International network of service researchers2014-10-08
Good things always happen when influential open-minded and intelligent people meet; this is the simple underlying idea of forming an international network of service researchers.
The inaugural meeting was hosted in September by CTF.
The target audience for the event was mainly leading researchers from the different research centers around the globe and in the end there were 35 attendees from 13 countries.
- We feel that there are strength in numbers; if we are able to start to collaborate across centers this will have a major impact on the field. The turn-out was great especially given that we had put up a limit on one participant per center. The reason for the limit was that we wanted to promote and encourage networking and discussions, says Anders Gustafsson, Professor in Business Administration at CTF, and iniater of the network.
The program of the event was essentially divided in three parts. The first part of the program was focused on "what we want the network to be in the future". Parsu Parasuraman held the opening speech in which he shared his experiences from his work on forming a global research community. This was followed by an open debate led by David Bowen and Anders Gustafsson. The underlying question was "if we come back in five years what will have happened". There was quite a lively discussion around this topic but one of the common opinions was that the research area we are in is better equipped compared to many others to have a major impact on society. This could be on the overall well-being of society, health care, service for the bottom of the pyramid or a more human centered way of doing business. Other themes that were covered was how to help each other improve education and supervision of doctoral candidates, apply for funding, course development, and collect data.
The second and third part of the program were more hands-on, and used to focus on the development of the field. The task was to develop two manuscripts; one targeted Journal of Service Management and one targeted Journal of Service Marketing. The work was done in a workshop format. The first workshop was led by Rod Brodie and had as its theme theory development in service research. After an introduction of the topic the whole group was divided into six smaller groups led by Tor W Andreassen, Raymond Fisk, Anders Gustafsson, Phil Klaus, Chiara Orsingher, and Chris Voss respectively. The second workshop was led by Anders Gustafsson and followed the same format and the topic was fresh thinking in marketing. The group leaders for the smaller groups were Janet McColl-Kennedy, Lars Witell, Nancy Wünderlich, Mike Brady, and Lerzan Aksoy. The work now moves forward to develop these into full manuscripts.
- The question now is; what happens next? The first part of the event was recorded and this film will be made available as soon as possible. We have already started to hear about researchers that found a common interest and have started to work together. CTF has also started to look into the possibility to run a second event next year in order to see if we can create a yearly event that, in the end, may move around between the different research centers, says Anders Gustafsson.