Guest article by Jeroen Schepers.
It is with pleasure that I contribute to this SERVSIG academic role model series. Thanks, Yves, for your nomination and kind words! Just like the previous writers, I have been struggling with the balance between giving some people an accolade, and not appearing unthankful to those colleagues and friends whom I did not explicitly mention by name. To get that last bit out of the way: Over the past years, I have been priviliged to work with many talented colleagues and I have gathered unique insights from each and everyone of them. Moreover, to me, a research project has been successful not only if it uncovers new insights and lands in a respectable journal, but also when the road towards this end point has been an enjoyable one. Luckily, I shared countless jokes and hilarious moments with my co-authors and many other friends of the service community in places like Eindhoven, Mannheim, Zaragoza, Milan, Thessaloniki, Helsinki, Las Vegas, just to name a few… thanks to all of you for making our work fun, yet meaningful!
Still, I want to specifically mention two people who have inspired me, and still do. First, back in the days, Ko de Ruyter was co-promotor in my PhD project. Or should I say Ko-promotor? I have been very impressed by his keen eye for hot topics, new concepts, and trending developments in the service field. It is also quite amazing how Ko can, quite effortlessly and on-the-spot, translate thoughts and ideas into a concrete research design with a compelling positioning in literature. And this magic all happens in his laid-back, yet energizing style. Together with the dedicated writing guidance of Ad de Jong and the methodological knowledge of Martin Wetzels, these skills have been an indispensable resource in my PhD and laid the foundation for my further development as a scholar.
Once we get further into our career, the focus is no longer solely on research but managerial duties become an increasingly important part of the show. Also balancing the many responsibilities with research, and taking decisions on one’s personal and others’ development gain salience. Someone who has tremendously helped me in this domain is Fred Langerak. As a Professor of Product Development and Management, he is probably not the best known person to the service community, but he has the same open and supportive attitude that is so characteristic of the large majority of service scholars. Fred has an incredible capability to see through all the details of any situation (from reviewer issues to departmental politics), to practice clear-cut communication, to balance emotion and rational arguments, and to be flexible while maintaining moral principles. Although this combination of skills scores high on the VRIO framework, I’m trying to master this set too ?
Ko and Fred are two people that have been very valuable to my development as a scholar, but like I said, there are many more friends without whom my work would be much harder, in many ways. To give some of them a chance to share their thoughts on their role models, I am nominating Arne de Keyser and Daniel Belanche to share their thoughts.
Jeroen J.L. Schepers
Associate Professor of Frontline Service and Innovation
Eindhoven University of Technology