A brief history of SERVSIG


Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 9 August 2011



Fisk, R.P. and Patrício, L. (2011), "A brief history of SERVSIG", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 22 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/josm.2011.08522daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

A brief history of SERVSIG

Article Type: Guest editorial From: Journal of Service Management, Volume 22, Issue 4

The American Marketing Association (AMA) Services Marketing Special Interest Group (SERVSIG) was started by Ray Fisk in the summer of 1993. With the help of numerous volunteers, SERVSIG quickly became the first SIG approved by the AMA. From the beginning, three operating goals were adopted by SERVSIG: open, flexible, and fun. First, SERVSIG should be open to new people, new ideas, global contributions, interdisciplinary contributions, practitioner contributions, and to new ways of doing things. Second, SERVSIG should strive for the maximum of organizational flexibility. Third, SERVSIG should be a fun organization that strives to be light hearted and intellectually nourishing.

In the nearly 20 years since it was founded, SERVSIG has sponsored numerous successful activities. Lauren Wright proposed the idea of creating a doctoral consortium that welcomed and helped train new services scholars. The first SERVSIG Doctoral Consortium was held in October 1994, just before the Frontiers in Service Conference. Roland Rust, founder of the Frontiers Conference, proposed the idea of creating recognition awards in services. The SERVSIG Career Contributions in Services Award and the Best Article in Services Award were first given in 1994. Shortly afterward, SERVSIG became a co-sponsor of the Frontiers Conference. The untimely death of Liam Glynn in 2000, led to the creation of the Liam Glynn Scholarship for doctoral students.

Liam Glynn and Ray Fisk started the SERVSIG International Research Conferences in 1998. The founding concept was that a different school in a different country would host the conference every two years. To ensure novel and fun experiences, SERVSIG also promised that the conference would never repeat a city. The first SERVSIG International Research Conference was held in 1999 in New Orleans and hosted by the University of New Orleans. The second SERVSIG International Research Conference was held in 2001 in Sydney, Australia and hosted by Macquarie University. The third SERVSIG Research Conference was held in 2003 in Reims, France and hosted by the Reims Management School. The Fourth SERVSIG conference was held in 2005 in Singapore and hosted by the National University of Singapore. The Fifth SERVSIG International Research Conference was held in 2008 in Liverpool, UK and hosted by the University of Liverpool. This brings us to the Sixth SERVSIG International Research Conference that was held in 2010 in Porto, Portugal. Lia Patrício at the University of Porto was the conference chair.

Sixth SERVSIG International Research Conference, Porto, Portugal

The University of Porto is the largest educational and research institution in Portugal and the School of Engineering (FEUP) enrolls approximately 7,000 students and operates 24 R&D units. FEUP was delighted to host the AMA SERVSIG 2010. The University of Porto and particularly FEUP have been steadily investing in service research and service education. FEUP started a pioneering Masters in Service Engineering and Management in 2007 and hosts the IBM Center of Advanced Studies in Porto with a strong focus on Service Science, Management and Engineering.

SERVSIG 2010 brought 185 participants together from 26 countries all over the globe. The conference had a global audience but also a local flavor. Evening entertainment included a visit to the Port wine cellars followed by a dinner overlooking Porto and a Douro river cruise followed by dinner on Porto’s beach side. These events were all wonderful moments for networking with the service research community and experiencing the beautiful city of Porto.

The interdisciplinary environment of SERVSIG 2010 was well reflected in a diverse set of keynote speeches. Jim Spohrer, IBM, analyzed the evolution of services science. Mary Jo Bitner, Arizona State University, discussed service research priorities. Birgit Mager, Cologne International School of Design, shared her experience as a pioneer in service design. Paulo Magalhães presented service innovation initiatives undertaken by Sonae Retail, the leading retailer in Portugal. Conference presentations included services marketing, service operations and service innovation, but also emerging topics, such as service science and service design.

This special issue of the Journal of Service Management contains five of the best papers from the SERVSIG 2010 conference. These papers reflect the richness of the diverse service topics. Specifically, they cover crowd funding services, service environments, health care marketing, service organizations, and service-dominant logic (SDL):

  1. 1.

    Andrea Ordanini, Lucia Miceli, Marta Pizzetti and A. Parasuraman present an in-depth study of the emergent phenomenon of crowd-funding, through which people pool their money together to support others’ efforts. These authors provide a better understanding of investor behavior in this new context, offering new insights into consumer’s role as value co-creator and investor.

  2. 2.

    Mark S. Rosenbaum and Carolyn Massiah, based on 25 years of servicescape research, developed a servicescape framework that has cross-disciplinary implications. They show that a perceived servicescape comprises physical, social, socially symbolic, and natural environmental dimensions. This study has implications for society, managers, and researchers.

  3. 3.

    Thorsten Gruber and Fabricio Frugone examined the desired qualities and behaviors that patients believe general practitioners should have in medical service recovery encounters. An exploratory research study using the qualitative laddering interviewing technique was conducted. This study shows how crucial medical (service recovery) encounters in general and general practitioner qualities and behaviors in particular are for patients.

  4. 4.

    Chris Raddats and Jamie Burton study strategy/structure configurations for product-centric businesses undergoing servitization and explore how these configurations evolve. Study findings suggest that service strategies determine whether the firm develops combined product service strategic business units (SBUs), independent service SBUs or customer-focused SBUs.

  5. 5.

    Bo Edvardsson, Gloria Ng, Choo Zhi Min, Robert Firth and Ding Yi compare a service system design informed by SDL with a service system design informed by goods-dominant logic (GDL), based on an experiment with bus travelers. This study shows that SDL informed design outperforms GDL, by evoking a better customer experience and enabling a dynamic reconfiguration of resources to empower users to co-create value.

We invite you to participate in the Seventh SERVSIG International Research Conference, which will be held June 2-4, 2012 in Helsinki, Finland. The Hanken School of Economics, Finland, will host SERVSIG 2012. Kristina Heinonen will be the conference chair and Christian Grönroos, Tore Strandvik and Peter Björk will be co-chairs. Like prior SERVSIG conferences it will be open, flexible and fun! Details on this conference are available at the SERVSIG web site: www.servsig.org

Raymond P. Fisk and Lia PatrícioGuest Editors

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