Purpose: Only a few concepts in the service literature are as pervasive yet as undertheorized as is the concept of the actor. With a growing interest toward value creation as a systemic and institutionally guided phenomenon, there is a particular need for a more robust conceptualization of humans as actors that adopts a processual, as opposed to a static, view. The purpose of this paper is to build such processual conceptualization to advance service-dominant (S-D) logic, in particular, and service research, in general.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper is conceptual and extends S-D logic's institutionally constituted account of the actor by drawing from identity theory and social constructionism.
Findings: The paper develops a processual conceptualization of the human actor that explicates four social processes explaining the dynamics between two identity concepts—social and personal identity—and institutional arrangements. The resulting framework reveals how humans are simultaneously constituted by institutions and able to perform their roles in varying, even institution-changing, ways.
Research limitations/implications: By introducing new insights from identity theory and social constructionism, this paper reconciles the dualism in S-D logic's current description of actors, as well as posits the understanding of identity dynamics and the processual nature of actors as central in many service-related phenomena.
Originality/value: This paper is among the few that explicitly theorize about the nature of human actors in S-D logic and the service literature.
- Identity dynamics
- Institutional arrangements
- Personal identity
- Processual view
- Service-dominant logic
- Social identity