Call for Papers

Service development and innovation for prosperity and human well-being in the 21st century




The importance of knowledge intensive services for growth, economic development as well as human well-being is widely recognised. Also manual services continue to constitute an important aspect of modern societies, for example in the case of many public welfare systems services, tourism and certain facilities management services. Both manual and knowledge intensive services continuously develop and innovate to introduce new or improved service products, increase productivity and improve quality for customers as well as the public's well-being. Development and innovativeness of knowledge intensive and manual services are crucial for meeting society's present problems of employment, sustainability, work integration, ageing and climate change as well as wider economic challenges. The conference will therefore focus on development and innovation in the different service sectors and their impact on prosperity and human well-being considering the present public and market economic challenges. Development is considered in a broad sense and encompasses issues related to changes of the service sectors themselves as well as their impacts on society, for example in terms of their economic contribution, or contribution to meeting the challenges of employment, work integration, ageing, social exclusion, geographical disparities etc. Innovation is considered in its traditional sense as the introduction of new or improved services, organisational set-ups, marketing procedures, including also public and social innovations. Thus, the conference aims to support broad discussions about issues related to development and innovation of services and to build new understandings of the role of services in contemporary societies.


We organize the conference around the following nine themes, each of which illuminate a particular area of interest within the overall broader theme of the conference - service development and innovation in the 21st century. However, papers on related topics are also welcome:


  1. Development, innovation and societal impact of knowledge intensive services
  2. Development and innovation in public and private manual services
  3. Changing geographies of services: Internationalisation, regional and local development
  4. The role of services and service development in industrial policy
  5. Service management and marketing theory and research methods in an innovative perspective
  6. Servitization
  7. ICT's role in service development
  8. Services and innovation in developing economies (REDLAS track)
  9. Industry Master Class



The RESER 2015 conference is a forum for the presentation and discussion of innovative studies on services to ensure the active development of service research. Scholars and practitioners of management, marketing, engineering, economics, sociology, geography, or any other discipline are invited to submit papers that explore and develop a multidisciplinary understanding of various service issues. Papers can be based on literature reviews, conceptual and empirical studies using qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.


Theme 1: Development, innovation, and societal impact of knowledge intensive services

Knowledge intensive services have for a long time been considered a major growth factor for all industries. This theme will focus on the role of knowledge intensive services in society and on the importance of innovation and development within such sectors. Of particular interest for the theme are the processes behind, and the possibilities for, knowledge intensive service development and innovation. What is, for example, the role of networks among knowledge intensive service companies for their development and innovation potentials? Do knowledge intensive services continue to be a growth factor during/after the economic recession of the 2000's and 2010's? Has the character of knowledge intensive services changed? What has the fast development of ICT networks and social ICT media meant to knowledge intensive services? How can knowledge intensive services provide services that meet social and economic needs for example in robotics? These are just some relevant questions for this theme. However, the classic questions about, for example, co-production and co-creation are still interesting. 



Theme 2: Development and innovation in public and private manual services

Manual, or operational, services have a crucial economic and social role in society. Many people with low education are employed in manual services and they are crucial for people's well-being. Manual service firms have always had difficulties in becoming innovative and developing their services and are today met by a market demands of productivity increase and efficiency, particularly in the economic crisis. Also public services are undergoing changed conditions induced by requirements of innovation and increased efficiency. Consequently, of particular interest for this theme are discussions of the processes behind, and the possibilities for, manual service development and innovation, often in situations with limited resources. For example, what is the role of small step incremental innovation processes (bricolage) in manual services? How can services be changed with limited resources, and what is the impact on employees and users well-being? What is the role of networks, for example among small manual service companies, such as many tourism and experience firms, who often do not individually possess many innovation and development resources? Which changes and development trends can we observe and how do they impact working conditions, job creation, work integration, management and other aspects in public and private manual services?


Theme 3: Changing geographies of services: Internationalisation, regional and local development

This theme will focus on the spatial aspects and impacts of service development.  Service development and innovation continuously change the geographical aspects of, and conditions for, the service sectors. Many service sectors and service companies internationalise their activities which can have positive or negative impacts, for example in terms of employment or access to services, in local areas.. Furthermore spatial changes occur at the regional level. As analyses have demonstrated, increased concentration of population and economic activities in cities and a changed focus on rural districts have emerged. Peripheral regions face a situation with fewer jobs and less service. How does the development and innovation of service industries influence this process? Can services be used as a means to develop rural regions? Concentration of - particularly knowledge - services in city regions has been investigated, but can we see new tendencies, new explanations or new impacts?


Theme 4: The role of services and service development in industrial policy

The economic crisis has generated new industrial policies, which often emphasize technological innovations and manufacturing as the fields that should lead us out of the crisis. In this light the role of services seem often to have been somewhat neglected. In public policies public (and private) services are today often treated with a particular focus on efficiency. But what are other (potential) roles and outcomes of services in new industrial policies? How does productivity and efficiency go hand in hand with such other roles  of services? How much do services contribute to economic growth, employment and tax income? What are the political opinions about services? How can we get service back on the agenda?


Theme 5: Service management and marketing theory and research methods in an innovative perspective

The service management and marketing theory has celebrated its 30 years' anniversary. What is the status of the theory today? Which are the current trends in theory development? Has major innovative contributions been developed? Or, is it time for theoretical development, maybe reflecting the many empirical results that have been procured during the last three decades? Other interesting aspects that can be discussed within this theme concerns the contribution of service research and theory development on practice. How, and to which degree, does service management and marketing research disseminate and impact development and innovation in service companies? How can the impact of such research in society be enhanced? These questions relate to questions about methodological developments. How do different methods in service management and marketing research contribute to new innovative knowledge creation? And how can such and other methods create practically applicable knowledge which can have a societal impact? Papers that discuss the service management and marketing theory critically from a theoretical or empirical view are welcome.


Theme 6: Servitization

Manufacturing, and even agricultural, firms increasingly define service as an important or main activity. In this way a lot of service development and innovation today occurs in manufacturing firms. The concept servitization has been used to characterize this change, but what do we mean when we use the concept? How shall we understand servitization theoretically and empirically? Furthermore, what can be learned from such manufacturing firms about services, service development and service innovation? What can manufacturing firms learn from service firms? What are the potentials and barriers for servitization in different sectors and in small and large firms? And what are the recent economic and broader societal impacts of such servitization? New empirical knowledge about such and related phenomenon is welcome.


Theme 7: ICT's role in service development

In the last couple of decades the evolution of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as Internet, WWW, social media, mobile computing, ubiquitous computing etc. has had a  tremendous impact on many aspects of knowledge intensive and manual services, including production, delivery and consumption. However, there is still a need to understand this evolution as well its barriers and benefits and not least is future potentials. Papers addressing for example how ICT is affecting services, their innovation, production and co-production by for example involving users through social networks, or though business model innovation are welcome. Generally, papers discussing benefits and barriers of ICT in service development and related issues are relevant for this theme.


Theme 8: Services in developing economies (track supported by REDLAS)

This is a special track of sessions focusing on services in developing and transition economies, co-organized between RESER and REDLAS, which is the Latin American Network for Research on Services ( It is an emerging network of research groups and individuals active in services research and policy formulation, mainly located in Latin America and Caribbean. REDLAS started as a network of researchers in 2010, as a response to the region's demands for better understanding of the role of services in economic development. RESER actively supports REDLAS as a mechanism to promote research on services in Latin America and other developing regions.

Developing and transition economies have become services economies too, following the path of developed economies many decades ago. For example, Latin-American economies are concentrated currently for over 60% in services and most jobs are generated in this sector. In Asia, services GDP, employment and export growth rates are among the highest in the world. Some developing economies have created new competitive advantages through service offshoring, entering in service Global Value Chains or through the reinforcement of traditional services like tourism. Structural transformations occur with a dramatic pace in developing and transition countries.

However, structural weaknesses persist in the service sector in many developing countries: a large share of services employment is concentrated in low-value added activities where  productivity is low. This is due to different causes, such as lack of skilled and educated labour, inappropriate regulatory environments, little use of information and communication technology, insufficient participation in international trade, lack of innovation and access to credit, and informality. In this context, promoting structural change and upgrading  in the aforementioned areas is crucial to improve competitiveness and trade, and contribute to inclusive growth and wellbeing.

In this context, contributions to the following and related issues are welcome within the context of developing and transition economies:

  • Patterns of structural transformation and services growth
  • Forward and backward linkages between services, natural resource sectors and manufacturing
  • Measurement issues and empirical evidence on services and services innovation
  • Social innovation, service innovation and inclusive innovation
  • Participation of service providers in GVCs and new internationalisation issues
  • Services and local/regional development
  • Regulation of services
  • Firm dynamics and marketing


Theme 9: Industry Master Class (Track for researchers and service firms)

What creates successful service firms? What creates growth, profitable service business and value for customers and the society? What has international research shown? What can we learn from successful service firms? These questions will be discussed in this track, which is a master class for firms and researchers. Emphasis is on practice in firms. International researchers present new knowledge on what makes service firms successful. RegLab (a Danish private analysis institute focused on regional industrial policy) will present a new analysis of what drives successful Danish service firms. Panel discussions will be organized between researchers and business representatives. The track is organized in collaboration with Danish Technological Institute (DTI) and the Danish innovation network "The Service Platform", which is financed by the Danish Ministry of Research and has the purpose to disseminate knowledge from universities and knowledge centres such as DTI.


Papers from the conference will be selected for potential special issues or edited volumes.



Submissions for this conference were closed on 2015-06-04.