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Retrospective: efficiency in service delivery: technological or humanistic approaches?

Scott W. Kelley (Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 11 April 2016




The purpose of this paper is to provide a retrospective evaluation of the findings first put forward in the article Efficiency in Service Delivery: Technological or Humanistic Approaches?, and to offer directions for further research and developments in the research area.


Research directions which emanated from the publication of the article have been examined in the light of current service(s) marketing theory and practice. As a result, promising current and future strands of research have been identified.


The original article examined technological and humanistic approaches to improving service delivery efficiency. In doing so, it included two services classification schemes which provided context for the managerial implications presented. The original article was published in 1989. Much has changed since then, especially with regard to technological approaches to service delivery. However, the implications included in the original article for the most part hold. Future researchers are offered a variety of possible directions to pursue in light of the changes, especially in technology, that have occurred since the publication of the original article.


The original article was highly rated and generated discussion and important further research. It has value as part of the history of service(s) marketing research. The retrospective analysis by the author gives a unique insight into processes and thinking associated with understanding key aspects that contribute to the historical development of service(s) marketing, and provides substantial food for thought for future research directions.



Kelley, S.W. (2016), "Retrospective: efficiency in service delivery: technological or humanistic approaches?", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 133-135.



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