Service system resilience under resource scarcity: from vulnerability to balanced centricity

Henna M. Leino, Janet Davey, Raechel Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Disruptive shocks significantly compromise service contexts, challenging multidimensional value (co)creation. Recent focus has been on consumers experiencing vulnerability in service contexts. However, the susceptibility of service firms, employees and other actors to the impacts of disruptive shocks has received little attention. Since resource scarcity from disruptive shocks heightens tensions around balancing different needs in the service system, this paper aims to propose a framework of balanced centricity and service system resilience for service sustainability. Design/methodology/approach: Adopting a conceptual model process, the paper integrates resilience and balanced centricity (method theories) with customer/consumer vulnerability (domain theory) resulting in a definition of multiactor vulnerability and related theoretical propositions. Findings: Depleted, unavailable, or competed over resources among multiple actors constrain resource integration. Disruptive shocks nevertheless have upside potential. The interdependencies of actors in the service system call for deeper examination of multiple parties’ susceptibility to disruptive resource scarcity. The conceptual framework integrates multiactor vulnerability (when multiactor susceptibility to resource scarcity challenges value exchange) with processes of service system resilience, developing three research propositions. Emerging research questions and strategies for balanced centricity provide a research agenda. Research limitations/implications: A multiactor, balanced centricity perspective extends understanding of value cocreation, service resilience and service sustainability. Strategies for anticipating, coping with and adapting to disruptions in service systems are suggested by using the balanced centricity perspective, offering the potential to maintain (or enhance) the six types of value. Originality/value: This research defines multiactor vulnerability, extending work on experienced vulnerabilities; describes the multilevel and multiactor perspective on experienced vulnerability in service relationships; and conceptualizes how balanced centricity can decrease multiactor vulnerability and increase service system resilience when mega disruptions occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-130
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2024


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