A Situated and Embodied Approach to Service-oriented Modeling

[Context] As opposed to the traditional approach to problem solving, which limits the scope of the solution to the stated problem, the mandate for services is to go deeper and focus on the value that the proposed solution creates for the entities affected by the problem. [Problem] In the absence of any formal characterization of the value concept, service designers often fail to decode the complete information available in a consumer’s expression of value. The dominant approach to interpreting value expressions considers service as a work system, and the value provided by the service as a specific task that the work system helps the consumer accomplish. Such an exclusively functional view of the value concept fails to process value expressions, which reveal the affective states that a service invokes at the consumer. Affective states correspond to the internal feelings of the consumer and, if reasoned appropriately, these states can help identify an additional set of tasks that the service helps accomplish for the consumer. Situating the problem solution in a larger set of work systems will provide the service designer a wide range of design choices, thereby increasing the likelihood that the resulting service achieves the desired objective. [Idea] This work takes an experience-design based approach to services. It models the value a service offers to the consumer as the change the consumer experiences. Experience refers to the consumer’s cognitive act of appreciating the service. Cognition is a grounded phenomenon, and to understand the cause-and-effects underlying the consumer’s appreciation of the service requires attention to the consumer both as a social being, as well as a bodily being. The basic idea is to model the consumer’s interaction with the service in terms of the action the service helps the consumer perform in different situations (situated actions - situatedness), and the affective states that the service invokes in the consumer (bodily states - embodiment). [Contribution] The contributions of this work are two fold. First, it provides a set of four force-dynamic patterns - Value Frames, which the service designer can use to model the causal basis of the affective states revealed in the consumer’s expression of value. The insight here is that in the context of value creation, the source of change is not restricted to only those force-factors that bring about an observable change at the consumer. Instead, all force-factors that are capable of gaining appreciation from the consumer, even if the appreciation does not necessarily manifest itself through observable state transitions, should be acknowledged. The claim this work makes is that the nature of the problem that the service helps the consumer overcome, and the change the service introduces to do so, together provide a conceptual basis for modeling the appreciation that the service invokes at the consumer. The second outcome of this work is a value-oriented conceptual modeling method – TRIBE, which specifies the process for developing some initial problem solution into a service specification. [Relevance] In addition to the conceptual contribution that this work makes in specifying the cognitive semantics of service design, it also provides the apparatus and method necessary to conduct a service-oriented inquiry. This thesis includes a case study that illustrates the application of the proposed modeling method, and the modeling constructs, to a real-world problem situation – the case of food-grain storage and distribution in India. The results of the case study confirm that the proposed modeling method helps service designers not just discover new features for their service but also identify the entities required to implement these features. As the field of Service Science matures, it will have to develop a more normative body of knowledge, which the service designers can use in their day-to-day practice. This work is one such effort towards that end.

Wegmann, Alain
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis5974-5

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2014-04-28, last modified 2018-03-17

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