Interview was executed by Matt Weingarden, AMA
A. Parasuraman is James W. McLamore Chair in Marketing, Professor, and Department Chair at the University of Miami, though many of his colleagues and friends know him as Parsu. An influential figure in the field of services marketing, he is widely known for his work on SERVQUAL, E-S-QUAL, and the Technology Readiness Index (TRI). He has published over one hundred articles in prestigious journals. Professor Parasuraman received his PhD from Indiana University and previously taught at Texas A&M University. He was inducted as an AMA Fellow in February 2016.
What attracted you to marketing as a discipline of study?
I was fascinated by the complexities at the interface between companies and customers and the opportunity to study that interface systematically by leveraging my engineering background.
Is there a contribution or contributions that makes you feel exceptionally proud?
My work (along with colleagues Len Berry and Valarie Zeithaml) on conceptualizing and measuring service quality that resulted in the “Gaps Model” of service quality and the SERVQUAL approach for assessing service quality.
Was there a pivotal moment or key person in your career? Please describe that influence?
The start of my professional collaboration in the early 1980s with Len Berry and Valarie Zeithaml who introduced me to the services domain, which opened up an entirely new and challenging stream of research for me.
What surprises/obstacles did you experience in your early career? How did you address them?
Because the service domain was new to me and since I was already starting to establish a research niche for myself in the sales management domain (in which I did my doctoral work), for several years early in my career I continued to focus on both domains. At the same time I also embarked on other writing projects such as a sole-authored marketing research textbook. All of this contributed to severe stress and work-life balance issues (my wife and I were also raising three young children at that time!). It took me a few years to stop spreading myself too thin and to start prioritizing and focusing better.
How do you pick research partners and/or co-authors?
I didn’t make any conscious efforts in this regard. I consider myself very lucky to have been at the right place at the right time (at several points in my career) to have met excellent co-researchers and co-authors.
What current trends in marketing do you find fascinating?
The accelerating pace at which cutting-edge technologies and technology-based platforms are continuing to reshape the marketing landscape and the interactions among customers, employees and companies.
What about you surprises new students and/or colleagues?
What my initial “A” stands for – ANANTHANARAYANAN – and that it’s really not that difficult to pronounce!
Coffee or Tea? And how do you take it?
Coffee definitely! Sometimes with milk and just black at other times.