Rebekah Russell-Bennett and Mark Rosenbaum, co-editors of the Journal of Services Marketing (JSM) are very pleased to announce and congratulate the winners of the award for the outstanding paper and authors of the three highly commended papers published in 2019, as well as the three best reviewers for that year. We join them in congratulating the winners and recognising their contribution to the service field.

Most Outstanding Paper

Martina Čaić, Dominik Mahr, and Gaby Oderkerken-Schröder (2019) “Value of social robots in services: social cognition perspective”

The technological revolution in the service sector is radically changing the ways in which and with whom consumers co-create value. This conceptual paper considers social robots in elderly care services and outlines ways in which their human-like affect and cognition influence users’ social perceptions and anticipations of robots’ value co-creation or co-destruction potential. A future research agenda offers relevant, conceptually robust directions for stimulating the advancement of knowledge and understanding in this nascent field.
Drawing from service, robotics and social cognition research, this paper develops a conceptual understanding of the value co-creation/destruction potential of social robots in services.
Three theoretical propositions construct an iterative framework of users’ evaluations of social robots in services. First, social robots offer users value propositions leveraging affective and cognitive resources. Second, users’ personal values become salient through interactions with social robots’ affective and cognitive resources. Third, users evaluate social robots’ value co-creation/destruction potential according to social cognition dimensions.
Social robots in services are an emerging topic in service research and hold promising implications for organizations and users. This relevant, conceptually robust framework advances scholarly understanding of their opportunities and pitfalls for realizing value. This study also identifies guidelines for service managers for designing and introducing social robots into complex service environments.

Highly Commended Papers

Raechel Johns, and Janet Davey (2019) “Introducing the Transformative Service Mediator: value creation with vulnerable consumers”

The purpose of this study is to identify the role of mediators in supporting value co-creation for vulnerable consumers in a service context. The authors propose that in transformative services, the roles of actor mediators facilitate control and empowerment for the vulnerable consumer – labelling these transformative service mediators (TSMs).
The authors develop a theoretical framework for the activities of mediators in value co-creation considering the interrelationships of vulnerability, structure and agency. The authors then use Prahalad and Ramaswamy’s DART (Dialogue, Access, Risk Assessment and Transparency) model as the integrating framework to describe the TSM roles in the context of the foster care service ecosystem.
The authors introduce a future research agenda regarding TSM roles in transformational service experiences and value co-creation with vulnerable consumers. Service researchers and providers are encouraged to explore effective training and motivation of TSMs.
Understanding value co-creation for vulnerable consumers is an emerging area in service research. The TSM concept introduces a new approach to explore how value co-creation and transformative outcomes can be enhanced in service contexts where consumers experience vulnerability.
This paper presents an agenda for future research. The outcomes of future research based on TSM roles may help guide service providers in identifying opportunities for enhancing well-being and reducing vulnerability in service delivery.
This paper suggests that exploring the role of TSMs in the service process offers new insights into reducing vulnerability in service relationships.

Gaurangi Laud, Liliana Bove, Chatura Ranaweera, Cheryl Leo, Jill Sweeney, and Sandra Smith (2019) “Value co-destruction: A typology of resource misintegration manifestations”

Actors who participate in co-created service experiences typically assume that they will experience improved well-being. However, a growing body of literature demonstrates that the reverse is also likely to be true, with one or more actors experiencing value co-destruction (VCD), rather than value co-creation, in the service system. Building on the notion of resource misintegration as a trigger of the VCD process, this paper offers a typology of resource misintegration manifestations and to present a dynamic conceptualization of the VCD process.
A systematic, iterative VCD literature review was conducted with a priori aims to uncover the manifestations of resource misintegration and illustrate its connection to VCD for an actor or actors.
Ten distinct manifestations of resource misintegration are identified that provide evidence or an early warning sign of the potential for negative well-being for one or more actors in the service system. Furthermore, a dynamic framework illustrates how an affected actor uses proactive and reactive coping and support resources to prevent VCD or restore well-being.
The study presents a typology of manifestations of resource misintegration that signal or warn of the potential for VCD, thus providing an opportunity to prevent or curtail the VCD process. 

Nanouk Verhulst, Hendrik Slabbinck, and Iris Vermeir (2019) “Boosting service performance by dark chocolate seduction”

Past research suggests that small details during a service may have a big impact on the service experience. Drawing from this literature, this study aims to test the impact of offering dark chocolate during a service on service performance outcomes.
Three scenario-based studies and one field study tested the hypotheses. The scenario-based experiments varied in both service context (e.g. restaurant and mobile phone store) and service quality.
Eating dark chocolate positively impacts service performance outcomes. This effect is fully mediated through mood. However, this effect disappears in negative valenced service encounters.
This paper makes a unique contribution, by testing whether changing a small detail at the start of a service improves mood and, in turn, customers’ outcomes in different service quality contexts.

Outstanding Reviewers

·         Kimmy W. Chan (Hong Kong Baptist University)
·         Arne De Keyser (EDHEC Business School) 
·         Paul Harrigan (University of Western Australia) 

Previous JSM Excellence awards
2012 JSM Award
2013 JSM Award
2016 JSM Award
2018 JSM Award