Service ecosystem perspective in the retail industry

  • Marcello Sansone
  • Roberto Bruni
  • Annarita Colamatteo
  • Maria Anna Pagnanelli
Keywords: retail concept; institution; institutional arrangement; ecosystem


Purpose of the paper: This conceptual paper explains how the retail concept (latent concept) emerges as an ecosystem through the generation of institutional arrangements and, for this reason, through the evolution of specific institutions that affect the retail concept and the actors involved.

Methodology: The study is based on the Service-Dominant Logic (S-D Logic) and Viable System Approach (VSA) frameworks. The S-D Logic framework is applied in order to define institutions and institutional arrangements surrounding the ecosystem, and the VSA framework helps to explain the “emergent” nature of the ecosystem resulting from institutional arrangements.

Results: The identification of relevant institutions and institutional arrangements within the retail concept highlights the emergence of the retail concept as an ecosystem from the service perspective.

Research limitations: The proposed approach in this conceptual paper could be enriched with other theoretical perspectives and empirical explorations.

Practical implications: In the process of retail evolution, it is useful for practitioners to manage a systemic view of the retail concept following the ecosystem paradigm because it provides a framework for understanding the entangled relationships among the industrial production, agriculture, logistics, distribution and consumption sectors that integrate resources and exchange value belonging to the same retail system. They follow the shared purpose of surviving and co-creating value through different actors in the market.

Originality of the paper: The ecosystem paradigm is used to explain the latent concept of retail and to express the process of interaction among a multiplicity and variety of emerging institutions through resource integrations in the retail market.


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