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Drivers and hinderers of (un)sustainable service: A systems view

Misum affiliated researcher Kaisa Koskela-Huotari and her co-authors Kristin Svärd, Helén Williams, Jakob Trischler, and Fredrik Wikström explore how a systemic approach can be used to be achieve sustainable service provisioning.

The Academic Insight is based on the research article: “Drivers and Hinderers of (Un)Sustainable Service: A Systems View” published in the Journal of Service Research in 2024.

Humankind faces several planetary crises, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and waste. We are still far from operating within the boundaries of what the planet can support. Recognizing this reality, it is imperative to rethink how we utilize and manage our resources. However, achieving sustainable service provisioning poses a challenge, particularly in evaluating and implementing ecological sustainability measures. While social sustainability has received some attention in service research, there is a lack of theoretical understanding of environmental sustainability and the factors that contribute to unsustainable outcomes.

To better understand what sustainability is and why it is so difficult to achieve in this context, the authors adopt a systems view to investigate the specific mechanisms leading to (un)sustainable outcomes in service provisioning, focusing on the role of food retailers in the context of food waste reduction.

This study provides an integrative model that highlights the relationships between different mechanisms in the food system and the collective responsibility of all stakeholders. By examining this issue, the study aims to address a prevalent sustainability problem and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges involved.

Read the full Misum Academic Insight here.



  • Kaisa Koskela-Huotari, Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing and Strategy, Stockholm School of Economics
  • Kristin Svärd, PhD Student, CTF, Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad
  • Helén Williams, Associate Professor, Environmental and Energy Systems, Karlstad University, Karlstad
  • Jakob Trischler, Associate Professor, CTF, Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad
  • Fredrik Wikström, Professor, Environmental and Energy Systems, Karlstad University, Karlstad