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Sources and categories of well-being: a systematic review and research agenda

Arafat Rahman (Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 11 December 2020

Issue publication date: 2 January 2021




The purpose of this paper is to identify the sources and categories of well-being from the transformative service research (TSR) domain. The paper also aims to offer a unified framework of sources and categories of well-being and several future research agenda.


A systematic literature review method is applied to address the study aims. A three-phase approach has been applied, which produced a total of 70 peer-reviewed empirical studies for the review.


The analysis has identified five major sources and their underlying sub-sources of well-being. The major sources are organization-, individual-, collective-, service system-, and situation-driven sources. The findings further identified two major categories or well-being showing the capacity and functioning, and subjective appraisals of life conditions. The identified sources and categories of well-being develop a unified framework showing a simplistic path or relations between the sources and the categories.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers several research agenda explaining what source-related issues can be addressed for enhancing well-being for various entities. It also adds a proposed schema and research questions for examining the possible relations and influences between the sources of well-being and social well-being of individuals.

Practical implications

Practitioners can get important insights about the matters over which they have little or no control such as the activities, motives and processes that take place in individuals' and collectives' spheres and mechanisms of supports in social networks.


The paper is the first to offer a systematic review on the empirical studies of the TSR domain identifying a comprehensive list of sources and categories of well-being and a resulting unified framework and research agenda.



Rahman, A. (2021), "Sources and categories of well-being: a systematic review and research agenda", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 1-33.



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