CTF blog: Reflections from QUIS 182023-07-03
Per Kristensson, professor and director of CTF, shares some reflections from the international research conference QUIS18 which was held at VinUniversity in Hanoi Vietnam, June 20-23.
The 18th International Research symposium on service excellence in management (QUIS18) was organized by VinUniversity in Hanoi Vietnam, June 20-23. The main theme of the conference was “Re-imagining service to enhance human life and society”. I was one of a handful researchers that represented CTF and, on top of that, I was also representing the QUIS-conference as one of three co-chairs, Rohit Verma (VinUniversity), and Thomas Hollman (Arizona State University) being the two others.
QUIS18 was a very good and well-organised event. The atmosphere was friendly and sharing, and it should be kept in mind that there were around 150 world-renowned professors and researchers from 90 universities, representing 28 countries meeting together. The sharing, collaborative, and creative atmosphere touched upon several of the most important issues within service research right now. This regarded, for instance, smart technology in services, the future of AI and robots, not to mention chatbots. Other themes discussed was targeting sustainability and how we can better manage the ecosystems we live and operate in, and how to work in concert towards Agenda 2030. Moreover, many researchers talked about how to stimulate better health and increase the well-being among citizens. All of these are important questions and areas where our research on service can contribute.
One thing that struck me during the conference, while I met with many fellow researchers who shared what QUIS has meant to their research over the years, was that this internationally well-established biannual conference called QUIS was actually established by CTF in 1988. The first conference was organized at Karlstad University and has since then been touring the world and attracting so many people who are driving service research forward to support challenges we face in our society. Not many people probably believed this would happen when our founder Bo Edvardsson took this initiative together with some colleagues years ago.
To celebrate two of our important founding co-chairs it was decided before QUIS18 in Hanoi that we would establish two awards in honor of their accomplishments. The two awards are in the name of Professor Bo Edvardsson and Professor Mary Jo Bitner. (Arizona State University). Not only have they contributed significantly to the advancement of service research, teaching and practice, but their pioneering efforts also helped to create a vibrant service scholars’ community that now also extends beyond QUIS. Furthermore, in addition to being prolific research scholars and distinguished professors, both Professor Mary Jo Bitner and Professor Bo Edvardsson have served in editorial roles at major service journals and have shaped the scholarship of the services discipline. Both are known to be caring, encouraging, and motivating scholars that are always willing to help colleagues and Jr. scholars whenever they need help or support.
As a result, the Bo Edvardsson Award that targets scholars who have been particularly focused on industry collaboration, and the Mary Jo Bitner Award that targets emerging scholars who have made an early impression on our field, were introduced.
Three scholars, Werner Kunz, Sabine Benoit and Janet McColl-Kennedy received the Bo Edvardsson “Industry Impact in Services Award” and Keija Hu and Kaisa Koskela-Huotari received the Mary Jo Bitner “Rising Star in Services Award”.
I have attended every QUIS since my first in Karlstad which was QUIS7 held in Karlstad 1999. Of all these conferences, this year's conference struck out as very collaborative and open-minded. I also note that we today are rather distant from theories and discussions on satisfaction, how to measure loyalty or inspiring companies to earn more money. The service field is under transition and in that regard, I found Professor Steve Vargos presentation thought-provoking as he introduced it as “the death of service management”. Along these lines I expect to see more research in the future.
I will bring memories of many friendly people, great food and a lot of fun interactions with research friends from QUIS18 and look forward to QUIS19 which will take place in Rome early June 2025.
Professor and CTF director