Institutions as resource context

Kaisa Koskela-Huotari, Stephen L. Vargo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of institutions and institutional complexity in the process through which resources-in-context get their "resourceness." Design/methodology/approach: To shed light on the process of potential resources gaining their "resourceness," the authors draw from two streams of literature: the service ecosystems perspective and institutional theory. Findings: The authors combine the process of resources "becoming" with the concept of institutions and conceptualize institutional arrangements, and the unique sets of practices, symbols and organizing principles they carry, as the sense-making frames of the "resourceness" of potential resources. In service ecosystems, numerous partially conflicting institutional arrangements co-exit and provide actors with alternative frames of sense-making and action, enabling the emergence of new instances of "resourceness". Research limitations/implications: The paper suggests that "resourceness" is inseparable from the complex institutional context in which it arises. This conceptualization reveals the need for more holistic, systemic and multidisciplinary perspectives on understanding the implications of the process of resources "becoming" on value co creation, innovation and market formation. Practical implications: As the "resourceness" of potential resources arises due to the influence of institutions, managers need a more profound understanding of the complimentary and inhibiting institutional arrangements and the related practices, symbols and organizing principles that comprise the multidimensional context in which they operate. Originality/value: This paper is one of the first to focus specifically on the process of resources "becoming," using a systemic and institutional perspective to grasp the complexity of the phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-178
JournalJournal of Service Theory and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • institutional complexity
  • institutions
  • resources-in-context
  • service ecosystems
  • value co-creation


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