Investigating Complexity Management in Product Service Systems: A Cybernetics Perspective


This research examines complexity management in the context of Product Service Systems. Product Service Systems are a configuration of product, service, technologies, human actors, and facilities to create value. The delivery of outcomes through a Product Service System is fraught with complexity. Current studies on complexity management in the context of Product Service System are fragmented; context specific, industry specific and address specific aspects of the delivery system. This research explores complexity management in Product Service Systems using the Viable System Model (VSM) as an epistemological lens. Principles and concepts underlying the VSM were applied, including Stafford Beer’s Variety Engineering and Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety, to develop a VSM-Based Complexity Management framework. Using multiple case study research strategy, the research found three mechanisms underlying complexity management in Product Service System context. These mechanisms are connectivity, collaboration, and flexibility. Further analysis shows that these three mechanisms are anchored on a knowledge management strategy designed and implemented by PSS companies to develop requisite variety and drive viability. Identifying a relationship between knowledge, organisational learning, and complexity management permits the integration of concepts and models from both literature and fields to understand survival strategy in firms offering PSS.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
Additional Information: © Emmanuel Ohigho Musa, 2020 asserts their moral right to be identified as the author of this thesis. This copy of the thesis has been supplied on condition that anyone who consults it is understood to recognise that its copyright rests with its author and that no quotation from the thesis and no information derived from it may be published without appropriate permission or acknowledgement. If you have discovered material in Aston Publications Explorer which is unlawful e.g. breaches copyright, (either yours or that of a third party) or any other law, including but not limited to those relating to patent, trademark, confidentiality, data protection, obscenity, defamation, libel, then please read our Takedown Policy and contact the service immediately.
Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Complexity management,Product service system,Viable system model,Knowledge management
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 15:08
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 12:05
Completed Date: 2021
Authors: Musa, Emmanuel

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