    • Thus, if in the case scenario, we refer to the safety/fear of crime reducing goals, the LBS community will remain viable as long as it will remain able to identify and achieving its goals .
    • To generalize a “whole” community viability perspective, we may say that it will remain viable as long as it will be a “community ”.
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 26.
    • What are the interactions, relationships, identities and structures and how do they impact on what needs to be achieved?
    • Only after defining the system’s goal, it is possible to outline processes and, consequently, to identify critical resources and relevant actors and to map relations.
    • Indeed, considering the nature of the case goal, the decision maker must focus on the emerging interaction to investigate the subjective perception of reality on the part of the LBS community .
    • This leads us to shift focus on the psychological human side of the observed emerging processes.
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 27.
    • How should the system be viewed? From a goods-dominant logic, a service dominant logic or any other logic point of view? What difference should it make? Why is this important?
    • A system may be viewed from every kind of perspective. It depends on the observer aims.
    • Every perspective can contribute to the understanding of specific aspects.
    • What is relevant is the coherence between investigation aims perspective and methodological approach.
    • The assumed aim of the case scenario addresses towards a Service-Based Systems approach.
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 28.
    • What insights can be drawn from the case? Is there a lexicon issue between a real case and theoretical constructs?
    • The case is a very good example of uncontrollable emergent outcomes of social systems , where what can appear at first as a paradoxical outcome ( crime is reducing and the fear is increasing ) can be solved by changing perspective/approach, shifting from the objective consideration of structural data to the subjective perception of the phenomenon on the part of the LBS community affected by open interaction dynamics within an even global context.
    • Lexicon issues may arise simply from adopting different lens without clarifying the methodological choice and its interpretative implications. An example: different criteria/logics adopted in interpreting/classifying a criminal action may change statistic results, affecting interpretation.
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 29.
    • What is value within this community? How and what is co-production/co-creation? What are the partnerships?
    • System’s value is the (average) satisfaction (achievement of goals) of expectations of all entities involved into the system’s dynamics.
    • It is co-created if all actors tune themselves on common/complementary aims, on the basis of consonance conditions.
    • We should consider non only the formal, structured partnerships, but also those informally emergent from the context, that may be (both positively and negatively) of very strong impact on system’s outcomes.
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 30.
    • Who are the ‘customers’?
    • It depends on the specific process we analyze.
    • What makes social systems difficult to analyze adopting a structural approach is that systems, as process dynamics, do not “physically” exist (only their structures do objectively exist ).
    • Systems are the result of observation process (Mella, 2005).
    Short vSa replies to the case scenario questions Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 31.
    • vSa & LBS:
    • Many actors, each one with own perspective/goal and resources.
    • Each actor, as a system, owns resources and has a goal!
    • Individuals/Citizens/Community;
    • Metropolitan Police;
    • Shops/organizations;
    • Politicians.
    • LBS may be perceivable as a system only in case, with a holistic view, all systems have coherent and compatible dynamics (in terms of resources sharing, goals, satisfaction).
    The case Scenario from a vSa perspective Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 32. vSa & LBS: High dinamism (various systems interactions/development) The structure may give rise to many systems (productive/economic, social, political) in which relationships may give shape to many kind of interactions. It depends by the goal, or by the interpretation key/perspective. vSa suggestions for the case scenario Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 33. vSa & LBS: The problem of borders definition The structure, in terms of a composition of correlated elements, is characterized by the following conceptual elements: - a physical boundary defining what is proper to the structure and what is extraneous to it; - components to which a specific function has been attributed; - a set of stable links between the components. vSa suggestions for the case scenario Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 34.
    • vSa & LBS:
    • Defining a system, with a specific goal, supports the definition of involved (relevant) actors, of their goals, and of the interactions among them in order to pursue the systems finality.
    • The border of the system is as extended as actors capable of influencing the systems’ goal are.
    • i.e.: if a contigue Borough hosts a community of thieves, how could we relate to it as an external element? It should be part of the system itself!
    vSa suggestions for the case scenario Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 35.
    • vSa & LBS:
    • But fear of crime in LBS may be also a philosophical issue:
    • Citizens’ perspective and perception is distant from reality, hence citizens’ catecorical values highly affect the judgement of the issue…
    vSa suggestions for the case scenario Drawing Boundaries FEAR OF CRI ME S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta
  • 36. vSa suggestions for the case scenario Drawing Boundaries S. Barile, F. Polese, M. Saviano, P. Di Nauta