Moving Forward and Making a Difference

Amy L. Ostrom, Mary Jo Bitner, Stephen W. Brown, Kevin A. Burkhard, Michael Goul, Vicki Smith-Daniels, Haluk Demirkan, all of Arizona State University, published “Moving Forward and Making a Difference: Research Priorities for the Science of Service” in the February 2010 issue of Journal of Service Research.

Dr. Ostrom and Dr. Burkhard shared some background information about the article.

We, along with our co-authors, observed the explosion of interest and research in the field of service coming from a variety of fields. We also knew through our engagement and work with a range of organizations through the Center for Services Leadership that service and service related topics were rapidly becoming an area of focus and investment. Despite the increased attention and effort, we felt the service field could and should be advanced in more of an integrated manner. With this as the backdrop, we saw an opportunity to identify high-value strategic research topics that could act as a catalyst for research and collaboration going forward by securing perspectives and insights from a diverse set of academics and organizational leaders. We think that is why the article has been so well received. Service-minded researchers and organizational leaders are often looking for inspiration, direction, and ideas to drive their research and investments as well as a platform for identifying research partnerships.

We thoroughly enjoyed conducting this research. It was intriguing to hear the viewpoints of so many service-minded individuals on the future of the service field. Through this process, it was extremely encouraging to hear the significant overlap in high priority research areas and questions from academia and industry. It reinforced our belief that advancing the field of service could and should be done through collaborative partnerships within and across academia and industry. The writing of the article was challenging yet enjoyable. To try to cover the service field, we had 8 co-authors and invited more than 40 commentary authors to make contributions. Through this unique model, we found that constructing and even formatting the article was a challenge. However, the Editor, Dr. Kay Lemon, and a handful of reviewers gave us extremely helpful feedback and guidance throughout the whole process.

We are extremely excited about the impact the article has had to date. We are already starting to see it cited in recent publications. We have noted work being done in several priority areas including service infusion and transformative service research. There were special sessions on both of these topics at the 2011 AMA Winter Marketing Educators’ Conference. In addition, Dr. Laurie Anderson, one of the article contributors, and I (Amy Ostrom) are co-chairing a track on transformative service research at the Transformative Consumer Research Conference being held at Baylor University in June 2011. Going forward, we hope that the article continues to be read and used and makes its way into additional academic disciplines and industry groups. We see that the article is widely applicable and can bridge gaps through exposure and discussion. We look forward to seeing what additional research and new knowledge emerges in the future based on the priorities.

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