Journal of Service Management

Published by Emerald
Print ISSN: 1757-5818
Publications
A sketch of area covered when identifying bus stop (c) 2012 Google -Maps  
Making sense of a bus map  
Pointing at different parts of a map while sense-making  
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore customer interactions with servicescapes and to explain in more depth the internal mechanisms that form the customer service experience. Design/methodology/approach The paper draws on an empirical study of customers using Swedish public transport systems. Data collection is based on a microethnographic approach, using think‐aloud protocols and video documentation. Findings The results from the empirical study contribute with a framework of three constellations of activities and interactions: namely, identifying, sense‐making, and using, which, depending on the empirical context, form two main customer process practices – navigating and ticketing. These constructs are theoretical and have implications for service research in the sense that they explain how customer experiences are formed. Research limitations/implications While the conceptual framework is arguably applicable also to other servicescape processes and thus has the capacity to explain how a wide range of customer experiences are formed, the study is based on one industry. Consequently, it would be worthwhile to verify this framework in different service settings. Practical implications Managers should focus on making the servicescape design intuitive, meaningful and easy to use for their customers and, depending on the empirical context, support the customer processes of finding one's way and ticketing. Originality/value The study is novel by applying a microethnographic research approach in order to provide a systematic empirical analysis of how constellations of activities and interactions in servicescape processes create customer responses and thus form the customer's service experience.
 
Illustration of managers' views of the customer satisfaction measurement system Phases Narratives from managers 
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the literature on customer orientation by developing and empirically testing a model that attempts to explain the elements that constitute customer orientation and that, in turn, influence customer satisfaction. In particular, this study focuses on how service firms design, collect, analyse and use customer-satisfaction data to improve service performance. This study has the following three research objectives: to understand the process and, as a consequence, the phases of customer orientation; to investigate the relationships between the different phases of customer orientation and customer satisfaction; and to examine activities in the different phases of customer orientation that result in higher customer satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach – This study, combining quantitative and qualitative research, is based on a cross-sectional survey of 320 service firms and a multiple case study of 20 organisational units at a large service firm in the European telecom industry. Findings – The results show that customer orientation consists of a process that includes three phases: strategy, measurement and analysis and implementation. Contrary to previous research, implementation has the strongest influence on customer satisfaction. In turn, customer satisfaction influences financial results. In-depth interviews with managers provided insights into the specific activities that are key for turning customer-satisfaction measurements into action. Originality/value – This research contributes to the literature on customer orientation by developing and empirically testing a model that attempts to explain what constitutes customer orientation and, in turn, influences customer satisfaction and financial results. Given the large amount of research on customer satisfaction, studies on how service firms collect and use customer-satisfaction data in practice are scarce.
 
A centered view of value co-creation through electronic health records
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of value co-creation in complex value networks with many actors. Electronic health records (EHRs) are innovations that warrant deep study to properly introduce such a complex system. Design/methodology/approach – The paper describes a qualitative study based on Grounded Theory to understand value co-creation from multiple actors’ perspectives in a National EHR Service Project: the Portuguese Health Data Platform. Findings – Study results enabled further development of the value co-creation concept in complex environments with multiple actors. More specifically they allowed: operationalizing the value co-creation concept by identifying its factors and outcomes, understanding how value co-creation factors and outcomes are interconnected, and understanding of how value co-creation for each actor depends on his/her own actions and the actions of other actors, in a complex set of interactions and interdependencies. Practical implications – The findings have implications for service managers seeking to understand how actors participating in the network integrate resources and interact to co-create value. The study highlights the need for designing and managing services to co-create value, not only by enabling dyadic interactions between the customer and the service provider, but also by supporting and enabling value co-creation interactions among different actors in the network. Originality/value – This study responds to the need for empirical research on value co-creation in many-to-many contexts and for operationalizing the value co-creation concept.
 
Purpose Literature is relatively sparse on describing how companies should align their determinants for service innovations with their different types of service strategies. This study seeks to explore the alignment between three types of service strategies and determinants for service innovations. Design/methodology/approach A qualitative, multi‐case research design on 12 Western European capital goods manufacturers including 24 service innovation projects was employed. The study is based on multiple sources of evidence: internal documentation of service innovation and development projects and, most importantly, interview data and participation in internal innovation workshops. Traditional inductive research methods were used to analyze the case studies. Findings These indicate that aligning service strategies with determinants for service innovations is very complex. The configurations of the determinants are associated with the innovation success. Alternative configurations of determinants can create counterproductive effects and can limit the success of service innovation projects as well as implementation of service strategies. Research limitations/implications The study is based on interviews and case studies, but the external validity (generalizability) of the alignments could not be assessed accurately. Future research would benefit from insights obtained from quantitative data. The findings supplement existing research on success factors for the service business in manufacturing companies. Practical implications The findings imply that managers contemplating a specific service strategy have to consider the service innovation and reframe the determinant for service innovations accordingly. Companies trying to implement an after‐sales service strategy should focus on a narrow range of determinants for service innovations. The resulting configurations guide managers to set up an efficient and effective service innovation management that helps them to implement their service strategy through successful service innovation project. Originality/value This empirical study shows that the configuration of determinants for service innovation differs for each service strategy. Whereas, the few similarities in determinants on service innovation are mainly other applications of existing theories on service innovation, the differences modify the existing theories.
 
Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in Journal of Service Management, published by and copyright Emerald. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss Asian hospitality and catering (H&C) human resource managers' (HRMs') perceptions of employing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected applicants and examines the treatment of HIV-infected employees in their workplaces. Design/methodology/approach – Primary data are collected from 32 English speaking Asian hospitality managers who responded to a postal questionnaire; 12 of them agree to participate in follow-up telephone interviews. Transformed raw data are analysed using both qualitative and quantitative analytical methods. Findings – Although Asian H&C HRMs are sympathetic to the plight of HIV-infected people, they maintaine that hiring HIV-infected employees incurs increased operating costs. This generally unsubstantiated claim appears to be linked to lack of understanding of the difference between HIV and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. HRMs do not appear to perceive or comprehend any benefits to be generated from hiring HIV-infected employees. Research limitations/implications – The sensitive nature of the topic, exacerbated by the Asian cultural dimension, generates only 32 respondents and, therefore, impacts on the external validity of the study. Practical implications – Asian H&C HRMs are advised to implement the recommendations and guidelines in this paper to avoid lawsuits that can arise as a result of unfair employment or treatment of HIV-infected applicants and employees. Originality/value – This exploratory study provides a platform for the discussion of some sensitive HIV-related issues in an Asian context. It also supplements the sparse literature addressing the contribution of HIV to the discrimination and stigmatisation of hospitality applicants and employees in their workplaces.
 
Purpose – Prior theoretical research focuses primarily on inauthentic emotional displays during the enactment of service roles, in the form of emotional labour, with little attention paid to factors that promote genuine emotional expressions during employees’ customer interactions. The purpose of this paper is to propose a model in which employee trust in the supervisor leads to more authentic emotional displays. Supervisors’ positive and negative affectivity constitute antecedents of this trust. Design/methodology/approach – To analyse the data, collected from supervisors and employee–customer dyads, this study used hierarchical linear modelling. Findings – Trust in the supervisor relates to authentic emotional displays in service encounters, according to both employees’ self-reports and customers’ evaluations. Supervisors’ positive affectivity relates positively to employees’ trust; trust mediates the relationship of affectivity with employees’ authentic emotional displays. Practical implications – Positive supervisor affectivity and employee trust in the supervisor influence employee authenticity, and customers notice employees’ authenticity during service encounters. Originality/value – This study advances understanding of the factors that enhance employees’ authenticity in service interactions while also contributing to understanding of the role of the supervisor in service organizations.
 
Conceptual model  
Estimated results of the relationship model  
Supplementary analysis: an alternative model  
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine relationships among job demands, job resources, burnout, organizational commitment, and staff turnover intentions in a volunteer workforce setting. Design/methodology/approach – To test empirically the positive and negative forces on the burnout – commitment – turnover relationship, this study uses 190 questionnaires collected from museum volunteers who also hold paid service jobs. The data were analysed using structural equation modelling. Findings – Consistent with previous studies, both job demands and job resources have significant impacts on burnout. Job resources have positive significant impact on organizational commitment. Both burnout and organizational commitment have significant impacts on volunteers’ turnover intentions. Research limitations/implications – An integrated understanding would require different theoretical approaches to volunteering in various settings to determine cross-influences. Moderator analyses might clarify the predictability of job demands and resources. A multilevel research design would provide further insights. Practical implications – To retain their volunteer workforce, firms should grant volunteers sufficient autonomy and allow them to determine their work processes, which not only reduces burnout but also satisfies psychological control needs. Constructive feedback from colleagues offers better organizational support to volunteers. Originality/value – This study identifies and empirically tests key indicators of job demands and job resources for volunteers who also hold paid jobs. It helps explain inconsistent reports of the burnout – organizational commitment link by raising the possibility that it is context specific rather than generic.
 
Purpose The paper aims to explore how dynamic capabilities of sensing, seizing and reconfiguring shape the way in which service business is developed in a broad range of capital goods industries. Design/methodology/approach The paper takes an interpretative multiple‐case study approach. It seeks to develop primary organizing themes around the key dynamic capabilities and support them with research propositions. Findings The findings suggest that companies either exploit or explore the opportunities when it comes to service business development. Moreover, dynamic capabilities differ between the two approaches and predict which way a company chooses. Research limitations/implications Research limitations are mainly due to the nature of qualitative research. The dynamic capabilities identified here are by no means exhaustive; rather, they indicate directions for future research. Practical implications The research findings provide guidance to managers as to how the strategic shift towards services is influenced by dynamic capabilities. Originality/value Despite difficulties associated with service business development, the literature remains relatively silent on dynamic capabilities. However, dynamic capabilities are essential to the strategic shift towards service business.
 
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine if there is a relationship between the interdependence among different components of service culture and performance. This paper also contributes to the discussion on how integrating or separating the service organization from the product organization interacts with service culture. Design/methodology/approach Data are collected through a survey and structural equation modeling is used for the data analysis. Findings The three main findings are: identified interactions among different elements of service orientation in corporate culture, the positive association between the service orientation of corporate culture and business performance, and the moderating effects of the type of organizational structure on interactions among service‐orientation elements in corporate culture. Research limitations/implications There may be alternative explanations for the correlations in the model. There are limitations in survey research in measuring service orientation in service culture. Practical implications Separating the service and product organization strengthens the creation of a service orientation in the corporate culture, but at the same time, does not affect the link between culture and performance. Originality/value The originality of the paper comes from combining service orientation in corporate culture with types of organizational structure. In addition, compared to the dominant single dimension approach to service orientation in corporate culture, four dimensions are used (service orientation of management values, management behavior, employee values, and employee behavior).
 
Purpose – Because the voice-to-technology (V2T) encounter remains under-theorised, the purpose of this paper is to overcome this gap by investigating customers use of the interactive voice response (IVR) system and “the customer journey” through the call centre service system. Design/methodology/approach – From an interpretive study of a UK call centre, the metaphorical aspects of language used to represent the service process are analysed, accompanied by an examination of how the servicescape dimensions of spatial layout and signs are constituted in the call centre service process, and the resulting implications for virtual-aural navigation. Findings – Despite no physical movement, customers represent their experience of navigating “through” the service process in spatial terms. Therefore, understanding precisely how servicescape dimensions are reconfigured within the virtual-aural setting of the call centre is necessary to appreciate customer experience of V2T but also voice-to-voice (V2V) encounters. The call centre servicescape lacks a spatial representation of layout and signs that would conventionally support navigation and purposeful movement. Research limitations/implications – Despite observing live calls, direct interaction with customers was not possible. The paper was based upon a single case study, and the hermeneutic focus on understanding and meaning meant that the study did not emphasise the quantification of phenomenon. Therefore, further research on virtual navigation is required. Practical implications – Problematic V2T encounters compromise the quality and efficiency of service provision. A visual representation of the IVR system may possibly support V2T encounters, while encouraging customer service advisors to act as “guides” during V2V encounters may reduce problems emerging from V2T encounters. Originality/value – First, an original theorisation of the customer experience of the V2T encounter is provided through the theoretical notion of spatialisation metaphors. Second, a preliminary conceptualisation of the call centre servicescape is developed, which shows how spatial layout and signs are reconfigured and represented in this virtual-aural setting.
 
Interaction effects of co-recovery and cultural background on repurchase intention 
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the underlying mechanism of customer co-creation in service recovery (co-recovery), and investigates the impact of initiation on customer post-recovery evaluations and behavioural intentions. Design/methodology/approach – Researchers used a 3 (no co-recovery vs employee-initiated co-recovery vs customer-initiated co-recovery)×2 (male vs female)×2 (western vs eastern customers) between-subject experiential study in a hotel setting. Findings – When a service employee initiates a co-recovery, customers perceive higher justice, greater satisfaction and a higher tendency to repurchase in the future. But if the customer initiates such a co-recovery, little improvement on these outcomes is found compared to a recovery entirely managed by the company. The effect was moderated by culture: western customers were more sensitive to initiation in the co-recovery process than eastern customers. Research limitations/implications – Written scenarios using a hotel setting and a technical error were used, and may reduce the applicability of the findings to real life or other service categories or types of error. Subjects used may not be representative of other population groups. Further studies using real life situations, human error and a more diverse population group are recommended. Practical implications – A positive co-recovery can be achieved by service employees taking initiatives when a problem occurs. Originality/value – This study extends previous research on co-recovery by investigating the effect of initiation by service employees on customers’ perception of co-creation. Service companies can improve customers’ post-recovery evaluations by inviting them to co-create a feasible solution, and potentially reduce the company's compensation costs.
 
Purpose – It has been suggested that the future success of non-profit organizations lies in ensuring the sustainable involvement of the Millennial generation through social network sites. Facebook is a social media (SM) network that creates new research contexts and methodologies in service management. Organizations must now engage in learning how customer-with-customer interactions in SM could work best for them. The purpose of this paper is to better understand the factors influencing Millennials support for social causes through their autonomous engagement in the public environment of SM. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted two studies of events for social causes (breast cancer and youth homelessness). In each, two Facebook event pages appealing to others-benefits and self-benefits were designed. Participants were randomly assigned the task of examining the appeal pages online. The dependent variables were two sets of intentions in support of the cause (online and offline). The effectiveness of an others-benefit vs a self-benefit Facebook appeal, the influence of empathetic identification with these causes and the direct and mediating effects of autonomous motivation was studied. Findings – The studies provide consistent evidence that, to gain Millennial's support for social causes through SM, it is better to appeal mainly to the benefits others derive than to benefits to the self. Autonomous motivation is a strong predictor of supportive intentions and it also significantly mediates the positive influence of empathetic identification with a cause. Self-reported behavioral data following the youth homelessness event provided empirical evidence that the supportive intentions data were valid predictors of actual behaviors. Originality/value – The paper used innovative experimental and correlational research methodologies to address Millennial's social behaviors within a SM context. The paper also introduced self-determination theory of motivation to this literature. From a practical standpoint, Millennials readily engage in impression management. Therefore, their supportive activities should be publicly lauded. Managers should also identify those Millennials who already empathize with the cause and facilitate their ability to influence other members in their networks. SM are changing at a fast pace and managers should employ Millennials in developing pertinent strategies and practices to keep pace. Taking advantage of marketing “with” Millennials can facilitate the development of new approaches for creating and supporting cause events.
 
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a retrospective look at the search for deep indicators that explain service performance as well as an illustrative example of this kind of work. Design/methodology/approach – The work described involved constructing a complex model, using it to predict performance, and then exploring data that helped disclose even deeper indicators. Data were collected in operating units of a single organization to ensure comparability. Findings – The primary challenges in this type of work are the availability of data and data comparability, not the availability of hypotheses or analytic techniques. Also, trust was found to be a deep indicator of performance not often identified in service management research. Research limitations/implications – The example study described requires replication within the organization studied, more sophisticated analysis, and application across service businesses. It contains numerous hypotheses requiring further validation. Originality/value – The research employs a predictive model to elicit management cooperation in the search for even deeper indicators. The paper calls for care but less caution if research in service management is to be advanced more rapidly and made more relevant for practitioners.
 
This research examines how the environmental sustainability decisions of service supply chain constituents – owners, operators and customers – impact the operating performance frontier (Schmenner and Swink 1998). We develop outcome-based environmental sustainability measures and propose a frontier framework for assessing sustainable service operations management (SSOM) using these measures. The framework is tested using a panel dataset featuring 984 U.S. hotel properties from 2001 to 2006. The findings map an improvement path via leveraging the entire service chain: engaging customers in sustainable development and improving operations to drive down resource consumption; expanding access to environmentally conscious customers; and investing in sustainable service differentiation.
 
A solutions framework.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical analysis of the literature of solutions offerings; to provide a new conceptual framework, incorporating dimensions that can distinguish between different kinds of solutions and connect their different characteristics. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes a critical review of the relevant literature, 28 contributions being identified in a search of three major databases and a range of other published work for the broader perspective, illustrated by real-world examples. Findings – There is no unanimous and rigorous definition of solutions, but rather a number of often broad and generic descriptions that could be applied to a wide array of different offerings, if not generically. Research limitations/implications – The sample of subject-specific contributions to the literature may not have been sufficient, and a wider selection of keywords to identify them might have captured a richer variety of concepts and opinions. Originality/value – This structured and critical review contributes to the literature on services and solutions, by developing a conceptual framework as a basis for future studies and current management strategy.
 
Proposed model
Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of organizational and employee-customer identification on job engagement. The paper also aims to explore the role of customer orientation in the model as a consequence of identification, in addition to an antecedent of engagement. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This study utilizes an online survey administered to Cooperative Extension employees in frontline service roles. Amos 18.0 was employed to examine the proposed structural model. Findings ‐ This study examines and finds that employee-customer identification is an important contributing factor for customer orientation and job engagement among frontline employees in service industries. The findings also reveal that customer orientation acts as an intervening effect necessary in linking organizational identification and employee-customer identification to job engagement. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study's results advance understanding and consequently reveal the importance of employee-customer identification to employee behavior. Specifically, the results underscore the prominent need for managers to build-up interpersonal connections with customers by reducing their firm's dependence on electronic storefronts in service-based encounters. The study raises issues that address the necessity for a proper medium between human connections and technology intelligence programs within service industries. Originality/value ‐ This research authenticates the need to examine a holistic identification model that includes the social outcomes of organizational identification as well as the relational impact of employee-customer identification. Furthermore, the understanding of customer orientation as it relates to relational identification is advanced.
 
Purpose – Service organizations and marketers have focussed too much of their energy on their core service's performance and too little emphasis on designing a customer journey that enhances the entire customer experience. There is nothing wrong with firms seeking continuous improvement in service quality and customer satisfaction. These efforts are needed for firms to be competitive in the marketplace. The problem occurs when performance levels and service offerings become too similar within an industry, so that price is the only competitive weapon that remains. The purpose of this paper is to argue that in order to break this deadlock, companies need to focus on the small details that make big differences to customers. Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on interviews with executives in successful service organizations. It provides an analysis of differentiation strategies in diverse service organizations across consumption contexts, nations and cultures around the world. Findings – The paper develops three research propositions and argues for radical approaches to help service organizations truly understand customers and provide service experiences that engage and delight them. The paper argues that the new challenge for marketing is to help companies find and implement these small details to make a large impact on the overall customer experience. Originality/value – In order to truly understand the customer experience, we need a holistic view of all interactions customers have with a company. We need to understand the customer-firm interactions at all touch points, that is, during search, purchase, consumption and post-consumption. Customer experience involves the customers’ cognitive, affective, emotional, social and sensory responses to the firm. The originality of this research lies in the focus on the small details that make a difference to customers during the service process rather than in the final outcome of the service performance.
 
Purpose This research aims to provide a synthesis of the normative prescriptions from the scientific literature as it relates to customer loyalty tracking and an evaluation of how close practice comes to these prescriptions. It offers a description of the landscape for how and why aspects of loyalty measurement and management converge and/or diverge. Design/methodology/approach Data is gathered through in‐depth telephone interviews with 92 senior level marketing managers across a variety of industries. Findings The overwhelming majority of firms view customer loyalty as a top strategic priority but only one in four has a formal definition of customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend are the two most tracked measures. The findings also demonstrate that few firms are relatively sophisticated in their analytics capabilities and only half examine how loyalty influences business outcomes. Research limitations/implications The current study uses single respondent per firm. Practical implications The results provide compelling evidence that managers need to determine more consciously what customer loyalty means in the context of their business. Furthermore, firms could benefit from the use of more sophisticated and advanced modelling approaches which have the potential to uncover patterns in customer data and link with business results. Originality/value This is the first study in the scientific literature that investigates how close what managers are actually doing in practice comes to scientific prescriptions for tracking and engaging with customers in an effort to engender customer loyalty.
 
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of a coordinated marketing and operations strategy in goods and service producing business organizations. Customer engagement and co-production are imperative service delivery considerations, and therefore an aligned marketing and operations strategy is essential for the formulation, development, and effectiveness of managerial decisions especially for service sector firms. Design/methodology/approach – The authors present arguments in support of this paper's primary objectives by reviewing past research that have introduced theoretical frameworks, empirical support and applications in support of the close coordination between marketing and operations strategy. The paper then describes how the inter-relationship between marketing and operations strategy impacts several managerial decisions. Findings – The paper discusses several different types of managerial decisions within goods and service producing firms that require active interaction between marketing and operations. These decisions include aligning strategic priorities, new product development, service design, and experience design. Research limitations/implications – This paper is primarily theoretical and therefore does not include any new empirical data. Practical implications – The inter-relationship between the marketing and operations functions is well known to practicing managers. However, they may not have a specific understanding of the academic research described in this paper that shows how firm performance can be further improved by better managing these interactions for specific managerial decisions. Originality/value – This paper is theoretical and provides a comprehensive review of literature and a compelling argument for including marketing and operations strategy in the corporate executive suite. Therefore, this paper should be of interest to researchers and practitioners interested in the functional areas of marketing, operations, and strategy for service organizations.
 
Purpose – Scholars identify the value proposition as representing the essence of strategy and the firm's single most important organizing principle. However, research suggests less than 10 per cent of companies formally develop value propositions. The purpose of this paper is to undertake case study research investigating the process by which leading companies develop their value propositions. Design/methodology/approach – The research identifies that the financial services and telecommunications vertical markets are viewed as the highly sophisticated industry sectors in terms of customer management. These industry sectors are selected for investigation. The paper develops case studies of two companies’ approaches to developing value propositions in the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sectors within these vertical markets. Findings – This paper contributes to the marketing literature by examining how two large and complex service enterprises have adopted structured processes for developing innovative value proposition within the B2B and B2C sectors. The authors argue that innovation in value proposition development represents a substantive opportunity for marketing to reassert its influence in the boardroom. Practical implications – This case study research provides guidelines of the processes by which enterprises can successfully develop innovative value propositions. Originality/value – This research is considered to be the first case-based academic exploration of the formal processes by which large organizations develop value propositions.
 
Purpose Loneliness and isolation are on the rise, globally threatening the well-being across age groups; global social distancing measures during the COVID-19 crisis have intensified this so-called “loneliness virus”. The purpose of this paper is to develop an integrative framework and research agenda on the role of companion robots in mitigating feelings of loneliness. Design/methodology/approach A netnographic analysis of 595 online visual and textual descriptions offer empirical insights about the role of the companion robot Vector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings The contributions of this study are twofold. First, it postulates that companion robots have the potential of mitigating feelings of loneliness (i.e. indicator of well-being). Second, this study contributes to transformative service by developing an integrative framework introducing the roles (personal assistant, relational peer and intimate buddy) that companion robots can fulfill to mitigate feelings of loneliness through building different types of supportive relationships. Research limitations/implications The proposed research agenda encourages future service scholars to investigate 1) the role of robots in addressing loneliness, 2) design features that drive adoption of robots, 3) social support for different groups, 4) the operationalization and the measurement of loneliness and 5) an impact analysis of companion robots. Practical implications Service providers and policy makers can leverage the insights about how companion robots can help reduce a sense of loneliness. Originality/value The integrative framework on loneliness reduction, based on 595 unprompted online contributions issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, offers initial evidence for the impact of companion robots in reducing people's feelings of loneliness.
 
Imposed service innovations: strategic ideal types (N 5 221) Strategic stretch
Purpose The empirical study draws on a crowdsourced database of 221 innovations associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach Aside from the health and humanitarian crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an acute economic downturn in most sectors, forcing public and private organizations to rethink and reconfigure service provision. The paper introduces the concept of imposed service innovation as a new strategic lens to augment the extant view of service innovation as a primarily discretionary activity. Findings The identified imposed service innovations were assigned to 11 categories and examined in terms of their strategic horizon and strategic stretch. The innovations are characterized by spatial flexibility, social and health outreach and exploitation of technology. Research limitations/implications As a new area of service innovation research, imposed service innovations highlight strategic issues that include the primacy of customers and the fragility of institutions. Practical implications Situations involving imposed service innovation represent opportunities for rapid business development when recognized as such. A severe disruption such as a pandemic can catalyze managerial rethinking as organizations are forced to look beyond their existing business strategies. Social implications As a strategic response to severe disruption of institutions, markets and service offerings, imposed service innovations afford opportunities to implement transformation and enhance well-being. This novel strategic lens foregrounds a societal account of service innovation, emphasizing societal relevance and context beyond the challenges of business viability alone. Originality/value While extant service innovation research has commonly focused on discretionary activities that enable differentiation and growth, imposed service innovations represent actions for resilience and renewal.
 
Purpose This research employs a transformative service lens to examine the role of the supply chain ecosystem in ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers as a well-being outcome during the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Design/methodology/approach This is a conceptual paper examining the response of the supply chain to the current food crisis caused by the pandemic. Findings Based on the service-dominant logic (SDL) paradigm, the COVID-19 examination of the supply chain ecosystem provides a foundation for further research employing a transformative lens. Research limitations/implications The COVID-19 situation is primarily explored from a Western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic (WEIRD) societies’ context. Future research should explore the applicability of the transformative service lens to other societies. Practical implications The conceptual discussion and research agenda provide direction for researchers, practitioners and policymakers towards a transformative supply chain ecosystem. Originality/value This research includes the well-being of employees and customers in the service supply chain outcome measures, draws supply chain management into the TSR domain, while also solidifies a service ecosystem perspective of supply chain management.
 
Purpose Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created a challenging, yet opportunistic, environment in which to conduct transformative service research (TSR) and assess research methodology. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and gain important new insights of a group interviewing method with vulnerable people and their support group, adapted and transferred online during COVID-19. Design/methodology/approach This research examines the experiences of 35 participants (nine family groups composed of parents and young people), involved in a research project that explores a sensitive topic, youth alcohol consumption and family communication, that was moved online during lockdown. Researcher reflections on running group interviews face-to-face prior to COVID- 19 and online during lockdown are included in the data. Findings Thematic analysis of participant interviews and researcher reflections reveals four key benefits and three limitations of online group interviews with vulnerable people and their support group. The benefits include being comfortable, non-intrusive and safe; engaging and convenient; online communication ease and easy set-up. The limitations relate to lack of non-verbal communication, poor set-up, and privacy and access issues. Practical implications The global environment is uncertain and being able to implement effective qualitative research online is essential for TSR and service research in the future. This paper provides a step by step procedure for an innovative online group interviewing technique that can be used by TSR and qualitative service researchers. Originality/value Conducting research during a pandemic has provided unprecedented insights into qualitative research approaches and methodology. This paper contributes to literature on service and TSR methodology by providing a framework for researchers to investigate vulnerable groups online in an effective, safe and non-intrusive way. The framework also has the potential to be applied to other service contexts.
 
Purpose The Covid-19 pandemic has a strong effect on societies, business and consumers. Governments have taken measures to reduce the spread of the pandemic, such as social distancing and lockdowns. The latter has also resulted in a temporary closure of physical stores for “non-essential” retailing. Covid-19 thus has a profound impact on how people live. The period of relative isolation, social distancing and economic uncertainty changes the way we behave. New consumer behaviors span all areas of life, from how we work to how we shop to how we entertain ourselves. These shifts have important implications for retailers. This paper aims to discuss the potential structural effect on shopping behavior and retailing when Covid-19 measures are no longer needed and society moves back to a normal situation. Design/methodology/approach The paper synthesizes empirical and conceptual literature on the consequences of COVID-19 and introduces a conceptual framework along with a set of predictions that can be investigated with empirical data. Findings This study suggests that Covid-19 shapes both consumer needs and behavior and how retailers respond to these changes. Moreover, it suggests that this will not only affect market outcomes (i.e. retail sales and market share online) but also firm outcomes (i.e. customer experience, firm sales) and importantly the competition between online and offline retailers. Originality/value In the conceptual framework, this study aims to advance knowledge on longer-term outcomes (vs immediate outcomes such as panic buying) and how COVID-19 is changing the competitive landscape of retail.
 
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop a deeper understanding of the new service development (NSD) research field. It addresses its scientific production, social and intellectual structures, and maturity. Design/methodology/approach This study uses a bibliometric-based literature review. Quantitative and qualitative analyses are performed on a sample of 277 NSD articles (published from 1984 to 2014). These articles are organized into four periods to improve the analyses from an evolutionary perspective: Early Writings (1984-1995), Advancing of Literature (1996-2001), Progressive Literature (2002-2008), and Recent Works (2009-2014). Findings The scientific production in the NSD field has grown significantly over these four periods, and the entry of new authors has extended the social structure. However, collaboration networks seem disconnected from one another. Nonetheless, the intellectual structure has shown great progress, making NSD an independent area of research and discovery from the new product development domain, with its own foundations and expansions into new topics. Although the NSD research field has not yet reached maturity, it is consistently moving toward it. Originality/value This study delivers a multiperspective view of research on NSD using a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach. It provides new insights into the discussion of the field’s maturity and can be used as a roadmap for academics and practitioners who would like to understand the state of existing knowledge and are looking for research opportunities.
 
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to characterize and discuss the collaborative network formed by researchers that published about services in the top journals in Operations, Marketing, and Human Resources Management, and provide further comparison with major Service journals. Design/methodology/approach The method used was designed documentary research using papers published in the top three relevant international journals specific to Operations, Marketing, and Human Resources from 1995 to 2010. Papers were selected using a search of the ABI/Inform Global (Proquest) database on the word “service” in the title, abstract, or keywords. Additionally, it included two major Service journals. A total of 1,481 papers and 2,457 authors composed the Social Network Analysis (SNA). Findings The co‐authorship network revealed that the social structure is highly fragmented. However, its main component can be classified as “small world”, indicating that authors are connected to others outside their group through a small number of intermediaries. This type of structure is favorable both to knowledge flow and development. Practical implications The results may be valuable to the community of researchers interested in the theme of Services, as well as in the fields of Operations, Marketing, and Human Resources to identify researchers and research groups. Thus, it can serve as guidance for publishers, colleges, and companies in the search for scholars in the service subject. Originality/value The paper uses SNA to investigate the interaction/collaboration of co‐authors using authorship as the unit of analysis.
 
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to introduce the special issue of the Journal of Service Management dedicated to the Thought Leadership in Services Conference held in Brisbane Australia in 2017. The paper also explores the disruptive and transformative role that technology is set to play over the next 30 years. Design/methodology/approach The paper provides a brief summary of the papers within the special issue. The paper also introduces a conceptual framework identifying four quadrants that reflect different combinations of human touch and technology. This framework is used to examine the treatment of technology in the eight papers. Findings While it is clear that technology is having a profound impact on service, and is contributing to major changes within the eight service domains captured by the papers in the special issue; there were significant differences observed across the eight papers in the special issue. From the associated discussion, it is clear that the humanistic paradigm is still dominant within services, even though there is strong evidence that a shift is occurring. Originality/value This paper extends earlier work exploring the infusion of technology within services to highlight the progress from a humanistic paradigm to a technology-centric paradigm.
 
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to challenge service researchers to design for service inclusion, with an overall goal of achieving inclusion by 2050. The authors present service inclusion as an egalitarian system that provides customers with fair access to a service, fair treatment during a service and fair opportunity to exit a service. Design/methodology/approach Building on transformative service research, a transformative, human-centered approach to service design is proposed to foster service inclusion and to provide a platform for managerial action. This conceptual study explores the history of service exclusion and examines contemporary demographic trends that suggest the possibility of worsening service exclusion for consumers worldwide. Findings Service inclusion represents a paradigm shift to higher levels of understanding of service systems and their fundamental role in human well-being. The authors argue that focused design for service inclusion is necessary to make service systems more egalitarian. Research limitations/implications The authors propose four pillars of service inclusion: enabling opportunity, offering choice, relieving suffering and fostering happiness. Practical implications Service organizations are encouraged to design their offerings in a manner that promotes inclusion and permits customers to realize value. Originality/value This comprehensive research agenda challenges service scholars to use design to create inclusive service systems worldwide by the year 2050. The authors establish the moral imperative of design for service inclusion.
 
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore what drives customer acceptance of frontline service robots (FSR), as a result of their interaction experiences with FSR in the context of retail banking services. Design/methodology/approach Applications of the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology and service robot acceptance model frame the exploration of customers’ interaction experiences with physical FSR to explain acceptance. A thematic analysis of information obtained through observations, focus groups and participant interviews was applied to identify themes. Findings This study identifies 16 dimensions that group into five main themes that influence customer acceptance of FSR in retail banking services: (1) utilitarian aspect, (2) social interaction, (3) customer responses toward FSR, (4) customer perspectives of the company brand and (5) individual and task heterogeneity. Themes 1 and 2 are labeled confirmed themes based on existing theoretical frameworks used; themes 3–5 are additional themes. Practical implications This study provides actionable suggestions to allow managers to reflect on their strategy and consider ways to design and improve the delivery of services that involve FSR. Originality/value This study adds to our limited knowledge of how human-robot interaction research in robotics translates to a relatively new research area in frontline services and provides a step toward a comprehensive FSR acceptance model.
 
Purpose Social media encourage interactions between customers and brands. Concerning the cues utilized during social media interactions, verbal cues (i.e. the language used) gain importance, since non-verbal and paraverbal cues are hard to convey via social media. Looking at interpersonal interactions, interlocutors adopt each other’s language styles or maintain their own language style during interactions to build trust. Transferring these insights to social media, the purpose of this paper is to test the effects of a brand’s language style accommodation in brand-customer interactions on brand trust and on its antecedents. Design/methodology/approach Two quantitative pre-studies (n1 (questionnaire)=32, n2 (laboratory experiment)=199), and one quantitative main study (n3 (laboratory experiment)=427) were conducted to determine the effects of a brand’s language style accommodation on brand trust. Findings In line with communication accommodation theory, this paper reveals that the impact of a brand’s accommodation strategy on brand trust is mediated by perceived relationship investments, such as perceived interaction effort, benevolence, and quality of interaction. This paper also underscores language style’s roles and its fit, and sheds light on situational factors such as purchase decision involvement and the valence of the content. Originality/value This paper is the first to transfer cross-disciplinary theories on interpersonal interactions to brand-customer interactions in social media. Thus, the authors derive the effects of language style accommodation on brand trust as well as further mediating effects.
 
Purpose The purpose of this study is to identify, analyze and explain the ethical implications that can result from the datafication of service. Design/methodology/approach This study uses a midrange theorizing approach to integrate currently disconnected perspectives on technology-enabled service, data-driven business models, data ethics and business ethics to introduce a novel analytical framework centered on data-driven business models as the general metatheoretical unit of analysis. The authors then contextualize the framework using data-intensive insurance services. Findings The resulting midrange theory offers new insights into how using machine learning, AI and big data sets can lead to unethical implications. Centered around 13 ethical challenges, this work outlines how data-driven business models redefine the value network, alter the roles of individual actors as cocreators of value, lead to the emergence of new data-driven value propositions, as well as novel revenue and cost models. Practical implications Future research based on the framework can help guide practitioners to implement and use advanced analytics more effectively and ethically. Originality/value At a time when future technological developments related to AI, machine learning or other forms of advanced data analytics are unpredictable, this study instigates a critical and timely discourse within the service research community about the ethical implications that can arise from the datafication of service by introducing much-needed theory and terminology.
 
Purpose Health care delivery is experiencing a multi-faceted epidemic of suffering among patients and care providers. Compassion is defined as noticing, feeling and responding to suffering. However, compassion is typically seen as an individual rather than a more systemic response to suffering and cannot match the scale of the problem as a result. The authors develop a model of a compassion system and details its antecedents (leader behaviors and a compassionate human resource (HR) bundle), its climate or the extent that the organization values, supports and rewards expression of compassion and the behaviors and practices through which it is enacted (standardization and customization) and its effects on efficiently reducing suffering and delivering high quality care. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a conceptual approach that synthesizes the literature in health services, HR management, organizational behavior and service operations to develop a new conceptual model. Findings The paper makes three key contributions. First, the authors theorize the central importance of compassion and a collective commitment to compassion (compassion system) to reducing pervasive patient and care provider suffering in health care. Second, the authors develop a model of an organizational compassion system that details its antecedents of leader behaviors and values as well as a compassionate HR bundle. Third, the authors theorize how compassion climate enhances collective employee well-being and increases standardization and customization behaviors that reduce suffering through more efficient and higher quality care, respectively. Originality/value This paper develops a novel model of how health care organizations can simultaneously achieve efficiency and quality through a compassion system. Specific leader behaviors and practices that enable compassion climate and the processes through which it achieves efficiency and quality are detailed. Future directions for how other service organizations can replicate a compassion system are discussed.
 
Purpose Institutional arrangements for collaborative purposes have gained increasing attention within research on service ecosystems. For collaborations to be effective, actors need to undertake institutional work that will result in new institutional arrangements. When institutional work takes place across service ecosystems, actors may be confronted with non-harmonious or conflicting institutional arrangements, which need to be reconciled by translating the incompatible views of diverse ecosystems. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of boundary objects as a means of facilitating institutional work across ecosystems, and present their mechanism in undertaking institutional work. Design/methodology/approach Longitudinal qualitative interviews were conducted with three key actors (funding agency, service provider and clinicians) in providing home-based support services (HBSS). The data were analyzed by undertaking a thematic analysis of the transcripts, which helped to identify the actors’ views on the nature of HBSS and its impact as a boundary object within the implementation of the case-mix system, and thus to empirically illustrate the theoretical assumptions. Findings The data assisted in the creation of a conceptualization that maps out the process of boundary objects facilitating (disrupting and creating) institutional work. This study supports that boundary objects disrupt boundaries between actors’ ecosystems, which was a sufficient condition to dismantle institutional support for the practices of individual fields. Furthermore, the object has changed the type and extent of interaction between actors in an ecosystem to allow these actors to redefine their identity and role in the new institutional arrangement. Originality/value This work has developed a novel conceptualization for a boundary object-led translation process in facilitating institutional work. To the researchers’ knowledge, this is the first study to explore the processes and mechanisms of boundary objects in facilitating institutional work across ecosystems.
 
Purpose The extant new service development (NSD) literature tends to assume that the key practices for NSD identified in one context apply for all services, and has failed to sufficiently consider differences in NSD between service types. The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of NSD across different service types. Design/methodology/approach An extensive, cross-sectoral survey was conducted in seven countries. Data from 1,333 NSD projects were analyzed to empirically derive a service typology and examine if and how different types of services vary in terms of NSD resources, practices, methods, and results. Findings Based on six service characteristics, the study identifies four service types: routine-intensive, technology-intensive, contact-intensive, and knowledge-intensive services. The study also identifies specific NSD resources, practices, methods, and results that are prevalent across the service typology. The evidence indicates that the use of advanced practices and methods differs dramatically between service types. Practical implications The paper enables practitioners to expand their current understanding on NSD by providing insights into the variability of NSD across service types. The results suggest that either service-type-specific models or a configurable model for NSD should be developed. Originality/value This study provides one of the first empirically derived service typologies for NSD. The study demonstrates that NSD resources, practices, methods, and results differ across service types, thereby challenging the “one size fits all” assumption evident in current NSD research.
 
Top-cited authors
Thorsten Gruber
  • Loughborough University
A Parsu Parasuraman
  • University of Miami
Jochen Wirtz
  • National University of Singapore
Lars Witell
  • Linköping University
Ruth N Bolton
  • Arizona State University