Service design : imperatives, processes and communication
This research was an investigation into the nature of new service design (NSD) activity. The thesis researched literature on NSD and established limits of its applicability. Also developed was NSD process and content theory outside such limits. The research was a multiple site case study. At the level of case-sites the study used the interpretative approach called "explanation-building; " the development of narratives that explained data using concepts from the literature review. The "crosscase" analysis tested these theoretical concepts and allowed the emergence of new empirical categories, and the development of new theoretical categories and hypotheses. Imperatives and stimuli for NSD were a mix of environmental pressure and pressure to deploy resources. Demand-side pressure for variety and the propensity of the resource-base to continually enhance capability mean that service organisations are inevitably exposed to resource or market risk. The organisational response should respect the nature and extent of risk exposure; internal 'imbalances' between resource capability and market needs must be redressed in the NSD response. The applicability of "stage-gate" models of NSD is limited to those contexts where the service is analogous to a manufactured good. In addition there are six other contexts with corresponding process ideals. Unless the outcome of the NSD process is holistic, implementation problems are the result. Holistic NSDs include a strategic rationale, the proposed market offering, process implications and structural or infrastructural resource implications. The initial configuration of NSD communication devices is dependent on the nature of the NSD process. If NSD is focussed on resource / process development then the vernacular of NSD tends to be resource / process descriptions. If NSD addresses exposure to market risk, then NSD constructs tend to be marketing devices. Thus during the NSD process the NSD need not be holistic, by the end of the process it should be.