Results of the global network of service research at CTF2017-07-04
CTF has initiated an initiative to formalize an international network of service researchers to strengthen and move the field of service research forward. Anders Gustafsson and David E. Bowen share the results from the network.
We conclude with an introduction to eight contributions of a special issue of the Journal of Business Research that are designed to identify new potential research themes in service research or areas that are under-researched in the area.
The special issue on pressing issues in service research is an outcome of a meeting of select researchers from the leading research groups around the globe. The mix of researchers was multi-disciplinary (Marketing, Design, Operations, Management) and diverse enough to potentially be both narrow and broad in perspective; both new and past in services knowledge application; and both academically rigorous and practically relevant. And, very importantly, all shared a desired to advance interdisciplinary research.
The main purpose of these meetings is to facilitate and realize collaborations that otherwise would not have happened. The process of coming up with themes for the special issue was an on-going process over a nine month period prior to the network meeting. The process entailed developing themes and testing them to determine if they were viable to create a group to develop the research. In this process, early drafts were developed and extensive literature reviews were carried out in order to be as prepared for the meeting as possible. The time during the network meeting was spent on discussing the research in pre-defined separate groups. Finally, after the network meeting, each group developed the articles that is seen in this special issue. Each of the articles has been reviewed to be as interesting and relevant as possible as encouraged by Davis (1971). The contributions in the special issue should be viewed as provocative conceptual contributions trying to point out some new directions in research.
Setting the scene for future research in service
All in all the network meeting generated eight different research contributions that follow in this special section of the journal of business research.
Benoit et., al. (2017) and Brüggen et., al. (2017) are bringing in new concepts that previously have not been addressed in service research. Benoit et., al. (2017) conceptualize an emergant form of exchange, “collaborative consumption,” and provide insights from to service research perspective. They suggest five criteria that characterize collaborative consumption: (1) there should be at least three actors involved in the transaction (a platform provider, e.g. Uber, a peer service provider, e.g. an Uber drivers and a customer), (2) the exchange is short term, (3) the matching process should be mediated through market mechanisms, (4) there is no transfer of ownership as the customer has temporal access, and, finally, (5) the customer contribution is monetary equivialent to the time of access. Benoit et., al. (2017) also develop an extensive over-view of motives, activities and resources, and capabilities of the actors involved in collaborative consumption actors. Furthermore, as this is a fairly new research area, develop recommendations for further research based on qualitative data collected from experts in the field. Brüggen et., al. (2017) brings an under-researched area; the notion of “financial well-being” into service research. They define financial well-being as the perception of being able to sustain current and anticipated desired living standards and financial freedom. Brüggen et., al. (2017) develop a new financial well-being framework including interventions, financial behavior, contextual and personal factors and the consequences of financial well-being. They also develop a research agenda to encourage more research and expand our knowledge of this societally relevant field.
Larivière et., al., (2017) and McColl-Kennedy et., al. (2017) focus on an expansion of something existing by furthering academic sense and applied effectiveness in a key fast-changing area of practice (the technology revolution in one paper; the challenges of health care effectiveness in the other)in need of better understanding for both researchers and practitioners. Larivière et., al., (2017) offer an interdisciplinary analysis of the emergent “Service Encounter 2.0” in which altered business models change the interdepent roles played by employees, technology and customers, often within multi-organization service systems. McColl-Kennedy et., al., (2017) bring two concepts – emotions and customer experience research, into a new context in this case, health care. Health care is a complex service with multiple actors involved in service provision and with the patient themselves playing an active role in this process. Health care customers (patients) experience heightened emotions due to the high stakes emerging from risks to life, health and well-being. A key contribution of this paper is a novel theoretically based conceptual framework of emotional responses following triggering events to enhance well-being in health care. Further, the authors provide recommendations designed to enhance health care customer well-being as well as directions to guide future work in this important area.
Vargo et., al. (2017) and Voorhees et., al. (2017) is trying to lift an existing phenomenon to a higher level of conceptualization, all of which can be seen as a “systems view” or a more holistic of a phenomenon. Vargo et., al. (2017) discuss the implications of a systems view on the study of markets and Voorhees et., al. (2017) applies a process view of encounters that include pre-, core, and past service encounters. Vargo et., al. (2017) suggest that systems thinking represents an increasingly important way of thinking about markets. The implication of this is a change of perspective(s) in which we focus on holistic entities that cannot be understood in separation and emphasize relationships, processes and patterns over objects, structures and quantities. Voorhees et., al. (2017) is revisting and expanding the concept of the service encounter. Customer experience at the service encounter is the key determinant of many aspect that predicts customers’ future behavior (eg. image, satisfaction, and loyalty intention). Voorhees et., al. (2017) highlight the often neglected fact that the service experience is fundamentally a process with a pre-core service encounter, a core service encounter, and a post core encounter and that they all, as a whole and separate parts, influence the evaluation of a firm’s performance. However, most of the previous research has been focused on the core service encounter; neglecting the other parts of the process. A service experience should be built as a seamless customer journey taking the whole process into consideration, and different levels of performance at various parts of the process is likely to lead to different types of customer outcomes.
Rosenbaum et., al. (2017) and Witell et., al. (2017) are taking an existing concept and re-interpret it. For example, Rosenbaum et., al. (2017) dismiss the traditionally held assumption that places are merely physical locals and in doing so, they link the place concept to the marketing-as-exchange and transformative service research paradigms. By putting forth an original framework referred to as REPLACE, the authors conceputlaize place as a repository of resources that are potentially available to consumers through exchange processes. These exchange processes, and the complexity of the offered resources, influence consumers’ relationship, or place attachment, with a consumption setting, as well as, their sense of well-being. Thus, by re-interpreting the place concept, the authors explain how places, physical and virtual, may tranform human health and even societal, or global, well-being.
Witell et., al. (2017) challenges the role of formalized new service development (NSD) processes, and propose that service innovation need to be viewed from a bricolage perspective. Existing knowledge predominantly comes from studying large firms with a relatively stable resource base, which neglect situations in which organizations face severe resource constraints. Bricolage refers to solving problems and taking advantage of opportunities by combining resources at hand. Witell et., al. (2017) propose four specific bricolage capabilities that influence service innovation outcomes in resource-constrained environment. The authors further identify potential contingencies for the impact of bricolage capabilities service innovation outcomes, thereby extending the extant knowledge on service innovation and the bricolage concept.
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Anders Gustafsson and David E. Bowen
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Anders Gustafsson is a Professor of Business Administration at the Service Research Center (www.ctf.kau.se) at Karlstad University, Sweden. Dr Gustafsson also holds a part-time position as a Professor at BI Norwegian Business School, Norway. He is conducting research on customer satisfaction and loyalty, service innovation, service infusion in manufacturing and management of customer relationships. He has published articles in journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Business Research and Industrial Marketing Management.
David E. Bowen is Faculty Emeritus, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Associate Member, Emeritus College, Arizona State University. His service research focuses on organizational behavior and human resource management issues. He received the Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award, AMA, SERVSIG, and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Service Research. He has published in journals such as Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Service Research, Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review. Also, he received the Academy of Management Review “Decade Award” in 2014 for the most-cited article published ten years prior.
Read more about the International Network of Service Reseachers here.