Call for papers 2019

Services and the future of the workforce

XXIX International RESER Conference
September 12th-14th 2019, Ceuta, Spain

Read the call for papers as PDF

Besides the necessary ecological changes in the context of global warming, a new scenario is approaching us. We are living a new transforming impulse in the process of globalization, Globalization 4.0, closely linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution which raises again important questions about global-governance. The unprecedented pace of technological change means that some service systems will be completely transformed, i.e. healthcare, transportation, communication, distribution, and finances. To face this new economy, we must remember that we are not playing a zero-sum game. Thus, we have to use the current moment to explore the gaps in the present system, and to identify the requirements for a future approach that guarantees that it achieves improvements in terms of both, global production and fair distribution.
On the one hand, Globalization is a phenomenon driven by technology and the movement of ideas, people, and goods. On the other hand, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. The connection of billions of people interacting with mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, offers now unlimited possibilities. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging breakthroughs in technology in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nano-technology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing. In addition, this Fourth Industrial Revolution advances in an environment with two added constraints, the transition toward a new energy model and the widespread concern about environmental issues.
Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. But, at the same time, the revolution could yield greater inequality, particularly in its potential to disrupt labour markets. It maybe even result in a new model of income distribution in which salaries and labour retribution could lose their prominent position in favour of a universal basic income.
That point is the one that inspires the main theme of this conference. During last decades, the process of the tertiarization of the employment has been quite obvious for most countries; a trend which is accentuated for the most important tertiary activities, mainly in terms of intersectoral relationships (producer services) and those related to the development of the welfare state (social services). Currently, around 72.5% of employment in OECD countries is concentrated in service activities. A similar percentage is shown for the European Union, and the United States reaches even almost 80%.
Up to the present, Europe and most developed countries have changed their economy transforming their model, fundamentally based on industry, into a different one which is based on service activities. As a result, in recent years, the bulk of employment has been generated by services, but this trend may be interrupted by the new emerging scenario, characterized by robots and artificial intelligence. Thus, great challenges open up for the service sector, not only at the end of this transformation process, but also in the transition period. In fact, service activities are likely to continue to concentrate an increasing percentage of employment. However, so far there are more questions than answers.
Labour is one of the factors of production at the core of capitalism fundamentals. The definition for factors of production in economic systems presumes that ownership lies with households, who lend or lease them to entrepreneurs and organizations. The income earned for the contribution of labour to the production of goods and services is the largest source of income for most people. Thus, a fall in the demand of the factor labour can leads to a radical transformation of the economic system with large consequences in social organisation and coexistence.
Historically, the intensification of workforce skills determined the progress of economies in a sequence as follows, more and better skills, more productivity, greater benefits, higher salaries, improved wellbeing. Currently, the depth of changes in the organization of production and the speed of such changes are so pronounced that it is difficult to predict where training in new skills should go.
From the policy action perspective, to prevent an undesirable lose-lose scenario —technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality— it is critical that businesses assume an active role in supporting their existing workforces through reskilling and upskilling, individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning and governments create an enabling environment, rapidly and creatively, to assist in these efforts. Businesses will need to recognize investment in human capital as an asset rather than a liability. This is particularly imperative because there is a virtuous cycle between new technologies and upskilling.
A lot of questions emerge and identify the expected contribution and role of services in that singular transition period:

  • Drivers of change: artificial intelligence; big data analytics; cloud technology; energy and greener global economy technologies; education; social and healthcare services;
  • biotechnologies; personalised medicine; etc.
  • Accelerated technology adoption.
  • Trends in robotization: humanoid robots; stationary robots; non-humanoid land robots; fully automated aerial drones; underwater robots; in addition to machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence.
  • Changing geographies of production, distribution and value chains.
  • Changing employment relations and employment types.
  • A new human-machine frontier within existing tasks.
  • A net positive outlook for jobs?
  • Growing skills instability.
  • A reskilling imperative: strategies for addressing skills gaps.
  • Regulatory aspects: international labour rights, role of unions, and the like.

In conclusion, there are complex feedback loops between new technology, jobs, and skills. New technologies can drive business growth, job creation and demand for specialist skills but they can also displace entire occupations when most tasks become obsolete or automated.
This 29th International RESER Conference will schedule a program in which all these issues will be addressed from the perspective of service activities and their contribution to obtain a fruitful transition toward a new economy that provides not only substantial gains in terms of productivity and wellbeing, but also in terms of equity and social values.
In 2019 RESER Conference will be organised around these main subjects:

  1. New services – New jobs

    • The qualitative and quantitative evolution of jobs in health-care
    • New perspectives in tourist and cultural-based services
    • Servitization in manufacturing
    • Sport activities and new technologies
    • New jobs linked to elderly and dependent people
    • New jobs and social education
    • Artificial intelligence and new jobs
    • Neurosciences and new development in marketing studies
  2. Services workforce and robotization

    • Services delivered by robots
    • New scenarios for income distribution
    • Labour intensive services?
    • Labour rights
    • New issues in HHRR management (flexible payment, training, recruitment, …)
  3. Services activities and economic development

    • A reinforced role for educational services
    • Spin-off and start-ups, employment and economic development
    • Public services and public administration boosting economic development
    • Public-Private models in new scenarios for services
    • Public services and digital transformation
    • Services and Green Economy
    • Services Innovation
  4. Geographical aspects of services

    • “Smart Cities” and new labour models
    • Project-oriented labour market, agglomeration and clusterization
    • Work opportunities and regional development
    • Territorial inequalities
    • Public and private services in rural areas
    • New territorial scenarios of service delivering
  5. Internationalization of services and services in emerging markets

    • Globalisation and services activities
    • Internationalisation strategies of service companies
    • Multinationals and new types of services
    • Knowledge intensive services: geographic characteristics and development
    • Impact of service industry growth on regional development

Papers related with any other subject of service science will be welcome (New theories and methodological developments; Service Ecosystems: strategy and management issues; Value (co)creation; etc.).
RESER is an interdisciplinary European network of social scientists linked by a common interest in service industries and their territorial expression. The annual RESER research conference provides a unique opportunity for the exchange of ideas concerning the cutting edge of service research and is open to all researchers interested in these topics. The RESER annual conference 2019 in Ceuta (Spain) constitutes the 29th annual platform and meeting place for European researchers and policy makers working on services. The 29th annual conference is co-organized by the University of Granada and the Institute of Ceuta Studies.

Support for PhD students

RESER will financially support the participation of 2 PhD students to the conference.
Based on the full papers submitted, 2 submissions will be selected, and their authors will receive a grant of €500 to fund travel, accommodation and conference fees. In order to be eligible for the grant, the PhD student must sign the paper as first author and will have to be in charge of its presentation at the conference.
The grant recipients will be contacted when all authors will receive the notification of acceptance of their papers.

Requirements for abstracts to be submitted:

  • Title of paper
  • Objectives
  • Methodology
  • Expected results

Important deadlines:

  • Submission of abstracts: May 12th 2019
  • Notification to authors of acceptance: June 3rd 2019
  • Submission of final text for RESER Founders’ PhD Award applicants: 19th July, 2019
  • Submission of final texts: August 31th 2019

Conference venue:

Faculty of Education, Economics and Technology of Ceuta. Granada University, Campus of Ceuta, Cortadura del Valle str., Ceuta

Conference fees:

Deadline Regular fees Students fees
Before July 16th € 300,- € 150,-
After July 16th € 350,- € 175,-

Useful and Updated information

Participants can find updated information about accommodation and how to have a safe and cheap trip to Ceuta at: