Evolutions of Service Actor Roles towards Future Service

Tim Overkamp, Stefan Holmlid


Realising new ways of value co-creation involves changes in the roles of actors in a service system. Role Theory and its concepts have been used in service research to articulate dynamics in service actor roles in existing value co-creation situations, but they are not applied to evaluate roles in future situations of service. Several methods exist in (service) design that can be used to describe existing roles in service systems and to suggest possible futures based on these descriptions, but describing roles in these futures in a structured way is not a part of these methods.

Structured ways to describe service actor roles in envisioned services are thus lacking, which makes it difficult to assess the feasibility of the evolution from contemporary service actor roles towards realising services. In this paper, we suggest how Role Theory and theatre-inspired methods in design can complement one-another to fill this gap. We use interview data from the evaluation of an envisioned service scenario to show how Role Theory can be used as an analytical perspective to describe roles in this envisioned service. Finally, we suggest possible directions for future research.

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