Browsing by Subject "AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Service and customer-oriented management"

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  • Gummerus, Johanna; Mickelsson, Jacob; Trischler, Jakob; Härkönen, Tuomas; Grönroos, Christian (2021-07-19)
    Purpose: This paper aims to develop and apply a service design method that allows for stronger recognition and integration of human activities into the front-end stages of the service design process. Design/methodology/approach: Following a discussion of different service design perspectives and activity theory, the paper develops a method called activity-set mapping (ActS). ActS is applied to an exploratory service design project to demonstrate its use. Findings: Three broad perspectives on service design are suggested: (1) the dyadic interaction, (2) the systemic interaction and (3) the customer activity perspectives. The ActS method draws on the latter perspective and focuses on the study of human activity sets. The application of ActS shows that the method can help identify and visualize sets of activities. Research limitations/implications: The ActS method opens new avenues for service design by zooming in on the micro level and capturing the set of activities linked to a desired goal achievement. However, the method is limited to activities reported by research participants and may exclude unconscious activities. Further research is needed to validate and refine the method. Practical implications: The ActS method will help service designers explore activities in which humans engage to achieve a desired goal/end state. Originality/value: The concept of “human activity set” is new to service research and opens analytical opportunities for service design. The ActS method contributes a visualization tool for identifying activity sets and uncovering the benefits, sacrifices and frequency of activities.
  • Mahlamäki, Tommi; Storbacka, Kaj; Pylkkönen, Samuli; Ojala, Mika (2020-09-11)
    Digitalization changes both buying processes and sales processes and, consequently, the dynamics and division of work between buyers and suppliers in the supply chain. This has major implications for industrial marketing and supply chain management. In this study, we analyze the impact of sales configurators, which are used to create valid configurations of market offerings that fulfill customer requirements. The usefulness of sales configurators can be investigated from both the sellers' and buyers' perspectives. In this research, we focus on the latter, and we specifically investigate the antecedents of customers' acceptance of sales configurators in a supply chain. In our analysis, we concentrate on system-level antecedents, which have been neglected by the existing literature. Our research yields better knowledge of how digital sales technologies can be used by customers for improved effectiveness and perceived value. The results demonstrate that ease of use and system adaptability contribute strongly to the perceived effectiveness, and eventually to the perceived usefulness, of sales configurators. Yet, surprisingly, perceived enjoyment is identified as having the most significant effect on perceived usefulness.
  • Caic, Martina; Holmlid, Stefan; Mahr, Dominik; Odekerken-Schröder, Gaby (2019-12-31)
    In design for service, understanding the social fabric of the service system demands special focus, because the networks of actors that collaboratively create value strongly affect the multitude of service values for the beneficiaries of the system. This article explores mental models of actor networks from the phenomenological perspective of the beneficiaries, who ultimately determine the value of the service. The authors argue for a visual phenomenology and leverage the resourcefulness of individual network actors through a qualitative interpretive study that relies on in-depth interviews supported by generative card activities. By asking service beneficiaries (in this case, the elderly) to map their care-based network contexts, this method encourages human-centered, participatory approaches that reveal service systems from beneficiaries’ perspectives. With an analysis of constructed visual artefacts and data-rich narratives that uncover the instrumentality of visualizations, the authors further identify different types of networks and the dominant values held by each network’s focal actors. The authors hence suggest that not only should value creation as such be viewed as idiosyncratic, but so should the networks of actors that co-create value. Finally, the concept of service resonance is suggested to aid in accounting for the pluralistic perspectives of the network actors.
  • Tikkanen, Hannu Olavi (2020-08-03)
    Purpose The purpose of this study is to characterize how services present responsibilized consumers with well-being capabilities. This is done by drawing on structuration theory and literatures on responsibilization, social well-being and psychological well-being. Design/methodology/approach This paper is based on conceptual development and a qualitative interpretive study of value propositions in texts and images on websites of 11 different self-tracking wearables and applications. Findings This paper introduces the changing–coping–countering characterization to explicate different types of well-being capabilities that are represented in services. These capabilities represent different stances towards structures. This paper proposes and discusses how these capabilities can have different impacts on well-being on individual and collective levels. Research limitations/implications This study is limited to the perspective of services in a self-tracking context. Further empirical research is needed to investigate well-being capabilities from consumer perspectives. Practical implications The proposed characterization can help practitioners in becoming more reflexive concerning their value propositions that relate to consumer well-being. This implies becoming aware of well-being discourses that shape and affect service development. Originality/value This paper provides a novel characterization for understanding the role of services in the context of responsibilization. It contributes to structural perspectives on the role of services in contributing to well-being.
  • Schauman, Sebastian; Heinonen, Kristina; Holmlund, Maria (2021)
    The recent resurgence of the vinyl record and the proliferation of so-called craft and artisanal products offer unique opportunities to observe ongoing shifts in the contemporary consumer’s values and attitudes. In this article, we explore such thought-provoking market developments and their implications by contrasting them with the conventional understanding of markets and consumers. This understanding can lead to marketing myopia as it works from the utility-oriented assumption that what ultimately matters for both the company and the customer is cost efficiency and convenience. Against this backdrop, in this article, we discuss how market developments representing the contemporary consumer’s mindset prove valuable in creating customer insight that highlights aspects often obscured by an exaggerated focus on cost efficiency and convenience. We provide an alternative approach to evaluating markets and consumers that encourages companies to build their customer-centric market strategies around questions of context, authenticity, story, and resonance. This will help them narrow the gap between their market offerings and the actual wants and needs of their customer, and consequently allow them to revitalize their market.
  • Holmlund, Maria; Van Vaerenbergh, Yves; Ciuchita, Robert; Ravald, Annika; Sarantopoulos, Panagiotis; Villarroel Ordenes, Francisco; Zaki, Mohamed (2020-02-06)
    Customer experience (CX) has emerged as a sustainable source of competitive differentiation. Recent developments in big data analytics (BDA) have exposed possibilities to unlock customer insights for customer experience management (CXM). Research at the intersection of these two fields is scarce and there is a need for conceptual work that (1) provides an overview of opportunities to use BDA for CXM and (2) guides management practice and future research. The purpose of this paper is therefore to develop a strategic framework for CXM based on CX insights resulting from BDA. Our conceptualisation is comprehensive and is particularly relevant for researchers and practitioners who are less familiar with the potential of BDA for CXM. For managers, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to kick-start or implement our strategic framework. For researchers, we propose some opportunities for future studies in this promising research area.
  • Klein, Jan F.; Zhang, Yuchi; Falk, Tomas; Aspara, Jaakko; Luo, Xueming (2020-06-17)
    Purpose In the age of digital media, customers have access to vast digital information sources, within and outside a company's direct control. Yet managers lack a metric to capture customers' cross-media exposure and its ramifications for individual customer journeys. To solve this issue, this article introduces media entropy as a new metric for assessing cross-media exposure on the individual customer level and illustrates its effect on consumers' purchase decisions. Design/methodology/approach Building on information and signalling theory, this study proposes the entropy of company-controlled and peer-driven media sources as a measure of cross-media exposure. A probit model analyses individual-level customer journey data across more than 25,000 digital and traditional media touchpoints. Findings Cross-media exposure, measured as the entropy of information sources in a customer journey, drives purchase decisions. The positive effect is particularly pronounced for (1) digital (online) versus traditional (offline) media environments, (2) customers who currently do not own the brand and (3) brands that customers perceive as weak. Practical implications The proposed metric of cross-media exposure can help managers understand customers' information structures in pre-purchase phases. Assessing the consequences of customers' cross-media exposure is especially relevant for service companies that seek to support customers' information search efforts. Marketing agencies, consultancies and platform providers also need actionable customer journey metrics, particularly in early stages of the journey. Originality/value Service managers and marketers can integrate the media entropy metric into their marketing dashboards and use it to steer their investments in different media types. Researchers can include the metric in empirical models to explore customers' omni-channel journeys.
  • Nyström, Anna-Greta; Mickelsson, Karl-Jacob (2019-05-20)
    Purpose Previous research on advertising in digital contexts has emphasized its persuasive and information processing roles for the customer. This paper aims to problematize this point of view and argues that the converged and interactive nature of digital media makes all advertising content into potential points of engagement in a digital media journey. Design/methodology/approach The paper is conceptual in nature and applies service logic (SL) and customer engagement to reconceptualize digital advertising and selling. Findings The authors present digital advertisements and digital media content as elements that contribute to a digital media journey, which ideally leads to a purchase. Advertising content is regarded as a resource used by consumers in their underlying value-creating processes. Thus, the digital advertising process is conceptualized as a customer-driven process of engaging with digital media content, where a purchase is incorporated in (and naturally follows from) the theme of engagement. Research limitations/implications The paper introduces the concept of contextually embedded selling, which refers to a process where digital advertising content is thematically congruent with the surrounding editorial content, so that both contribute to the same consumer journey. Otherwise, consumers experience a contextual jump – a disconnect in theme, place or time during the consumer’s process of engagement with the digital content. Originality/value The paper contributes to advertising theory on advertising, engagement and the emerging research on consumer journey design by presenting an approach based on SL, namely, contextually embedded digital selling.
  • Paluch, Stefanie; Wirtz, Jochen (2020)
    This special issue on AI and robots in service interactions of the Journal of Service Management Research aims to contribute and elaborated our understanding of the new challenges organizations, employees and customers face due to the infusion of service robot- and AI-facilitated and automated interactions in the service encounter. For service organizations, it is essential to recognize and evaluate service robots’ potential not only for their own organizational success, but also for the well-being of their employees and acceptance, and the quality perception and satisfaction of their customers. We will start with a short introduction into service robots and AI before we introduce the four papers of this special issue. We use the topics of these papers as a starting point and discuss implications for future research in this emerging field.
  • Baker, Jonathan J.; Kearney, Treasa; Laud, Guarangi; Holmlund, Maria (2021-05-10)
    Purpose This conceptual study explicates the dynamic, interlinked relationship between two of the most popular theories in marketing today: psychological ownership (PO) and engagement. The study is set in the sharing economy (SE), where platform business success depends on high levels of engagement by users, both individuals and collectives. The study argues individual PO (iPO) acts as the antecedent to engagement within a dyad of brand and user, and collective PO (cPO) as the antecedent to collective engagement by communities of users. Design/methodology/approach This conceptual study synthesizes PO theory and engagement theory to produce a PO–engagement framework. The authors adopt a dual-level perspective encompassing individual- and group-level phenomena in the SE and employ examples from practice to illustrate their arguments. Findings PO acts as the antecedent to the positively valenced disposition and engagement activities of actors in the SE. iPO manifests as engagement within a dyad of brand and user. Outcomes include brand love and contributions to brand reputation and service offerings. Collective PO manifests as engagement within a community or collective. Outcomes include community-oriented peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing for the benefit of others. Originality/value This study offers a dynamic framework of PO and engagement in the SE, the PO–engagement framework. The authors contribute to PO and engagement literature studies in marketing by illustrating how a platform user's attachment to targets in the SE motivates emergence of PO, and how different types of engagement manifest from different types of PO.
  • Brax, Saara A.; Calabrese, Armando; Levialdi Ghiron, Nathan; Tiburzi, Luigi; Grönroos, Christian (2021-05-31)
    Purpose: Previous research reports mixed results regarding the performance impact of servitization in manufacturing firms. To resolve this, the purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptually consistent and comprehensive measurement framework for both dimensions, servitization and its performance effect, and apply in a configurational analysis to reexamine previous evidence, arriving at a configurational theory of the relationship between servitization and firm performance. Design/methodology/approach: Combining systematic literature review (SLR) and inductive reasoning, the existing indicators for servitization and performance are identified and clustered into groups that adequately represent both dimensions. The dataset is reanalyzed against the resulting framework to identify the configurational patterns and to formulate the theoretical propositions. Findings: Financial and nonfinancial indicators of servitization and its performance impact are organized into a comprehensive measurement framework grounded on existing research. The subsequent meta-analysis shows that the positive or negative impacts of servitization on performance depend on how firms implement servitization strategies and which performance aspects are examined. Research limitations/implications: The results explain when servitization can be successful and confirm the existence of the so-called servitization paradox. The meta-analysis identified patterns that explain the previous mixed results, shaping a configurational theory of servitization. Thus, the measurement framework is conceptually robust and has sufficient detail to capture servitization and its performance outcome as it feasibly distinguished between different organizational configurations. Originality/value: The framework provides a comprehensive portfolio of indicators for both managers and scholars to measure servitization intensity and performance. This supports managers of servitizing firms in leading this organizational transformation while avoiding its organizational and financial paradoxes.
  • Rahman, Arafat; Björk, Peter; Ravald, Annika (2020-05-28)
    This paper aims to explore the effects of a service provider’s organizational support and organizational empowerment on employee well-being in the healthcare service context. It also investigates if employee engagement has an effect on employee well-being. An empirical study among the employees (n = 153) of a therapeutic and rehabilitation service provider in Dhaka, Bangladesh reveals that both organizational support and organizational empowerment have positive influences on employee well-being. Although organizational support has the largest effect on employee engagement, the influence of organizational empowerment on employee engagement is not a significant factor. However, employee engagement influences their well-being. The study findings provide insights by explaining the roles that a service provider can play to enhance employee well-being and the strategies that managers can take to realize the positive effects of organizational support and empowerment on well-being.
  • Virtanen, Henrik; Björk, Peter; Sjöström, Elin (2017-08-15)
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the deliberate social media marketing practices of a start-up company. The study aims to measure the effects of these practices (i.e. following potential customers and liking and commenting on their posts on Instagram) on creating and increasing awareness of the company’s business and gaining followers for the company’s Instagram account. Design/methodology/approach – The research is exploratory in nature and adopts an approach similar to that of action research. The research was enabled and facilitated by collaboration between the researchers and a company representative. The company offers an application for young mothers. Findings – The model developed in this study identifies the effects of the practice of endorsing and interacting with customers for marketing purposes. It points out following as a first-order practice that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can employ to gain followers instantly on Instagram. Research limitations/implications – The method used limits the generalisability of the findings. However, the findings offer preliminary insights for future studies on Instagram marketing in SMEs. Practical implications – Companies can attain success in social media marketing by actively engaging with customers and potential customers on various social media platforms. Originality/value – There is a paucity of research focussing on Instagram marketing in SMEs. The model in this study contributes to theory on Instagram marketing and offers a framework that can help managers plan Instagram marketing strategies.
  • Liewendahl, Helena; Heinonen, Kristina (2020-02-13)
    Purpose: Customer value creation is dependent on a firm’s capacity to fulfil its brand promises and value propositions. The purpose of this paper is to explore frontline employees’ motivation to align with value propositions. Design/methodology/approach: The paper explores frontline employees’ motivation to align with a firm’s value propositions as operationalised brand promises. A longitudinal, three-phase case study was conducted on a B2B company in the building and technical trade sector. Findings: This study reveals factors that foster and weaken employees’ motivation to align with a firm’s brand promises and value propositions. The findings show that co-activity and authentic, practice-driven promises and value propositions foster frontline employees’ motivation to uphold brand promises and value propositions, whereas an objectifying stance and power struggle weaken this motivation. Practical Implications: The study indicates that a bottom-up approach to strategising is needed and that frontline employees are to be engaged in traditional managerial domains, such as in developing value propositions. By creating space and agency for frontline employees in the strategising process, their motivation to align with value propositions is fostered. Four motivational modes are suggested to support bottom-up strategising. Originality/value: The paper is unique in its focus on frontline employees’ motivation. Developing value propositions traditionally falls within the domain of management strategising, while employees are ascribed the role of enactment. Contrary to the established norm, this paper highlights employees’ active role in strategising and developing value propositions.
  • Kunz, Werner; Heinonen, Kristina; Lemmink, Jos (2019-08-12)
    Purpose: Service technologies are transforming the business landscape rapidly. This paper aims to explore the current scope of research in regard to emerging service technologies by comparing the content of articles in academic journals with practitioner-oriented publication outlets. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 5,118 technology-related articles from service journals, service conferences, business journals and business magazines are analyzed. Text-mining on abstracts is used for the thematic and semantic analysis. Common research themes and their relationships are depicted in a two-dimensional structured network. Further, the sample is analyzed regarding various technologies mentioned in the Gartner Hype Cycle. Findings: The paper reveals differences in academic and business perspectives in regard to service technologies. In comparison to business journals, scientific service research is more focused on customer-related aspects of technology. Service research has a less concrete focus on technology than in business publications. Still, service conference articles show a broader scope of emerging service technologies than academic journal articles. Research limitations/implications: Scientific research should focus on more concrete service technologies. Business magazines serve as a good source for that and the paper identifies several promising new technology fields. Practical implications: Although business magazines cover significantly more concrete service technologies, they miss the integrated perspective that academic articles usually offer. Academia can help business to better align concrete technologies with different internal and external perspectives. Originality/value: This paper serves as an introduction to the special issue Future Service Technologies. Additionally, a quantitative study of recent service technology research serves as a reality check for academic researchers on business reality and provides research and practical recommendations.
  • Witell, Lars; Holmlund, Maria; Gustafsson, Anders (2020-02-14)
    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to highlight the role of qualitative research in service research. This study discusses what qualitative research is, what role it has in service research and what interest, rigor, relevance and richness mean for qualitative service research. Design/methodology/approach: This study examines the most common qualitative research methods and discusses interest, rigor, relevance and richness as key characteristics of qualitative research. The manuscripts in the special issue are introduced and categorized based on their contributions to service research. Findings: The findings suggest that the amount of research using qualitative research methods has remained stable over the last 30 years. An increased focus on transparency and traceability is important for improving the perceived rigor of qualitative service research. Originality/value: This special issue is the first issue that is explicitly devoted to the qualitative research methodology in service research. In particular, the issue seeks to contribute to a better use and application of qualitative research methodology.
  • Davey, Janet; Grönroos, Christian (2019-07-29)
    Purpose Although health-care features prominently in transformative service research, there is little to guide service providers on how to improve well-being and social change transformations. This paper aims to explore actor-level interactions in transformative services, proposing that actors’ complementary health service literacy roles are fundamental to resource integration and joint value creation. Design/methodology/approach In-depth interviews with 46 primary health-care patients and 11 health-care service providers (HSPs) were conducted focusing on their subjective experiences of health literacy. An iterative hermeneutic approach was used to analyse the textual data linking it with existing theory. Findings Data analysis identified patients’ and HSPs’ health service literacy roles and corresponding role readiness dimensions. Four propositions are developed describing how these roles influence resource integration processes. Complementary service literacy roles enhance resource integration with outcomes of respect, trust, empowerment and loyalty. Competing service literacy roles lead to outcomes of discredit, frustration, resistance and exit through unsuccessful resource integration. Originality/value Health service literacy roles – linked to actor agency, institutional norms and service processes – provide a nuanced approach to understanding the tensions between patient empowerment trends and service professionals’ desire for recognition of their expertise over patient care. Specifically, the authors extend Frow et al.’s (2016) list of co-creation practices with practices that complement actors’ service literacy and role readiness. Based on a service perspective, the authors encourage transformative service researchers, service professionals and health service system designers, to recognize complementary health service literacy roles as an opportunity to support patients’ resources and facilitate value co-creation.
  • Teeroovengadum, Viraiyan; Nunkoo, Robin; Grönroos, Christian; Kamalanabhan, T.J.; Keshwar Seebaluck, Ashley (2019-10-14)
    Purpose The purpose of this study is to validate the higher education service quality (HESQUAL) scale using a confirmatory approach and test an improved structural model that predicts student loyalty from image, perceived value, satisfaction and service quality. In addition to validating the HESQUAL scale using a confirmatory approach, two other main limitations in the extant literature are addressed. Design/methodology/approach The model is tested using data collected from 501 students enrolled in different higher education institutions in Mauritius. A two-stage approach to structural equation modeling is used whereby the measurement model is first tested using confirmatory factor analysis and followed by the assessment of the structural model. Findings Importantly, results indicate that student satisfaction is influenced by technical service quality, image and perceived value, but not by functional service quality. Both dimensions of service quality however are significant predictors of image and perceived value. The study uses a comprehensive measure of service quality and demonstrates that it is worthwhile to consider functional service quality as higher-order model and clearly distinguish between functional and technical quality, as both the technical and functional aspects play an important role in shaping students’ perceptions and behaviors. Originality/value First, in the existing literature, service quality has not been considered as a second-order factor model in structural models of student satisfaction and loyalty, thus lacking either precision or parsimony. Second, the transformative quality aspect of higher education has been largely neglected in previous research testing such predictive models. The model delineates service quality into the functional and transformative (technical) aspects and treats functional service quality as a second-order factor comprising nine sub-dimensions.
  • Virtanen, Henrik; Norrgrann, Anu (2020)
    Prior research on massive open online courses (MOOCs) suggests interaction to be a key characteristic in terms of improving learners’ engagement, skills development, and learning experience. This study investigates learners’ experiences of participating in MOOCs in order to develop a more detailed understanding of interaction behaviors and the factors that influence them. Based on in-depth interviews conducted with MOOC participants, the study sheds light on the factors that influence interaction as well as their alignment with the self-determination theory. The results indicate that five personal and five environmental factors play a role in either enhancing or hindering interaction. Supporting learners’ autonomy and personalized learning trajectories should serve to promote both interaction and engagement. Despite the autonomous nature of learning via MOOCs, educators’ guidance and encouragement are still required to enliven learners’ interactions. In fact, this study also elucidates the social nature of learning.
  • Sthapit, Erose; Björk, Peter (2020-10-03)
    This study explores interactive value formation, particularly the underlying drivers of three value outcomes in the Airbnb context: co-creation, co-destruction and co-recovery. The study focuses on reviews posted online by Airbnb guests in English. These posts contained customers’ positive and negative experiences with Airbnb on Trustpilot. The data analysis uncovered two main themes that reflected the drivers of value co-creation, co-destruction and co-recovery (company’s customer service and hosts’ actions). First, after a service failure, many guests experienced value co-destruction because they felt that Airbnb’s customer service agents could not solve their problems in a timely and proper manner, while the use of successful recovery efforts by the service agents served as an antidote to value co-destruction, thereby contributing to value co-recovery. Second, host’s friendly behaviour, including prompt communication between the host and the guest, led to value co-creation. On the contrary, inadequate communication and unethical actions by the host generated value co-destruction among the guests and resulted in a decline in their well-being. The findings suggest that particular value dimensions can individually act as a source of either value co-creation or co-recovery, while their inadequate integration in the interactive value formation processes leads to value co-destruction.