Complex Engineering Service Systems


The Management of Complex Engineering Service Systems, Special issue of Journal of Service Management, Edited by Irene Ng, Andy Neely and Rajkumar Roy; Abstract deadline 31 Mar 2012

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Special issue call for papers from Journal of Service Management
Call for abstracts
Journal of Service Management

Special issue on The Management of Complex Engineering Service Systems


Complex engineering products are those that require complex engineering capabilities to support their design, construction, operation and maintenance. Typical examples include aerospace and defence systems, transportation systems, medical equipment, power plants and office buildings.

Recent years have seen an increase in the number of organisations aiming to develop service strategies which complement and support the provision of such complex engineering products. In addition, manufacturers are seeking to strengthen their relationship with customers through the provision of lifelong support service outcomes, which are enabled by both the complex product and the services within a complex system. The design, strategy and management of these types of services have been identified as an area in which there is a knowledge shortfall. Better understanding of the use and outcomes of complex engineered products has entailed a longer life span for such products. There is also increasing budgetary pressure, sustainability issues as well as demands for more stable cost predictions throughout the life of the product. The contracting and business models associated with the hybrid equipment and service provision have also been under-researched. For manufacturers of complex engineering equipment, the move towards service and providing benefits to customers rather than manufacturing more products is the key to future survival. Yet, the capability to provide service for complex engineered products is less well understood.

This special issue aims to advance knowledge in the theory and research of the management of complex engineering service systems. It addresses:

  1. The theoretical, empirical and practical aspects of contracting, managing, designing, leading, delivering, marketing and operating services associated with complex engineering products; and
  2. The management and business of an organisation seeking to provide the service.

Aim of the special issue

We invite service researchers to contribute to the special issue, especially those who are new to service and engineering research but could help develop both the theoretical and the applied understanding of complex engineering service systems. Related disciplines include economics, marketing, operations, law, design, social sciences, computer science, organisation theory, systems engineering, operations research, industrial engineering and management.

We are especially interested in abstracts that:

  1. Provide the connection between engineering, systems and service and create an emerging shared language and terminology, tailored to its impact on business and management of complex service systems;
  2. Have sufficient high-level abstractions to advance knowledge across multiple contexts and provide an account of what is generalisable, implications to practice and conclusions that will impact the wider world;
  3. Provide a clear account of their contribution to the field of service management, service systems, service science, technology and engineering systems and potentially direct future research; and
  4. Contribute to the theoretical and conceptual understanding of the management of complex engineering service systems and clearly state the theoretical, empirical or other methodological means that are used to guide and develop your research.


This special issue seeks foundation-building research on the management of complex engineering service systems.

Trans-disciplinary works as well as industry-academic joint research efforts are especially welcome, but academic rigour and theoretical impact are also to be stressed. We seek high-quality, original contributions that may include – though are not limited to – the following topics:

  • Service Science
  • Service-Dominant Logic in Complex Engineering Service Systems
  • Servitization
  • Service Management, Delivery, Deployment and Maintenance:
    • intra- or inter-enterprise business-to-business service management
    • life-cycle cost modelling, predictive maintenance, technology insertion through-life capability enhancement – impact on service management
    • fleet assessment and management approaches
    • service revenue or cost models
    • service-oriented business methodology, tools and utilities
    • service configuration, analysis, strategy, design, development and deployment.
  • Value Co-creation and Co-production:
    • value constellations
    • dematerialisation and rematerialisation of offerings and interface with technology and service
    • methods for assessing, tracking, determining global value co-creation
    • role of information technology in value creation.
  • Information Technology in Complex Engineering Service Systems:
    • the role of technology and equipment in supporting or enhancing service offerings
    • the role of technology in supporting, enhancing and developing resources
    • information models for service
    • information requirements for service
    • end-to-end service simulation
    • e-service computing.

Please note that this special issue is management-focused, and purely technical aspects of engineering and service systems need to justify why they are important from a managerial perspective.

Abstract submission

Researchers are encouraged to express their interest by submitting a 1,200-word abstract for their planned paper submissions, by 31 March 2012. Please send abstracts to Editorial Co-ordinator:

Yin F. Lim

Your abstract must clearly articulate the title, scope and coverage of the proposed paper. Full papers will undergo a double-blind peer review process. Further details on the Journal of Service Management are available at:

Key dates

  • Deadline for submission of 1,200-word abstract 31 March 2012
  • Selected authors invited to submit full paper 30 April 2012
  • Deadline for full paper submission 30 June 2012
  • Feedback on paper October 2012
  • Publication of special issue Mid-2013


Irene Ng
Professor of Marketing & Service Systems,
Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick

Andy Neely
RAEng Professor of Complex Services and
Director of Cambridge Service Alliance, University of Cambridge

Rajkumar Roy
Professor of Competitive Design, Head of Manufacturing Department, and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services, Cranfield University