Coordinating service provision in dynamic service settings: a position practice relations perspective

18 Aug 2017

How is continuity of service provision supported in dynamic service settings (DSS) when interactions span space and time, and are being increasingly infused by technology? We explored this question through our eighteen-month qualitative study of the DSS of UK mental health. We found that the pattern of interaction that emerges is constantly reconfigured through processes of spanning time, stretching space and through distributed agency. Further, we found that service provision does not only occur among work roles with clear (cross)organizational links but also through diverse interaction among current customers and their friends, as well as customer-to-customer interactions. We characterize such service provision which is not anchored to any service organization as being extraorgnizational. Further, we highlight the importance of the history of interactions and how trust built through diverse interactions in the past may influence trust building in current interaction. To explain our findings we introduce the concepts of "position-practices" and position-practice relations (PPR) to theorize how diverse interaction among dispersed actors contributes to service provision continuity in DSS. We develop a conceptual process model which identifies processes of spanning time, and the stretching of space by which the PPR web of service provision is dynamically reconfigured, and with what consequences for both our case as well as other dynamic service settings.