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Service operations management: return to roots

Robert Johnston (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 February 1999



Over the last 20 years we have witnessed the emergence of a large‐scale, world‐wide academic movement concerned with the management of services. This paper charts the role and impact of operations management on this movement and proposes that the current key focus for service academics should be with the application of frameworks and techniques. Also suggests that as the service movement has grown, with increasing overlap between the subjects of operations, marketing and HRM for example, there is a need to “return to roots”. Contends that service academics, in their bid to develop cross‐functional service management material, may have lost, or inadvertently ignored, the strength of their core disciplines. Re‐focusing on the traditional strengths of operations management, such as performance quality, design, and operational improvement, might help provide a greater rigour to the developing subject of service management. Discusses nine areas for service operations research and suggests specific research questions. The topics include linking operational performance to business drivers, performance measurement and operations improvement, service design, service technology, the design of internal networks and managing service capacity.



Johnston, R. (1999), "Service operations management: return to roots", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 104-124.




Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

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