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Future service technologies: is service research on track with business reality?

Werner H. Kunz (Department of Marketing, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Kristina Heinonen (Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Jos G.A.M. Lemmink (Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 18 June 2019

Issue publication date: 18 September 2019




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.


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.


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.


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.



The editors would like to thank Ruud Wetzels (Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Maastricht University School of Business and Economics) for his assistance in collecting data and performing text mining analytics. They also want to thank the numerous anonymous reviewers for their valuable contribution to the special issue. Kristina Heinonen would like to acknowledge the support of the Fulbright Association, Hanken Support Foundation and Foundation for Economic Education.


Kunz, W.H., Heinonen, K. and Lemmink, J.G.A.M. (2019), "Future service technologies: is service research on track with business reality?", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 479-487.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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