IJAT Vol.12 No.4 pp. 459-468
doi: 10.20965/ijat.2018.p0459


Equilibrium Analysis of Service Ecosystems for Labor-Intensive Services Using Multi-Agent Simulation

Takeshi Takenaka*,†, Takahiro Kushida*,**, Nariaki Nishino**, and Koichi Kurumatani*

*National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
2-3-26 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan

Corresponding author

**The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

October 18, 2017
March 16, 2018
Online released:
July 3, 2018
July 5, 2018
service engineering, multi-agent simulation, lifestyle, equilibrium analysis, service ecosystem

The value of a service system should be evaluated using multiple indicators, such as company profitability, consumer satisfaction, or employee satisfaction to realize an ecosystem in society. This study examines the mechanisms of service systems with a multi-agent simulation model consisting of a company, employees, and consumers based on game theory. The proposed model is intended for a basic service business in which employees provide services to consumers directly based on their skill. In this model, first, a company player sets the price of a service and salary of employees. Then, employees decide whether to acquire resources, such as skills, with their efforts (costs) to satisfy either consumers’ needs or not. Then the employees acquire their profits (equivariant of satisfaction) not only from acquired salary but also from the reflection of consumer satisfaction. However, consumers have their needs structure, as gain tables, and decide whether and from whom to purchase. A consumer’s profit is calculated using his/her satisfaction with the service provided using a certain employee and the price paid for the service. Based on the model proposed above, we conducted a multi-agent simulation where company, employee consumer players make decision to maximize their own profits. From the basic simulation results, two convergent patterns are acquired according to the initial values of price and salary. In the second simulation, the heterogeneity of consumer needs is considered in the model based on questionnaire survey results on actual consumer behaviors related to hair salons (n=2472). With a factor analysis of 13 questionnaire items on lifestyles, four lifestyle factors are extracted. Based on the survey results, consumer players of four types are introduced into the simulation to analyze which services are selected in the service system. Through the simulation, four convergent patterns are acquired. In those patterns, consumers of different types are included according to the types of services. With those results, this paper presents a discussion of the design of a new service ecosystem through the comparison between acquired convergent solutions and existing business models.

Cite this article as:
T. Takenaka, T. Kushida, N. Nishino, and K. Kurumatani, “Equilibrium Analysis of Service Ecosystems for Labor-Intensive Services Using Multi-Agent Simulation,” Int. J. Automation Technol., Vol.12, No.4, pp. 459-468, 2018.
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Last updated on Jul. 19, 2018