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Service Portrays and Service Constructions: A Critical Review Through the Lens of the Customer
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration.
2004 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The concept service has been defined in many different ways. Most scholars put forward that services are activities, deeds or processes and interactions (Solomon et al, 1985; Lovelock, 1991; Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). Most definitions also focus on the customer and that ser-vices are provided as solutions to customer problems (Grönroos, 2000). Does it capture the essence of services? Does it form a fruitful basis for managing services and for the creation of value through services?

In service research some fundamental truths about services have for a long time been re-ferred to and used in scholarly studies. In the beginning of services research, a common way was to portray services as something different from goods. The intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability and perishability (IHIP) characteristics served as guiding principles in several academic battles to establish the research field of services (Bateson, 1979; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1985; Shostack, 1977).

Service research has reached a point when the relevance of established truths and concepts are discussed. The critic comes from established and pioneering scholars within service research such as Christian Grönroos, Chris Lovelock and Evert Gummesson. During the 2002 Service Frontiers conference in Maasricht and the 2003 AMA ServSig conference in Reims, some service scholars expressed disappointment with the development within the discipline. The relevance of the IHIP characteristics has been questioned, especially when it comes to intan-gibility. The argument is that the characteristics do not reflect what services really are and value creation through services.

A discussion has started focusing on the foundations for service research. This paper is a con-tribution to that discussion. Our focus is on one research question: How is the phenomenon Service defined and portrayed within service research? The aim is to critically examine how (1) the concept service is defined, (2) the service characteristics as an expression of the concept service and (3) value-creation through services. The three themes will be dealt with through the lens of the customer. The paper is based on a literature search and the ambition is to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the foundations for and future direction of service research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004.
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-23397OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-23397DiVA, id: diva2:597155
Conference
Frontiers in Services, Oct, Miami, USA
Available from: 2013-01-22 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2013-01-22

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