TitleSystem Protection and the Benefit of Others – a Service Perspective
Publication Type04. Conference Papers
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMaurer, F., & Fritzsche A.
Conference NameAnnual Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT)
Conference LocationDarmstadt

Historic efforts to ensure the availability of the critical infrastructures of society (CI) built on the principles of redundancy and stock-keeping. This, however, is often economically unfeasible and usually difficult to sustain. Normal Accident Theory (NAT) and – its rival – the High Reliability Theory (HRT) have added a higher level of reflection, leading to alternative concepts such as robustness and resilience. At the same time, they have shifted the focus of the efforts from CI as a service for the benefit of society to CI as a separate entity that is protected for its own sake. A similar development can be observed in the shift of efforts from the protection of CI in general to the protection of the information and communication technologies (ICT) in CI.
This article focuses on CI “Transportation”, in particular supply chain networks (SCNs) and the most critical actors in these systems: transport service providers (TSPs). TSPs are responsible for the frictionless service about and around transport, warehousing and advanced data exchange of goods. On the one hand, TSPs act as independent service systems in supply chain networks, to make business and to gain profit. On the other hand, they act as intermediating service systems, providing transportation and warehousing of goods at the core, between (global) offer/supply and demand (vendor/customer). A deviation, caused by TSPs itself or their dynamic environments (e.g. natural disaster, man-made disruption, ICT fallout, etc.), can impact service clients and can cascade easily to a major disruption, the breakdown of the whole network and beyond.
TSP providers operate within a hierarchy of service systems, starting from technical services like ICT systems up to actual environmental and social functions. Based on empirical evidence from TSP providers, this paper investigates how the benefits provided by the systems can change in the course of agile and flexible responses to external change. This is set in relation to the concepts of robustness and resilience in CI and the general notion of systemic integrity. We compare this with the concept of services as acts for the benefit of others, identify inconsistencies and suggest solutions.

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