Service, Regulations, and Ports: An Actor-Network perspective on the social dimension of Service-Dominant Logic
Abstract: Something has happened in the field of Service Studies. With the introduction of what has been called Service Dominant Logic a large proportion of the established theories related to service as a phenomenon has been challenged. From previously having been defined as something different from the tangible things we buy (goods); i.e. a residual, service defined out of what service is not, the new line of thought reversed the entire goods dominant logic stating with service as the point of departure, and also that service is one of the fundamental building blocks of society. In a sense service is regarded as the glue that holds society together constituting something that can be described as a new “sociology of service”. This is a big claim for a theory that originates, not only from the field of business, but from the field of marketing within the business field. The same year that Service Dominant Logic was introduced, 2004, a new set of regulations was introduced within the international shipping industry. As a reaction to what was defined as an increased threat from international terrorists measures were taken to decrease the risk of attacks on board ships and in ports. This thesis pairs these two events, the introduction of new regulations in Swedish ports and the new theory of service, in order to analyse the usefulness of the principles of Service Dominant Logic in a complex service process that is in flux in both time and space. I will in this thesis argue that, even though there are certain qualities in Service Dominant Logic, it lacks some fundamental things – first and foremost a language to cope with the vast complexity that is under scrutiny, but also that it might be to all-inclusive to be useful outside a philosophical discussion about the development of theories.
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