Research

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The following are some of Dr. Sampson’s research articles pertaining to service design and innovation.
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Foundational articles

Dr. Sampson’s 2015 article outlining important concepts pertaining to value.  It received the 2015 Service Science Best Article Award.

  • Article: Sampson, S. E. (2015). Value paradoxes and the time value of value. Service Science, 7(3), 149-162.
  • Abstract...
    Neoclassical economics equates the concept of value with utility, which is estimated from measures of stated or revealed preferences for various offerings. Value is typically represented by concepts such as willingness to pay (WTP) and gross domestic product (GDP). However, researchers have uncovered a number of paradoxes that demonstrate how preferences and WTP often have surprisingly weak correlations with important outcomes such as subjective well-being (SWB). In simple terms, what people think will make them happy often does not make them happy, suggesting that neoclassical conceptualizations of value may be flawed, or at least shortsighted. We review value paradoxes pertaining to GDP, income, labor, and preferences. We explain the paradoxes through a model that delineates related yet distinct manifestations of value: value potential (a stochastic forecast of future changes in SWB) and value realization (actual changes in SWB). Value realization is shown to have transitory and persistent components. We model the relationship between value potential and value realization with a time value of value equation and describe how the value paradoxes can be explained by flaws in affective forecasting. The time value model uses neoclassical and happiness economic literature to explain how value is transitory, stochastic, and multidimensional.
  • Download…(187KB PDF file)

Dr. Sampson’s 2012 article introducing PCN Analysis.

  • Article: Sampson, S. E. (2012). Visualizing Service Operations. Journal of Service Research, 15(2), 182-198.
  • Abstract...
    Service operations management (SOM) has a rich history of important but not widely recognized contributions to research and practice. There also seems to be some uncertainty about how SOM fits in the broader fields of operations management and ser- vice management. This article addresses those concerns by introducing a visual framework called Process-Chain-Network (PCN) Analysis. The framework is built upon PCN Diagrams that depict processes and interactions involving networks of entities. PCN Analysis includes identifying the value proposition of a given process network, assessing performance characteristics and value propositions of a process configuration, and identifying opportunities for process improvement and innovation. The PCN frame- work clarifies fundamental concepts of SOM, demonstrates how SOM fits in broader contexts of business management, illuminates managerial insights of SOM and related disciplines, and provides a basis for future SOM research.
  • Download…(153KB PDF file) – Download Japanese translation…(335KB PDF file)

The Sampson and Froehle 2006 article on the Unified Service Theory, a scientific basis for understanding service businesses.

  • Article: Sampson, S. E., Froehle, C. M. (2006). Foundations and Implications of a Proposed Unified Services Theory. Production and Operations Management, 15(2), 329-343.
  • Abstract...
    Diverse businesses, such as garbage collection, retail banking, and management consulting are often tied together under the heading of “services”, based on little more than a perception that they are intangible and do not manufacture anything. Such definitions inadequately identify managerial and operational implications common among, and unique to, services. We present a “Unified Services Theory” (UST) to clearly delineate service processes from non-service processes and to identify key commonalities across seemingly disparate service businesses. The UST defines a service production process as one that relies on customer inputs; customers act as suppliers for all service processes. Non-services (such as make-to-stock manufacturing) rely on customer selection of outputs, payment for outputs, and occasional feedback, but production is not dependent upon inputs from individual customers. The UST reveals principles that are common to the wide range of services and provides a unifying foundation for various theories and models of service operations, such as the traditional “characteristics of services” and Customer Contact Theory. The UST has significant operational corollaries pertaining to capacity and demand management, service quality, services strategy, and so forth. The UST provides a common reference point to which services management researchers can anchor future theory-building and theory-testing research.
  • Download…(153KB PDF file)

A foundational article on service theory…

  • Article: Sampson, S. E. (2000). Customer-supplier duality and bidirectional supply chains in service organizations. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 11(4), 348-364.
  • Abstract...
    Supply chains are quite easy to define for manufacturing organizations where each participant in the chain receives inputs from a set of suppliers, processes those inputs, and delivers them to a distinct set of customers. With service organizations, one of the primary suppliers of process inputs is customers themselves, who provide their bodies, minds, belongings, or information as inputs to the service processes. We refer to this concept of customers being suppliers as “customer-supplier duality.” The duality implies that service supply chains are bidirectional, which is that production flows in both directions. This article explores the customer-supplier duality as it pertains to supply chain management, including practical and managerial implications.
  • Download…(463KB PDF file)

Other important articles…

Dr. Sampson’s 2021 article on the potential impact of technology on professional services, including a discussion of the limits of AI in professional services.

  • Article:  Sampson, Scott E. (2021). A Strategic Framework for Task Automation in Professional Services. Journal of Service Research, 24(1), 122-140.
  • Abstract...
    Professional service jobs exist at the high end of the skill ladder; thus, some have assumed that highly trained professional workers are relatively immune to being replaced by automation. However, this assumption is a bit dubious because automation does not occur at the job level but rather at the task level, and some tasks within a professional job might be highly susceptible to automation disruption. This research builds on prior research by (1) empirically testing a model for automation of professional services and (2) developing a professional task-automation framework that shows how individual tasks within a given job can be enhanced or disrupted by automation in very different ways. Some tasks are augmented by automation and remain in the purview of professionally trained workers. Other tasks are deskilled by automation, allowing the tasks to be transferred to lower cost workers (who are aided by automation). Other tasks are moved directly to customers through self-service technologies, reducing or eliminating the need to interact with professionals or other workers. Finally, some professional tasks are centralized, which leverages professional workers’ distinctive expertise. Our framework shows precipitating conditions for each task-automation strategy and outlines logic for reconfiguring tasks within professional service systems.
  • Download…(396KB PDF file)

Dr. Sampson’s 2020 article co-authored with Dick Chase, updating Professor Chase’s foundational Customer Contact model to the realm of a digital world

  • Article: Sampson, Scott E., and Chase, Richard B. (2020). Customer Contact in a Digital World. Journal of Service Management, 31(6), pp. 1061-1069.
  • Abstract...
    • Purpose – The customer contact approach to service has been at the core of service theory since the 1970s. It suggests that the potential operating efficiency of a service is inversely related to the extent of customer contact with the provider’s operations and that various service design issues are dictated by the presence or absence of customer contact. The purpose of this article is to reevaluate the customer contact approach in light of advanced digital technologies.
    • Design/methodology/approach – The authors review the origins and history of the customer contact approach and show ways it has been refined in research literature. From that they demonstrate how the refined approach can be applied to contemporary conditions.
    • Findings – Recent advances in digital technologies have indeed required us to revise our conceptualization of customer contact. There is now a blurring between front-office and back-office operations. Emerging technologies are allowing customers to have high-contact experiences with low-contact efficiencies.
    • Research limitations/implications – Going forward, conceptualizations of customer contact are becoming increasingly complex and requiring increasingly complex models. Armed with self-service technologies, customers are able to permeate the “buffered core” of service businesses. Artificial intelligence and anthropomorphic devices have further blurred the distinction between front-office and back-office operations. Research will need to consider new forms of technology-enabled customer contact.
    • Practical implications – Customer contact is no longer limited to interpersonal interactions and the relationships between service providers and customers are increasingly complex. Customers may interact with automated service providers, or service providers may interact with customer technologies. New forms of customer contact may not involve humans at all, but instead involve technologies interacting with technologies.
    • Originality/value – The customer contact approach to service was one of the original models of service design. By revisiting and revising the model we bring it in-line with the realities of the contemporary service economy.
  • Download…(94KB PDF file)

An article applying PCN Analysis to Healthcare

  • Article: Sampson, S. E., Schmidt, G., Gardner, J. W., & Van Orden, J. (2015). Process coordination within a health care service supply network. Journal of Business Logistics, 36(4), 355-373.
  • Abstract...
    There are two manifestations of supply chains in health care. One involves the supply of equipment and materials used in health care delivery. The other supply chain involves the delivery of health care itself, wherein patients supply their physical conditions and service suppliers deliver health care services. This article considers the latter supply chain, analyzing a case study in which patients have comorbidities and thus require the services of a network of multiple health care providers. In the case study, we examine three schemes for coordination of care. In the first scheme, the patient herself is expected to manage the coordination. In the second scheme, physicians are expected to coordinate the care. In the third scheme, a third-party coordinator manages care across network members. We examine these three possible coordination alternatives using a technique known as Process-Chain-Network (PCN) Analysis. PCN Analysis helps us document how coordination schemes are implemented and where they may fail. Our analysis of the case study leads us to the development of ex post theory about who should initiate coordination and how it should take place under conditions of comorbidities. Empirical data coming from the case study support the theory. We describe possible applications of the theory inside and outside of health care, and show how the PCN approach can guide process innovation.
  • Download…(1062KB PDF file)

Sampson and Money’s 2015 article on Global Services

  • Article: Sampson, S. E. & Money, R. B. (2015). Modes of customer co-production for international service offerings. Journal of Service Management, 26(4), 625-647.
  • Abstract...
    Much has been written about the manifestations and managerial implications of customer co-production in service offerings. However, there have been relatively few references to issues of co-production in international service environments. Co-production is very relevant in international environments because of the requirements for interaction between producers and consumers, which interaction spans international borders and national cultures. The purpose of this paper is to apply an established theory of co-production, the Unified Service Theory (UST), to the international service context. This provides the authors with structured models for conceptualizing the co-productive nature of international service offerings and assessing-related managerial implications.
  • Download…(394KB PDF file)

The Sampson and Spring article on changing customer roles to achieve Service Supply Chain innovation.

  • Article: Sampson, S. E., & Spring, M. (2012). Customer Roles in Service Supply Chains and Opportunities for Innovation. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 48(4), 30-50.
  • Abstract...
    This article conceptualizes service supply chains according to the Unified Service Theory, which defines services as bidirectional supply chains that have customers both providing resources to and receiving resources from service providers. We establish how eight traditional roles in manufacturing supply chains are assumed by customers in service supply chains. Those service–customer roles include component supplier, labor, design engineer, production manager, product, quality assurance, inventory, and competitor. We describe how these eight roles are manifested in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business service contexts. We confirm the distinctiveness of these eight customer roles through an initial empirical study and show how the roles are manifested across different types of services. We then demonstrate how these distinctive customer roles can form the basis for service supply chain innovation.
  • Download…(364KB PDF file)

Their fundamental article that introduces perspectives on Service Supply Chains…

  • Article: Sampson, S. E., & Spring, M. (2012). Service Supply Chains: Introducing the special topic forum. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 48(4), 3-7.
  • Abstract...
    This article introduces the Special Topic Forum (STF) on Service Supply Chains (SSC). A fundamental purpose of the STF is to more clearly define the field of SSC research and to provide conceptual foundations, as well as empirical observations. A review of SSC literature shows three perspec- tives of SSC research that correspond to the source-make-deliver processes from the well-known supply chain operations reference (SCOR) model. The STF contains articles that assume each of the three SSC perspectives: sourcing of services, making services, and services involved in product delivery. A fourth paper introduces a newer perspective in which the cus- tomer is the center of a network of interrelated service providers. This STF can serve as a springboard for future SSC research.
  • Download…(294KB PDF file)

Comparing the Unified Service Theory perspective to Service-Dominant Logic (SDL)…

  • Article: Sampson, S. E., Menor, L. J., & Bone, S. A. (2010). Why We Need a Service Logic: A Comparative Review. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 15(3), 17-32.
  • Abstract...
    This paper considers perspectives of service that define what has been called service logic. We review two contemporary service logics and compare them in terms of strategic and managerial insights. The first is the Service-Dominant Logic of Marketing, which provides a prescriptively interesting “theory of the firm,” but not a descriptively pragmatic or informative “theory of strategy.” In other words, it suggests why organizations exist without meaningfully directing managerial decisions and actions pertaining to the provision of service outcomes. It also absorbs all economic activity into the realm of “service,” thus reducing or eliminating the ability to distinguish managerial insights along a service/non-service dimension. The second is the Unified Service Theory, which explicitly discriminates between service and non-service activities, and prescribes managerial approaches that are unique to each. We introduce a strategic application that we call Process DNA, which posits that firms? value realization efforts are composed of sequences of processes. Some processes (service processes) involve interaction between firms and customers, and other processes (non-service processes) are decoupled. Firms can gain strategic advantage by altering the arrangement of interactive and decoupled processes within a process sequence.
  • Download…(300KB PDF file)

Learn how to direct service quality improvement and innovation using customer feedback…

  • Sampson, S. E. (1999). An Empirically Defined Framework for Designing Customer Feedback Systems. Quality Management Journal, 6(3), 64-80.
  • Abstract...
    It may seem obvious that companies should require a return on investments in customer feedback systems. Collecting and analyzing customer feedback costs time and money, but often the return or impact on the bottom line is not clear. This study discusses the customer feedback investment, and presents a framework for utilizing customer feedback to advance quality at various parts of an organization—consistent with the total quality management idea. The framework begins by identifying goals and objectives for customer feedback systems, which lead to issues of instrument design, feedback solicitation methods, and data analysis and use. Within the framework, illustrations are presented from an extensive field study of feedback instruments in actual use. This study is intended to serve as a reference to managers and students of management interested in developing customer feedback systems that make a definite contribution to quality management efforts.
  • Download…(119KB PDF file)

This article lays a map for study of New Service Development (NSD)…

  • Menor, L. J., Tatikonda, M. V., & Sampson, S. E. (2002). New service development: Areas for exploitation and exploration. Journal of Operations Management, 20(2), 135.
  • Abstract...
    The management of new service development (NSD) has become an important competitive concern in many service industries. However, NSD remains among the least studied and understood topics in the service management literature. As a result, our current understanding of the critical resources and activities to develop new services is inadequate given NSD’s importance as a service competitiveness driver. Until recently, the generally accepted principle behind NSD was that “new services happen” rather than occurring through formal development processes. Recent efforts to address this debate have been inconclusive. Thus, additional research is needed to validate or discredit the belief that new services happen as a result of intuition, flair, and luck. Relying upon the general distinctions between research exploitation and exploration, this paper describes areas in NSD research that deserve further leveraging and refinement (i.e. exploitation) and identifies areas requiring discovery or new study (i.e. exploration). We discuss the critical substantive and research design issues facing NSD scholars such as defining new services, choice in focusing on the NSD process or performance (or both), and specification of unit of analysis. We also examine what can be exploited from the study of new product development to further understanding of NSD. Finally, we explore one important area for future NSD research exploration: the impact of the Internet on the design and development of services. We offer research opportunities and research challenges in the study of NSD throughout the paper.
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