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Service Disciplines and References

“Service Disciplines” are (traditional) disciplines that have an interest in and contribution to service science. The following is an incomplete list, including and indication of what the discipline contributes to Service Science.

The articles listed below are candidates for “essential reading” in services as part of the SSME certification program. As such, they should exhibit the following characteristics:

  1. On relatively general topics – topics with broad applicability across a wide range of “services.”
  2. Reasonably time-tested. New theories, even those that gain much attention, risk representing fads.
  3. Written for general readership. The articles should have minimal domain-specific jargon and be approachable by an educated reader from outside of the discipline.
  4. Impactful. We are looking for articles that have had an impact on the study of services, either within a discipline or, even better, in general. Article citations is one measure of impact, but not the only measure.

Services Marketing

The marketing discipline has a strong customer focus. Services marketing focuses primarily on the customer experience, including was of assessing and assuring customer satisfaction.

The following are essential transdisciplinary models coming from services marketing:

  1. Service Blueprinting is the popular form of service flowcharting that organizes a service process according to customer action, customer interaction, employee action, and support functions1). An essential element is a separation of the front-stage process steps perceived by customers from back-stage process steps that are isolated from customer interaction. This ties handily with Chase's Customer Contact model (listed below under OM models) which describes different objectives and operating characteristics between front- and back-stage processes.
  2. SERVQUAL (SERVice QUALity) instrument/model2). This frequently cited and applied model measures service quality as a function of the differential between customer perceptions of service performance and customer expectations. It considers 22 dimensions in five categories. Because of the differential, it is considered to be a “gap model” though there is a more general gap model…
  3. The Gap Model of service quality3). This model considers five potential gaps between expected service, perceived service, external communication, service quality specifications, and management perceptions of customer expectations. (SERVQUAL primarily measures gap 5, but can be modified to measure other gaps.)
  4. Lovelock and Gummesson's Rental/access paradigm is a perspective which recognizes that services tend to be business systems wherein customers pay for access to service facilities4). It is thus closely related to the non-ownership concept espoused by Judd5). The rental/access paradgim emphasizes the significance of the time element of service paradigm.
  5. An important historical perspective on services marketing is IHIP, which describes four major characteristics of services (below) that have been recently refuted in the research literature6)7)8):
    • Intangibility: incapable of being perceived, especially by the perception of touch (physical intangibility and mental intangibility described above).
    • Heterogeneity: unique products (or possibly unique processes).
    • Inseparability: (also called “simultaneity” or “simultaneous production and consumption”)—consumed at the point of production.
    • Perishability: discussed in two dimensions: (1) perishable products, meaning that the process output provides customer benefits for a limited duration, and (2) perishable capacity, in that capacity without corresponding demand cannot be utilized to meet future demand.

Service Operations Management

The operations management discipline largely focuses on the performance of production processes in terms of quality, efficiency, productivity, and the ability to satisfy customers. Service operations considers the design and delivery of services to accomplish various operational objectives.

The following are essential transdisciplinary models coming from operations management:

  1. The I/O (input/output) resource transformation model. This I/O model is perhaps the most fundamental model of production and operations management. It considers production processes to be systems for transforming inputs (from suppliers) into outputs (going to customers) in way that adds value (i.e., is more suited to filling real needs of customers than otherwise available to customers). The service manifestations of the I/O model is called the Unified Services Theory (UST), which identifies customers as not only consumers of outputs, but also providers of essential process inputs. For an overview of the UST, see Sampson and Froehle's 2006 article "Foundations and Implications of a Proposed Unified Services Theory" or Sampson's 2001 book Understanding Service Businesses: Applying Principles of the Unified Services Theory published by Wiley.
  2. Chase’s Customer Contact Model. 9)10) This seminal model holds that the potential operating efficiency of a firm will be a function of the inverse of the percent of production time involving customer contact. Other researchers had extended and honed the model by more precisely defining “customer contact.” The model is valuable in many dimensions. For one, it describes the spectrum of services that exist on a continuum from “quazi-manufacturing” to “pure services.” For another, it models the relationship between front-stage services and back-stage supporting operations. Also, it ties levels of customer contact to essential operational decisions pertaining to the facility, scheduling, etc.
  3. Schmenner’s Service Process Matrix 11)– relates sources of variation (customization and interaction) with delivery requirements (labor intensity). Among other things, this important model illustrates how the ability to automate (replace labor with automation) is determined to a large extent by the amount of customization and customer interaction involved in the service offering. Schmenner shows how firms can strategically move “off the diagonal” for competitive advantage.
  4. Heskett's et al Service Profit Chain12). This is an important model that links internal quality to external quality and ultimately to customer loyalty. It is a very pragmatic model, emphasizing that it is foolhardy to focus on customer satisfaction without simultaneously considering and developing operational capability and service culture.

References and hopefully PDF files forthcoming.

Human Resource Management

The HRM discipline focuses on… (David, what can you write here).

Service Oriented Architecture (software engineering)

Service oriented architecture (SOA) is a paradigm for information systems development that focuses on providing “loosely coupled services.” SOA allows systems to be much more modular than under a traditional software-tools approach.

Industrial Psychology


others... (Jim, where is your list?)

please expand.

1) Shostack, G. L. 1987. Service Positioning through Structural Change. Journal of Marketing, 51(1), 34-43.
2) Parasuraman, A., V. A. Zeithaml, L. L. Berry. 1988. SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality. Journal of Retailing, 64(1), 12-40.
3) Parasuraman, A., V. A. Zeithaml, L. L. Berry. 1985. A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. Journal of Marketing, 49(4), 41.
4) , 6) Lovelock, C., E. Gummesson. 2004. Whither Services Marketing? In Search of a New Paradigm and Fresh Perspectives. Journal of Service Research, 7(1), 20-41.
5) Judd, R. C. 1964. The case for redefining services. Journal of Marketing, 28(1), 58.
7) Vargo, S. L., R. F. Lusch. 2004. The Four Service Marketing Myths: Remnants of a Goods-Based, Manufacturing Model. Journal of Service Research, 6(4), 324.
8) Laroche, M., J. Bergeron, C. Goutaland. 2001. A three-dimensional scale of intangibility. Journal of Service Research, 4(1), 26.
9) Chase, R. B. 1981. The Customer Contact Approach to Services: Theoretical Bases and Practical Extensions. Operations Research, 29(4), 698-706.
10) Chase, R. B., D. A. Tansik. 1983. The Customer Contact Model for Organization Design. Management Science, 29(9), 1037-1050.
11) Schmenner, R (1986), “How can service businesses survive and prosper?”, Sloan Management Review, pp.21-32.
12) Heskett, J. L., T. O. Jones, G. W. Loveman, W. E. J. Sasser, L. A. Schlesinger. 1994. Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work. Harvard Business Review, 72(2), 164-174.

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