Defining new productivity measures for service and network-based firms

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2015
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Historically, productivity has been defined as a measure of an economic system’s allocation of resources. However, because world economies have transitioned from agriculture and manufacturing to service and knowledge-based industries, and work practices from single firm production units to more networked organisations, the relevance and measure of productivity is debatable. Services differ from goods production, and the differences go beyond characteristics to the underlying logic of how value is created. The difficulties in qualifying and quantifying intangible inputs and outputs lead to the research question: how can productivity be measured for service and network-based firms? The focus of this research is on the development of two contemporary models, namely the Service Enterprise Productivity in Action (SEPIA) and Networked Enterprise Productivity in Action (NEPIA) models, which address the gaps and limitations in current models and which area able to be operationalised. As this research is at the forefront of productivity for service and network-based firms, it uses two methodologies. Data is collected from a set of heterogeneous firms operating in the Australian travel and tourism industry. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is used for the SEPIA model, measuring inputs and outputs of three of the five stakeholders, namely customers, employees, managers, suppliers and shareholders. The inclusion of stakeholders positions productivity and the firm in a social domain. Consequently, social network analysis (SNA) is used to explore productivity measures for network-based firms—that is, service value networks. The contribution from this research is the alignment of firm level data for service and network based firms with the existing methods of calculating productivity at an industry and economy level. In addition productivity for service firms is found to be multi-layered. New forms of efficiency have been identified, namely integrative efficiency and collaborative efficiency having particular relevance for service and network based firms. The SEPIA and NEPIA provide a framework and roadmap that can be used to further collaborative research into productivity, for service and network-based firms.
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