E-Services and the Codification of Informational Services

E-Services and the Codification of Informational Services

Ada Scupola (Roskilde University, Denmark), Anders Hente (Aalborg University – Copenhagen, Denmark) and Hanne Westh Nicolajsen (Aalborg University – Copenhagen, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-607-7.ch002
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Abstract

The concept of e-services has gained increasing use during the past decade. There is, however, no general agreement as to the precise meaning and scope of the term. The research purpose of the present chapter is, therefore, to discuss the e-service concept, its strengths and scope, and thereby contribute to the general understanding and definition of the term. More specifically, the chapter aims at examining one of the primary conditions for the development of e-services, namely the codification of knowledge in connection with knowledge intensive services. The e-service concept is used in relation to private as well as public e-services. The present chapter examines the e-service concept at a generic level and does not differentiate between private and public e-services.
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E-Services As Convergence Of Services And Goods

In contrast to goods, which can be separated from the immediate producers and sold on an anonymous market, services are delivered by their immediate producers and are not anonymous (Henten, 1994). Consumers will know who the immediate producers are (or will at least have the possibility to do so). It is often said that services are produced and consumed simultaneously and, therefore, require face-to-face contact between the producers and the consumers in the production/ consumption phase (Rust, 2001; Hill, 1977). This may not always hold entirely true, but the consumption will at least start right after the end of production – as in the case of repair work. The basic definition of services has nothing inherently to do with whether it is material or immaterial. The repair work of a plumber, for instance, is material in nature, but is a service. Indeed, information and communication technologies (ICTs) affect all kinds of goods and services with respect to their transaction on the market (e-business) (e.g. Penttinen et al., 2008). However, in the case of data, information and knowledge services (informational services), it is the product itself which is affected (e.g. Gullkvist, 2008). With ICTs, it is possible to enter data, information and knowledge (to the extent it can be codified) on digital media and use communication networks for transportation (e.g. Ahonen et al., 2008). This means that data, information or knowledge services increasingly can be separated from the immediate producers and sold on anonymous markets. They become goods in a sense. Formerly, paper was the primary physical media for turning informational services into goods. Presently, electronic media increasingly dominate (e.g. Ihlström Eriksson et al., 2008).

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