Today we identify service articles published in Marketing, Management, Operations, Productions, Information Systems & Practioner-oriented Journals in February 2017.

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Heaphy, E. D. (2017): “Dancing On Hot Coals”: How Emotion Work Facilitates Collective Sensemaking, Academy of Management Journal, 60(2), pp.642-670

While organizations and researchers have traditionally conceptualized customers as consumers of their services and products, there is a growing recognition that organizations need to develop more collaborative relationships with clients. In this research, I explore one implication of this shift–how employees respond to client conflicts. In a multi-method qualitative study, I studied patient advocates, hospital employees who mediate conflicts between patients, families, and staff. I develop a process model that shows how mediators construct a web of discrete social interactions that, over time, enables them to develop an empathetic account of the conflict. They then selectively deploy the account to engage in sensegiving. The process model integrates research on emotions and sensemaking in novel ways. I identify how emotion work triggers emotion dynamics in interactions that facilitate or disrupt sensemaking and sensegiving. I show how plausible accounts are developed over the course of social interactions and that mediators pivoted from sensemaking to sensegiving when the account was characterized by empathy. Overall, this research shows how mediators actively generate, interpret, and influence their own and others’ emotions, and that mediators’ emotion work contributes to the success of collective sensemaking.

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Wiedner, R., M. Barrett and E. Oborn (2017): The Emergence Of Change In Unexpected Places: Resourcing Across Organizational Practices In Strategic Change, Academy of Management Journal, 60(3), pp.823-854

In our longitudinal, in-depth case study of strategic change within the National Health Service in England, we compare three practices related to contracting health care services. Contrary to what we would have believed from the extant literature, we found that the most profound change did not emerge in practices that witnessed the greatest increase in the quantity of resources or in which change agents were given the highest degree of control. Instead, change emerged in a practice that was not treated as a priority and that subsequently attracted interest from a very limited number of individuals. Our findings contribute to the resourcing literature by showing that the ability to use resources is shaped by how they are valued and distributed, and that strategic change initiatives can act as triggers for resource revaluations and redistributions. Specifically, we demonstrate that strategic change initiatives may contribute to the emergence of favorable conditions for change in practices that do not become associated with valued resources. This is because a lack of valued resources attracts limited interest from stakeholders, thereby allowing changes to emerge as powerful agents face minimal coordination costs and scrutiny when attempting to align arrangements with their own interests. Our study thereby shows how and why change initiatives can trigger divergent developments across multiple practices and lead to change emergence in unexpected places. It also highlights the role of what we call “resourcing space” in contributing to emergent change.

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Stefan Worm, Sundar G. BharadwajWolfgang UlagaWerner J. Reinartz (2017): When and why do customer solutions pay off in business markets?, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45, pp. 490.

Manufacturers invest in customer solutions to differentiate their offerings and sustain profitability despite declining margins from goods sales. Notwithstanding strong managerial and academic interest, an examination of whether and explanations for when and whysolutions translate into superior performance are lacking. We test hypotheses developed from the resource-based theory and transaction cost economics, supplemented with in-depth theory-in-use interviews, on primary and secondary data collected from 175 manufacturers. From a model that corrects for endogeneity, the findings suggest that, compared with other service offerings, solutions are associated with increased return on sales. This positive profitability effect is enhanced in firms with greater sales capabilities; it is stronger in industries with greater buyer power but weaker in technology-intensive industries. These results caution against the simplistic view of solutions as a universal route to gaining competitive advantage and aid in better identifying the role of solutions in a manufacturer’s offering portfolio.


Sun, S. X., J. Zhao and S. Sarkar (2017): How High Should We Go? Determining Reservation Values to Negotiate Successfully for Composite Software Services, Information Systems Research, 28(2), pp.353-377

In the paradigm of service-centric computing, new value-added applications can be developed dynamically and flexibly by combining and integrating existing services. While software applications are traditionally specified and implemented as a set of functions uniform to all users, this new paradigm allows the same software service to be delivered with a different price, response time, availability, and other nonfunctional attributes to accommodate different modes of use. These nonfunctional attributes together are referred to as Quality of Service (QoS). When creating a new composite service, negotiation makes it possible for a service provider to offer the service with the QoS properties customized to the needs of a user. Automated negotiation tactics require the specification of reservation values for the QoS attributes. We present a methodology that determines the reservation values a user (or broker) should use for each component service based on the user’s minimum requirements for the composite service. Our methodology maximizes the chance of reaching a successful negotiation outcome while staying within the user’s reservation values for the composite service. We show that the problem of determining the user’s reservation values for component services can be modeled as a multiobjective optimization problem and then transformed to a single-objective optimization problem using a max-min approach. The formulation can incorporate providers’ different QoS preferences to increase the chance of negotiation success. We identify problem instances for which closed-form solutions can be found for the reservation values. We show how the method of setting reservation values can be incorporated into a negotiation process that uses extant concession and trade-off tactics. Simulation experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. If some providers accept offers before the negotiation process deadline, we show that dynamically changing the reservation values for the remaining providers makes the overall negotiation process more likely to succeed. The online appendix is available at .

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Avlonitis, V. and J. Hsuan (2017): Exploring modularity in services: cases from tourism, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(6), pp.771-790

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine how modularity manifests in the design of services. The study brings new insights on the organization of service firms by empirically exploring and theoretically advancing the intersection of modularity and service design.Design/methodology/approach The paper compares two companies that offer similar services in the same geographical region but represent polar case types. A framework grounded on extant literature is constructed and applied to the two cases to assess its practicality and provide theoretical insights.Findings The paper demonstrates the effects of modularity and integrality on a range of different analytical levels in service architectures. Taking a holistic approach, the authors synthesize and empirically deploy a framework comprised of the three most prevalent themes in modularity and service design literature: Offering (service concept), intra-firm organization (service delivery system), and inter-firm relationships (service network). They posit that service architectures require the examination of different analytical levels due to the complex and dynamic nature of service business. Additionally, the analysis provides new insights on the mirroring hypothesis of modularity theory to services.Originality/value The paper provides a conceptualization of service architectures drawing on service design, modularity, and market relationships. The study enriches service design literature with elements from modularity theory and elaborates on the theoretical implications of service modularity in general.

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Brax, S. A., A. Bask, J. Hsuan and C. Voss (2017): Service modularity and architecture – an overview and research agenda, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(6), pp.686-702

Purpose Services are highly important in a world economy which has increasingly become service driven. There is a growing need to better understand the possibilities for, and requirements of, designing modular service architectures. The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the roots of the emerging research stream on service modularity, provide a concise overview of existing work on the subject, and outline an agenda for future research on service modularity and architecture. The articles in the special issue offer four diverse sets of research on service modularity and architecture.Design/methodology/approach The paper is built on a literature review mapping the current body of literature on the topic and developing future research directions in service modularity and architecture.Findings The growing focus on services has triggered needs to investigate the suitability and implementation of physical-product-focused modularity principles and theories in service contexts, and to search for principles/theories that enhance services. The expanding research stream has explored various aspects of service modularity in empirical contexts. Future research should focus on service-specific modularity theories and principles, platform-based and mass-customized service business models, comparative research designs, customer perspectives and service experience, performance in context of modular services, empirical evidence of benefits and challenges, architectural innovation in services, modularization in multi-provider contexts, and modularity in hybrid offerings combining service and tangible product modules.Originality/value Nine areas are recommended for further research on service modularity and architecture. The introductory piece also discusses the roots of service modularity and provides an overview of current contributions.

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Broekhuis, M., M. van Offenbeek and M. Eissens-van der Laan (2017): What professionals consider when designing a modular service architecture?, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(6), pp.748-770

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore how functional and appropriateness arguments influence the adoption of modularity principles during the design of a professional service architecture.Design/methodology/approach Action design research was conducted to examine the design process of a modular service architecture for specialised elderly care by a multi-professional group. Data collection methods included, partly participatory, observations of the interactions between professionals during the design process, interviews and document analysis. Data analysis focussed on the emerging design choices and the arguments underlying them.Findings A wide range of both functional and appropriateness considerations were enlisted during the design process. The three core modularity principles were adapted to varying degrees. In terms of the design outcome, the interdependencies between the modularity principles necessitated two trade-offs in the modular design. A third trade-off occurred between modularity and the need for professional inference where services were characterised by uncertainty. Appropriateness was achieved through the professionals reframing and translating the abstract modularity concept to reconcile the concept’s functionality with their professional norms, values and established practices.Originality/value The study adds to service modularity theory by formulating three trade-offs that are required in translating the core modularity principles into a functional set of design choices for a multi-professional service environment. Moreover, the inherent intertwinedness of the core modularity principles in professional services requires an iterative design process. Finally, the authors saw that the ambiguity present in the service modularity concept can be used to develop a design that is deemed appropriate by professionals.

Link: [Google]

Silander, K., P. Torkki, P. Lillrank, A. Peltokorpi, S. A. Brax and M. Kaila (2017): Modularizing specialized hospital services, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(6), pp.791-818

Purpose Modularity promises to relieve problems of complexity in service systems. However, limited evidence exists of its application in specialized hospital services. The purpose of this paper is to identify enablers, constraints, and outcomes of modularization in specialized hospital services.Design/methodology/approach A qualitative comparative study of a hematology unit with modular service architecture and an oncology unit with integral service architecture in a university hospital is performed to analyze the service architectures, enablers and constraints of modularization, and outcomes.Findings A framework and five propositions combining the characteristics of specialized hospital services, enabling activities, and outcomes of modularization were developed. Modular service architecture was developed through limiting the number of treatment components, reorganizing production of standardized components into a separate service unit, and standardizing communication and scheduling in interfaces. Modularization increased service efficiency but diluted ownership of services, decreased customization, and diminished informal communication. This is explained by the specific characteristics of the services: fragmented service delivery, professional autonomy, hierarchy, information asymmetry, and requirement to treat all.Research limitations/implications Modularization can increase efficiency in specialized hospital services. However, specific characteristics of specialized care may challenge its application and limit its outcomes.Practical implications The study identifies enabling activities and constraints that hospital managers should take into account when developing modular service systems.Originality/value This is the first empirical study exploring the enablers, constraints, and outcomes of modularization in specialized hospital services. The study complements literature on service modularity with reference to specialized hospital services.

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Peluso, A. M., A. Bonezzi, M. De Angelis and D. D. Rucker (2017): Compensatory word of mouth: Advice as a device to restore control, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(2), pp.499-515

Consumers often give advice by recommending products and services to one another. The present research explores the idea that advice giving sometimes reflects a self-serving desire to compensate for a loss of control. Four experiments provide convergent evidence for a phenomenon we term compensatory word of mouth , whereby consumers’ communications contain advice fueled by their own need to restore control. Experiment 1 explores the potential practical relevance of this idea by showing that advertising messages can threaten consumers’ sense of control and increase advice giving in word-of-mouth communications. Experiment 2 uses a different paradigm and further demonstrates that a threat to consumers’ sense of control increases advice giving. As additional evidence of a compensatory account, Experiment 3 finds that threatened individuals’ propensity to give advice is attenuated when they are first given an alternative means to restore a sense of control. Finally, Experiment 4 demonstrates that advice giving can serve a compensatory function by instilling a greater sense of competence that enhances consumers’ feelings of control.

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Malhotra, N., S. Sahadev and K. Purani (2017): Psychological contract violation and customer intention to reuse online retailers: Exploring mediating and moderating mechanisms, Journal of Business Research, 75(), pp.17-28

This study examines the impact of psychological contract violation (PCV) on customer intention to reuse online retailer websites via the mediating mechanisms of trust and satisfaction. The moderating role of perceived structural assurance (SA) is also investigated. An empirical study conducted among online shoppers confirms the indirect effects of PCV on customers’ intention to reuse via trust and satisfaction. The findings also support the moderating impact of perceived SA in the network of relationships. The study underscores the importance of SA as a trust-building mechanism for mitigating the deleterious effects of PCV among online customers, although the role of SA in preserving satisfaction is found to be limited. The findings suggest that online retailers may benefit by investing in SA and addressing the negative effects of PCV proactively rather than simply relying on post-failure service recovery mechanisms.

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Buell, R. W., T. Kim and C.-J. Tsay (2017): Creating Reciprocal Value Through Operational Transparency, Management Science, 63(6), pp.1673-1695

We investigate whether organizations can create value by introducing visual transparency between consumers and producers. Although operational transparency has been shown to improve consumer perceptions of service value, existing theory posits that increased contact between consumers and producers may diminish work performance. Two field and two laboratory experiments in food service settings suggest that transparency that (1) allows customers to observe operational processes (process transparency) and (2) allows employees to observe customers (customer transparency) not only improves customer perceptions but also increases service quality and efficiency. The introduction of this transparency contributed to a 22.2% increase in customer-reported quality and reduced throughput times by 19.2%. Laboratory studies revealed that customers who observed process transparency perceived greater employee effort and thus were more appreciative of the employees and valued the service more. Employees who observed customer transparency felt that their work was more appreciated and more impactful and thus were more satisfied with their work and more willing to exert effort. We find that transparency, by visually revealing operating processes to consumers and beneficiaries to producers, generates a positive feedback loop through which value is created for both parties. Data, as supplemental material, are available at . This paper was accepted by Serguei Netessine, operations management.

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Ibrahim, R., M. Armony and A. Bassamboo (2017): Does the Past Predict the Future? The Case of Delay Announcements in Service Systems, Management Science, 63(6), pp.1762-1780

Motivated by the recent interest in making delay announcements in large service systems, such as call centers, we investigate the accuracy of announcing the waiting time of the last customer to enter service (LES). In practice, customers typically respond to delay announcements by either balking or by becoming more or less impatient, and their response alters system performance. We study the accuracy of the LES announcement in single-class, multiserver Markovian queueing models with announcement-dependent customer behavior. We show that, interestingly, even in this stylized setting, the LES announcement may not always be accurate. This motivates the need to study its accuracy carefully and to determine conditions under which it is accurate. Since the direct analysis of the system with customer response is prohibitively difficult, we focus on many-server, heavy-traffic analysis instead. We consider the quality-and-efficiency-driven and efficiency-driven many-server, heavy-traffic regimes and prove, under both regimes, that the LES prediction is asymptotically accurate if and only if asymptotic fluctuations in the queue length process are small as long as some regulatory conditions apply. This result provides an easy check for the accuracy of LES announcements in practice. We supplement our theoretical results with an extensive simulation study to generate practical managerial insights. Data, as supplemental material, are available at . This paper was accepted by Yossi Aviv, operations management.

Link: [Google]

Stevens, J., C. Esmark, S. Noble and N. Lee (2017): Co-producing with consumers: how varying levels of control and co-production impact affect, Marketing Letters, 28(2), pp.171-187

As companies continue to utilize co-production (customer participation in product or service creation) strategies with consumers, academic researchers have expanded their study on issues related to co-production. However, research has been scant on the issue of control in such situations. The underlying belief in increasing customer participation and involvement is it increases customers’ perceived control, thereby enhancing their experience and outcomes; this belief creates the necessity for further examination of control in co-production environments. This study examines consumers’ affective responses to differing levels of three types of control (cognitive, behavioral, and decisional) in low and high co-production conditions. Using two experimental contexts and one survey study, the results show increasing cognitive control will increase affect when co-production is low. Behavioral control can negatively or positively influence affect depending on specific situational contexts and perceptions of customization in low co-production conditions. Lastly, decisional control is found to be an important positive contributor to affect regardless of co-production level. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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