The “SERVSIG Best Services Article Award” is presented annually by SERVSIG to the author(s) of the best article in the services literature published during the previous calendar year. SERVSIG thanks the following committee members for their commitment and their work:

Lerzan Aksoy (chair), Matthew Alexander, Marion Büttgen,  Jiun-Sheng Chris Lin, Claudia Simoes

Every year, the SERVSIG Board invites new volunteers to serve on the various awards committees. In the true SERVSIG spirit of inclusion, the SERVSIG Board members invite SERVSIG community members to serve and follow the defined award procedures (making sure to have representatives from various universities, continents, expertise, etc.). Based on the received proposals from the community and a defined procedure the award committee members chose the recipient.  They subsequently inform the SERVSIG board and the results are shared at the Frontiers in Service Conference. The past year’s winners and the followed procedures can be checked out here

SERVSIG Best Services Article Award for 2018

Huang, Ming-Hui and Roland Rust (2018), “Artificial Intelligence in Service” Journal of Service Research, Vol. 21 (2), pp 155-172

Abstract:Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly reshaping service by performing various tasks, constituting a major source of innovation, yet threatening human jobs. We develop a theory of AI job replacement to address this double-edged impact. The theory specifies four intelligences required for service tasks—mechanical, analytical, intuitive, and empathetic—and lays out the way firms should decide between humans and machines for accomplishing those tasks. AI is developing in a predictable order, with mechanical mostly preceding analytical, analytical mostly preceding intuitive, and intuitive mostly preceding empathetic intelligence. The theory asserts that AI job replacement occurs fundamentally at the task level, rather than the job level, and for “lower” (easier for AI) intelligence tasks first. AI first replaces some of a service job’s tasks, a transition stage seen as augmentation, and then progresses to replace human labor entirely when it has the ability to take over all of a job’s tasks. The progression of AI task replacement from lower to higher intelligences results in predictable shifts over time in the relative importance of the intelligences for service employees. An important implication from our theory is that analytical skills will become less important, as AI takes over more analytical tasks, giving the “softer” intuitive and empathetic skills even more importance for service employees. Eventually, AI will be capable of performing even the intuitive and empathetic tasks, which enables innovative ways of human–machine integration for providing service but also results in a fundamental threat for human employment.

Best Service Paper Finalist 2019

Wirtz, J., P. G. Patterson, W. H. Kunz, T. Gruber, V.N. Lu, S. Paluch, and A. Martins (2018), “Brave new world: service robots in the frontline,” Journal of Service Management, Vol 29 (5), pp 907-931

Wirtz, J. and V. Zeithaml (2018), “Cost-effective service excellence” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 46 (1), pp 59-80

Caic, M., Odekerken-Schröder, G., and D. Mahr (2018). “Service robots: value co-creation and co-destruction in elderly care networks,” Journal of Service Management, Vol. 29 (2), pp. 178-205.


  • General topics may include (but are not limited to) services marketing and services management. The article should have appeared in an English language refereed journal during the last complete year.
  • Candidates for a SERVSIG Award do not have to be a member of SERVSIG or the AMA to be eligible or to win.
  • Candidates may be from anywhere in the world. From the beginning, SERVSIG has sought to be globally oriented and globally active.
  • Candidates for the awards do not have to be academics. SERVSIG recognizes the vital link between academe and business practice.

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