Course aim and content

Students learn about service management and relationship oriented marketing management and research implications from them in the consumer and industrial market. Emphasis is given to familiarising the students with research publications/articles dealing with service and relationship management from different perspectives as well as analysing and discussing the evolvement and fundamental assumptions. Students read, analyse, and discuss research publications that have had or are assumed to have a major impact and develop skills in reading and analysing them. This ability strengthens the students’ research skills and facilitates the design and writing of a doctoral thesis. Methodological issues are also addressed since they are closely linked to the students’ doctoral theses. The course should give a good platform to formulate research problems and it supports doctoral students’ own research.

Learning objectives

After the course you are expected to have an overview over service and relationship management research and a deeper understanding of selected core concepts and issues.

After completing this course, students shall be able to
• analyse and synthesise core literature/concepts in service and relationship management research,
• discuss and critically evaluate academic work,
• apply service and relationship management research to your own research and doctoral thesis

Scope and language

ECTS 8, course language is English.

In-class time and venue

The course includes approximately 34 hours of class (seminar) time, divided into four full- day class meetings Thursday-Friday September 21-22, 2017 and Tuesday- Wednesday December 12-13, 2017 from about 8am-4pm, at Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Arkadia building ground floor.

Course faculty

Christian Grönroos, emeritus professor of marketing, Hanken.

Johanna Gummerus, assistant professor of marketing, Hanken.

Kristina Heinonen, professor of service and relationship marketing, Hanken.

Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen, professor of marketing, Hanken, corresponding instructor and course responsible,, +358 40 3521 396

Christian Kowalkowski, assistant professor of marketing, Hanken and Associate Professor of Industrial Marketing, Linköping University Linköping.

Pia Polsa, associate professor of marketing, Hanken.
Anne Rindell, associate professor of marketing, Hanken.
Magnus Söderlund, professor of marketing, Stockholm School of Economics and Hanken.
Tore Strandvik, professor of marketing, Hanken.
Martin Wetzels, professor and chair in marketing and supply chain research, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Judith Zolkiewski, professor of marketing, Alliance Manchester Business School, UK.

Signing up for the course

Doctoral students from other universities are warmly welcome, please see further instructions for how to submit an electronic application.

Doctoral students from other universities wishing to participate are encouraged to submit an electronic application before Tuesday August 29 of one page to Malin Wikstedt, amanuensis, Hanken Department of Marketing including:

– contact information (name, university, address, e-mail),
– information on the current phase of the studies (incl. number of earned study points),
– a short summary of the PhD research that indicates the area in which the research is conducted, and the key issues that are examined in more detail
– need and motive for taking part in the course

Notification of acceptance: before Friday September 1, 2017

For more information regarding the course content contact Maria Holmlund-Rytkönen. In case needed, priority when assessing applications will be given to relevance of the course to the doctoral thesis as provided in the motivation attached to the application.

Learning method

Learning is facilitated by individual written article analyses, in-class discussion of articles as well as writing and discussing a term paper and finally submitting a learning diary.

The Key Learning Analyses of the material for each topic is done individually. The method resembles problem-based learning in that the students are responsible for reading the assigned literature, analysing it in-depth and preparing answers to pre-assigned questions as well as critically reflecting on the literature.

Learning is further developed in the in-class sessions in which the students and instructors together share and develop insights in group discussions facilitated by the course instructors.

Students select a topic for a term paper which is expected to be a paper written specifically during the course and usable afterwards in the thesis or as part of a working paper/conference paper. Term papers can be done either individually or in teams of two students and vary in scope depending on number of team members. Teams can be formed during the first in-class meeting in September.

The term papers are presented and discussed at the second meeting, which means that everyone will gain additional depth and breadth in their knowledge. There is also an opportunity to revise the term papers based on feedback from the session and the instructors.


Evaluation is based on continual assessment, a written term paper, and a learning diary.

1) Presence and informed participation in all four days of class meetings are compulsory. The examination is based on the students’ ability to contribute to the in-class discussions and debates and to co-facilitate in-class sessions.

2) Key learning analysis. Individual written analyses of the material related to each topic are to be submitted online before the session when it is dealt with.

3) Term paper, including presentation and discussion of the papers in class. Written feedback is provided to facilitate revisions. Made revisions will impact the grade.

4) Learning diary.

The grades for passing the course are: satisfactory, good, and excellent. Hanken external students receive course diplomas.