Karlsruhe School of Services (KSOS)

Service Society


The societal perspective deals with the changes, implications and consequences of the transition towards a service-oriented society. These changes affect all members of society. Service systems and their acceptance are influenced by diverse factors like, e.g., different sizes of societal groups, the settings and contexts in which a service is offered, the roles through which a service is encountered, and legal, ethical, psychological, and societal norms and restrictions. From such analyses, legal, economic, technical, or societal instruments can be derived which can stimulate and promote ethicalor societal values, as well as the acceptance of new service offerings. Beyond the analysis of instruments, issues concerning service ethics arise both from a service provider’s and the consumer’s point of view.

Participatory processes have gained extensive attention in the last years. Based on online platforms and mobile applications, companies, municipalities and other forms of communities associations can empower their (numerous) members and inform and engage them. Whereas this sounds well theoretically, the practical implementation of such participation processes is intricate. Vivid discussions, calls for creative contribution, voting etc. typically rely on a critical mass which the operator must establish in order not to fail the entire process. Gamification techniques and game design may provide valuable insights for implementing such processes within the current IT and media landscape. Besides such motivational issues, companies may face legal and unionistic concerns. Online participation research can and should hence draw on the fields of user motivation and psychology, crowd sourcing, gamification as well as game and UI design, open innovation, and best practices from information systems research and (economic) mechanism design. This is a huge challenge.