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What is a professional service? A conceptual review and bi‐national investigation

Mrugank V. Thakor (Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Anand Kumar (Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 1 February 2000



Although interest in the marketing of professional services has grown steadily, there is still confusion over which services should be considered professional. Perceptions are important for marketing practitioners because consumers are likely to respond differently to stimuli such as advertising or price promotions depending on how they perceive the occupation engaged in such activities, and they may also be more price sensitive when occupations are not regarded as professions. Understanding how consumers determine which occupations are “professions” should also help practitioners to effectively manage their occupations’ images. In addition, such an understanding should help researchers to judge whether results obtained with respect to one service should be expected to extend to other services, and to ensure that services picked for inclusion in future studies are truly those likely to be perceived as professional. This study uses a US and a Canadian sample to survey consumer perceptions of the professionalism of 42 services selected from the overall population of services. It also tests for the first time the validity of several propositions regarding professional services that have long been assumed to be true.



Thakor, M.V. and Kumar, A. (2000), "What is a professional service? A conceptual review and bi‐national investigation", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 63-82.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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