Guest article by Sertan Kabadayi, PhD 

go to the photo gallery here and here.

“Achieving Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Service Research”

Let’s Talk About Service (LTAS) workshop is a unique event that aims to introduce Ph.D. students and junior scholars to the wonderful world of service research and to guide them through their journey in academia.
The 8th edition of LTAS was held at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business in New York City on Dec 4-6, 2019. This was the second time LTAS was held in outside of Belgium and Gabelli had the pleasure of hosting it for the second time.
[See the impressions from all previous editions on]

This year’s workshop was organized by Sertan Kabadayi, Professor of Marketing and Area Chair at Gabelli School of Business and its theme was “Achieving Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Service Research”. Per LTAS tradition, the event kicked off with the welcome reception on the evening of December 4 at Fordham’s Law School Building, looking over NYC’s Lincoln Center. The participants and the speakers got together at the reception and the festivities began!
The sessions on Thursday morning started with Dr. Kabadayi’s welcome speech, followed by a brief presentation about the history, role, and positioning of LTAS by Bart Lariviere and Annouk Lievens, two of the original founders of LTAS. Wafa Hammedi, the third co-founder, could not be at this year’s LTAS as she just had welcomed a baby boy a few weeks before the workshop.


The first speaker was Jay Kandampully, another LTAS tradition, and he talked about the role of service researchers in doing multidisciplinary service research. Then Stephanie Noble talked about her own journey over the years in doing research that covers different disciplines like services and retailing and summarized some of the benefits and challenges of doing such research. After a break where the participants had the chance to socialize and network with each other, Mike Brady took the perspective of a journal editor in his discussion of multidisciplinary service research. The last speaker of the morning session was Linda Alkire, the co-chair of SERVSIG. Using her own already impressive research experience and including some quotes from her co-authors from the social entrepreneurship field, Linda shared her experience of doing multidisciplinary research.

While all the talks and sessions are important, one important component of LTAS is undoubtedly food! On Thursday, the participants had their lunch at the Atrium at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.

The afternoon sessions started with Mahesh Subramony’s presentation. Making his LTAS debut, Mahesh talked about how his background in the industry shaped his multidisciplinary research later. Then, unlike other sessions, a duo shared the stage. Maura Scott and Martin Mende co-presented their joint journey where they brought together their individual research interests from services and consumer behavior disciplines. After this joint presentation, Maura Scott came back to the stage, this time as a single presenter, and talked about how service research could fit into the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.

Since the participants submitted the names of the theories and theoretical frameworks as part of their application package, the organizing committee decided to give some participants a chance to briefly present their not-so-commonly-used theories in service research to the entire audience. So, five participants, Mathieu Lajante, Harrison Pugh, Bram Roosens, Ellen Sousa and Hannu Tikkanen, closed the official program of the first day with their presentations!

After this long day of listening and learning came the fun part of the LTAS. The participants walked all the way from the Fordham campus to NYC’s world-famous Times Square. The dinner was at the View Restaurant on the 47th floor of the Marriott Marquis Hotel and they enjoyed food and the amazing 360-degree views of the NYC skyline on that rotating restaurant.

The second day started with the speech by Donna Rapaccioli, the Dean of Gabelli School of Business, where the Dean emphasized the importance that Gabelli puts on service research that is very well aligned with Fordham’s Jesuit values. Then, Mark Rosenbaum, in a very inspirational talk, discussed how working on consulting projects in different parts of the world inspired his successfully published multidisciplinary projects.
Ray Fisk, the founder of SERVSIG, was the final speaker and he talked about how service research can address some of the problems that the world faces today. He emphasized that we need more multi- and transdisciplinary research as no single discipline is enough to address those ever growing problems.

The lunch on Friday was at one of NYC’s renowned restaurants, Rosa Mexicano where the participants tasted great family style Southwestern and Tex Mex food.

Then, the participants in five teams started working on the workshop component of LTAS. This year’s workshop had three stages:
– First, each participant spent some time with others who shared same or very similar research interests.
– In stage two, participants spent time in randomly assigned teams with others who do not share their research interests.
– In the final stage, they went back to their original teams to share what they learned from others in stage two and to come up with some research ideas.
At the end of the day, each team presented their research ideas to the entire audience for feedback. As expected, all five themes did quite an impressive job in such a limited time and got praise and constructive feedback for their ideas.

This year’s LTAS closed with a brief celebration and of course with glasses of champagne where all participants cheered for the completion of another successful edition of LTAS.
The 9th edition of LTAS will be held at the University of Hasselt in Belgium on December 9-11,2020. See you there!

I personally feel privileged for organizing and hosting the LTAS for the second time at Gabelli School of Business. I would like to thanks Bart, Annouk and Wafa for trusting me with this important task. I would like to thank all the speakers who tremendously contributed to this year’s edition. Of course big thanks go to Aida Lahood, who as always helped me organize this event and took care of every logistical detail. Finally, big thanks to our participants. Once again, by seeing all these enthusiastic and bright young ervice scholars I feel confident for the future of services field.

Sertan Kabadayi
Professor of Marketing,
Marketing Area Chair,
Gabelli School of Business-Fordham University

go to the photo gallery here and here.