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Are service marketing models really used in modern practice?

Hannele Kauppinen-Räisänen (Department of Marketing, CERS – Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management, Hanken School of Economics, Vaasa, Finland and International University of Monaco INSEEC, Principality of Monaco)
Christian Grönroos (Department of Marketing, CERS – Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 15 June 2015



The purpose of the paper is to explore how service marketing knowledge is applied in practice. It introduces some ideas about how to bridge the gap between scholarly knowledge and business practices, and thereby opens up the conversation between service marketing scholars and management practitioners.


This qualitative study focusses on four concepts of service marketing (service quality, servicescape, internal marketing and augmented service offering). Knowledge use is studied according to the degree service marketing knowledge is applied at symbolic, conceptual and instrumental levels. Four firms are involved.


Service marketing knowledge was acknowledged within the firms. However, the application of the knowledge in practice was limited, resulting in shortcomings and negative consequences in terms of marketing outcomes. Hence, the knowledge was used mainly symbolically and conceptually, and the instrumental use of the knowledge was limited.

Research limitations/implications

By comparing the current use of knowledge to the levels of knowledge, the findings contribute to the understanding of why shortcomings of knowledge use develop and the study introduces ideas about how to bridge the gap between service marketing knowledge and business practices. Using this approach, the study contributes to the debate on knowledge “translation,” transfer, exchange and sharing between scholars and practitioners.

Practical implications

The study shows how management practitioners could understand and analyze their own practices as they develop their services and customer-oriented practices. It offers insights for scholars who seek to share scholarly knowledge for practical use.


The study contributes to the discussion on the use of scholarly knowledge by focussing on knowledge related to service marketing. Moreover, it focusses on not only the use of service marketing knowledge but also how it is used. By applying the three usage levels, the study recommends systematic means to detect gaps and shortcomings in knowledge use.



The study was funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and was part of the Serve – Innovative Services Technology Programme. The authors want to express the gratitude to the research assistants.


Kauppinen-Räisänen, H. and Grönroos, C. (2015), "Are service marketing models really used in modern practice?", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 346-371.



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