guest article by Sarah Köcher, finalist of the best dissertation Award 2019

Over the past two decades, rapid advances in technology and the omnipresence of the Internet have led to a fundamental change in our shopping behavior. While purchase behavior in traditional bricks-and-mortar stores is constricted by, for instance, limited retail spaces and finite opening hours, the Internet enables customers to shop anything, anytime, and anywhere. Moreover, while in the past, consumers were reliant on the quality of sales people’s advice or recommendations from their friends, they can now share their experiences and opinions about products, services, companies, and brands on a variety of websites with anyone. As a consequence, customers can easily access numerous online reviews at the click of a mouse. For example, TripAdvisor’s website offers more than 600 million reviews covering about 7.5 million accommodations, airlines, attractions, and restaurants, to 455 million unique users each month (TripAdvisor 2018).

As a young researcher and as someone who loves to shop online, several questions came to my mind as a customer; questions I wanted to answer as an academic. An abundance of research has shown that consumers’ inferences from online ratings are determined by average ratings (e.g., Chevalier and Mayzlin 2006; Dellarocas, Zhang, and Awad 2007; Godes and Mayzlin 2004), the number of ratings (e.g., Liu 2006; Moe and Trusov 2011; Zhu and Zhang 2010), as well as the dispersion in rating scores (e.g., He and Bond 2015; Sun 2012). Adding to this stream of literature, my studies demonstrate a tendency to use the mode – i.e., the most frequent rating a product has received – as a heuristic basis when drawing inferences from online rating distributions in such a way that product evaluations inferred from rating distributions with an equal average, standard deviation, and number of ratings systematically vary by the location of the mode. Thus, my work contributes to extant literature studying the impacts of product and service ratings in online shopping behavior. To collect the data for my studies I employed a variety of methods, ranging from experimental consumer studies, over an eye-tracking study, to secondary data from online platforms making it even more fun to conduct the research.

Furthermore, one of the key factors responsible for the enormous popularity of online reviews is that they are deemed highly credible and trustworthy (e.g., de Langhe, Fernbach, and Lichtenstein 2016; Jiménez and Mendoza 2013; Sen and Lerman 2007); despite the fact that they mostly stem from unknown strangers. Given that consumers heavily rely on online ratings – and honestly, this has been true for me as well – I was curious to learn whether such ratings can actually reflect the true quality of a product or a service: Surprisingly, I found that they do much less than one would expect.

As an academic, you always aim at publishing your research in high-quality journals. Thus, I was very delighted that one of my doctoral dissertation papers[1] was already published while finishing my PhD. Additionally, I found it rewarding to see that also the public was interested in my work and that it was also relevant to people outside academia in particular with respect to consumer protection. I felt honored that the media[2] reported about my doctoral work in (online) newspapers and that I was invited to talk about our research in TV and radio shows[3]. Finally, one of the best things was to have the opportunity to present my work around the world, to meet inspiring scholars and to start new projects aside from my doctoral research. I am very thankful for all the support I have received from my supervisors, colleagues, friends, and family and am very excited to continue my journey as an academic. I believe the most important thing – not only in academic life – is to be curious and passionate about what you do and to make an impact on people’s lives. This is why in particular service research caught my attention and I am grateful to be able to work in this fascinating field of research.

Dr. Sarah Köcher
Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Marketing, TU Dortmund University, Germany


[1] Köcher, Sarah and Sören Köcher (2018), “Should We Reach for the Stars? Examining the Convergence between Online Product Ratings and Objective Product Quality and Their Impacts on Sales Performance,” Journal of Marketing Behavior, 3 (2), 167-183.

[1] e.g.:,

[1] e.g.:


Photo: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Chevalier, Judith A., and Dina Mayzlin (2006), “The Effect of Word of Mouth on Sales: Online Book Reviews,” Journal of Marketing Research, 43 (August), 345–359.

De Langhe, Bart, Philip M. Fernbach, and Donald R. Lichtenstein (2016), “Navigating by the Stars: Investigating the Actual and Perceived Validity of Online User Ratings,” Journal of Consumer Research, 42 (April), 817–833.

Dellarocas, Chrysanthos, Xiaoquan M. Zhang, and Neveen Awad (2007), “Exploring the Value of Online Product Reviews in Forecasting Sales: The Case of Motion Pictures,” Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21 (Fall), 23–45.

Godes, David, and Dana Mayzlin (2004), “Using Online Conversations to Study Word-of-Mouth Communication,” Marketing Science, 23 (November), 545–560.

He, Stephen X., and Samuel D. Bond (2015), “Why is the Crowd Divided? Attribution for Dispersion in Online Word of Mouth,” Journal of Consumer Research, 41 (April), 1509–1527.

Jiménez, Fernando R., and Norma A. Mendoza (2013), “Too Popular to Ignore: The Influence of Online Reviews on Purchase Intentions of Search and Experience Products,” Journal of Interactive Marketing, 27 (August), 226–235.

Liu, Yong (2006), “Word of Mouth for Movies: Its Dynamics and Impact on Box Office Revenue,” Journal of Marketing, 70 (July), 74–89.

Moe, Wendy W., and Michael Trusov (2011), “The Value of Social Dynamics in Online Product Ratings Forums,” Journal of Marketing Research, 48 (June), 444–456.

Sen, Shahana, and Dawn Lerman (2007), “Why Are You Telling Me This? An Examination into Negative Consumer Reviews on the Web,” Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21 (Fall), 76–94.

Sun, Monic (2012), “How Does the Variance of Product Ratings Matter?” Management Science, 58 (April), 696–707.

TripAdvisor (2018), “About TripAdvisor” (accessed April 17, 2018), [available at].

Zhu, Feng, and Xiaoquan Zhang (2010), “Impact of Online Consumer Reviews on Sales: The Moderating Role of Product and Consumer Characteristics,” Journal of Marketing, 74 (March), 133–148.

Doctoral dissertation:

Köcher, Sarah (2018), Reaching for the Stars: Consumers’ Interpretations of Online Rating Distributions and their Validity as an Indicator of Product Quality (

Stages in the Initial Review of a Future Masterpiece

Guest article by Mahesh Subramony, best reviewer 2017 of JSR

It is “that letter” – you know the one I am talking about . . . the one that fills you with excitement, then dread, followed by disappointment (or mild ecstasy), and then frustration (or resolve). The first decision from the Action Editor could be a rejection or a revise and resubmit, but either way, authors are typically astounded by the inability of anonymous reviewers to truly recognize the lucidity of the theoretical arguments or rigor of the methodology.

What is reviewer 2 really thinking? What gives reviewer 2 the competence to say what he/she just said? Who is reviewer 2 anyway? For the purpose of this article, I am reviewer 2, and let me reveal to you what goes on in my mind during various stages of the review process.

Stage 1. Agree to review the submission. My first reaction to an invitation to review is curiosity. After briefly scanning the title, I decide whether this submission is within my area of competence, and then scroll down to the abstract to confirm my intuition of fit/misfit. Abstracts that clearly convey the objective, methodology, and results of the study, without *any* grammatical errors are ready for my review if and only if, they also have something new to say about a particular topic. Submissions that simply state the obvious (e.g., when customers are happy, they are also loyal; employees who are busy have less time to spend on customers; bullied employees are unhappy employees) and test these propositions using cross-sectional survey data, don’t make my cut. I am not saying that these are not worthwhile topics, just they are not of enough interest to the reviewer who will invest a significant part of his/her day reading and commenting on the manuscript.

Stage 2. Reading the manuscript. The first three pages of the manuscript need to fully state the case for the study. Upon reading these pages, reviewer 2 should be able to answer the following questions: What is this study about? What theoretical questions does this study purport to answer? Do the authors have mastery over the literature and highlight the main gaps/opportunities? Is the methodology rigorous (i.e., are the sample size and characteristics appropriate to investigate the problem?)? I am fairly confident that most reviewers can accurately predict whether the submission stands a chance of a revise and resubmit (R/R) after a thorough reading of the first three pages. Is that fair? Is it not possible that all the gems are hidden in the middle of the manuscript? I would urge you to think of the most recent fiction or non-fiction book that you returned to the library unread. What led you to borrow it in the first place, what made you turn the first few pages and then decide to not read it anymore? Could it be that it was not interesting or relevant, or that it was not well-written, or inappropriately biased in favor of or against a certain viewpoint? Reviewers are readers too.

Stage 3. Looking for rigor and consistency. If the manuscript explores an important topic using appropriate methods, I start looking for an internally consistent story that is built upon the foundations of rigorous theory and research. I like hypotheses that emerge from theory, not ones that seem to have been force-fitted into the manuscript. Research is an uncertain enterprise and a lot of times our data does not yield to the theorized relationships (e.g., employee customer-orientation does not predict customer loyalty). It is absolutely fine to find the absence of a hypothesized relationship. If the authors have conducted the study with rigor, typically with data from multiple sources, with time lags, included adequate controls, and carefully considered the context, an absence of a relationship can mean several things including the presence of suppressors or moderators and the limitations of the theory itself. Once again, that is perfectly cool. What is *not cool* is when the hypotheses are twisted post-facto to suggest a counter-intuitive finding, or when variables are dropped from the study to allow the emergence of significant results. Really? Hermione was in love with Draco all along?

Stage 4. Writing the review. I have faith in the transformative power of developmental reviews. A review that is straightforward (not irritable or condescending) in its tone, rich in content (with relevant references and leads for the author), and open to challenge, can turn adequate submissions into impactful articles. I attempt to write reviews that assure authors who are asking interesting questions that their work needs a certain limited number (usually 4-5) changes to contribute to the body of literature; and try to guide others toward more fruitful explorations. Maybe manuscript X requires an additional study or a different methodology, perhaps the research question needs to be recrafted, the literature needs to be comprehensively reviewed . . . I like to write such reviews because, as a researcher, I have always benefited from reading ones that embody these characteristics. Writing can be often be a lonely process and the blind review process should produce clear and objective external-feedback from friendly critics with tough standards.

I hope to write about the revise and resubmit process, and the action-editors’ perspective on manuscripts in a future article. Until then, I wish us all an engaging and developmental review process.

Mahesh Subramony is Associate Professor of Management at Northern Illinois University and Director at the Centerof Human Capital Management.


guest article by Heiko Gebauer

Being a service researcher means thinking about your next research question, most appropriate theoretical lenses, and best-suited research methods. In addition, we think that it is important to decide about your research priorities. Service research in low-income countries has become a research priority, which has been phrased a number of ways: transformative services, services for base-of-the-pyramid markets, or servicing the underserved. It is related to broader topics such social innovations, sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and market-based perspectives on poverty alleviation.

We believe that it is a highly relevant and very interesting topic. On one hand, there is a set of successful practices on providing outstanding services in this context:

  • Grameen Bank pioneered micro-credit services, which became an outstanding success for alleviating poverty.
  • Indian Dhabawallas provide highly reliable food delivery services in the densely-populated megacity Mumbai, despite being mostly illiterate.
  • Half a million people make their living as waste pickers in Brazil. They are vital for the mostly informal waste recycling network, which guarantees that most of the waste is actually reused.

On the other hand, there is a lack of services:

  • 4 billion people lack access to sanitation services
  • Hundreds of millions of people lack access to safe and affordable water, health services, and reliable energy

What does it mean to do service research in low-income countries?

First of all, it means that you work in a highly unpredictable, and risky environment. Our research project about safe water provision in Nepal was affected by the earthquake in February 2015 and the political challenges afterwards. Our work in Ethiopia was put on hold for a couple of months due to political riots. Our field visit for collecting data on sanitation services in Burkina Faso was just a few weeks before a terrorist attack in the capital Ouagadougou. Our collaboration partner SOIL, which provides sanitation services in urban slums in Haiti, suffered from hurricane Matthew. Because of climate change, our collaboration partner, Springhealth, which provides water services in India, faced a severe draught drying-out many water sources. Our entire team does research, despite such circumstances.

Second, it means that you, as a service researcher, make a difference, and create an impact. Despite the challenges, it is very encouraging to see that our collaboration partners are successful in various dimensions.

Our partners on container-based sanitation services (e.g., Loowatt, Sanergy, Sanivation, Sanivation, and x-runner) are successfully scaling up the provision of affordable sanitation services.

Many of our partners providing safe drinking water through community-based water systems, water shops, and household filters have successfully moved beyond the pilot phase. They were able to overcome the often-used expression that pilots never fail, but also never scale. Hydrologic demonstrated that it is possible to sell a few hundred thousand aspirational household filters by bundling these filters with microfinance services to the Cambodian low-income segment.

SwissFreshWater successfully deploys a pay-per-use service (selling water as a service), instead of selling the water treatment equipment. Such a pay-per-use service is embedded into a franchise model, which has attracted 120 entrepreneurs who want to operate a franchise water shop. They sell safe drinking water to more than 100’000 people, who previously had to drink brackish water from wells and boreholes containing fluoride, arsenic, heavy metals such as mercury and, of course, salt. Such water causes, in addition, hypertension, fluorosis, cancer, etc.

Third, it means interdisciplinary work. For example, we can only investigate safe water provision, if we involve engineers to verify that the water treatment system is actually functioning and natural scientists to reliably measure water contamination before and after the treatment. Such interdisciplinary research means to reach out to these other disciplines. To do so, we attend conferences outside our service community. We hold presentations at Stockholm World Water Week, the Water and Health Conference at University of North Carolina, the Base of the Pyramid Summit in Singapore and the African Academy of Management Conference. We can also leverage the expertise of academics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and technology, where we are housed. Over the last few years, we published in engineering and natural science journals as well as journals that have a focus on the developing countries. This pushes us out of our comfort zone, because we have to adapt the way we publish so that our research can reach a variety of audiences. In our presentations outside of the service research community, we answer questions from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank about what service research can really contribute to their challenges. Seeing that the WHO states that a better understanding of services to alleviate poverty is needed, we think that we are on the right track.

Fourth, such audiences do not only include various academic disciplines. It also means to write for practitioners and policy makers. For example, together with the German Development Bank, we wrote a policy letter for the Ministry for Development about how to approach sanitation challenges from a service system perspective.

Fifth, it means working with local service researchers. Consider our major service conferences (e.g., SERVSIG, QUIS or Frontiers), there are still not many participants from Asia, Africa, or Latin America. For a long period of time, Javier Reynoso from Monterrey in Mexico was more or less the only representative. Jay Kandapully’s IRSSM conference for developing service researchers in lower income countries by building bridges between developed, newly industrializing, and low-income countries will have its 8th meeting in 2017. This is an interesting starting point to get better connected with local researchers. We have built our network of research partners and we are happy for their support.

Sixth, a lot of our work relies on involving institutions that are beyond the typical scope of service research. We collaborate with the World Bank, German Development Bank, German Developing Collaboration, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Swiss Church Aid. Such collaborations are highly challenging, because we always have to manage the trade-off between practically relevant and academically rigorous research.

To tackle these issues, our entire team does a great job and tried to enhance service research. If you are interested in learning more about our research, do not hesitate to contact us: [email protected]

I would like to thank my entire team for all their work: Caroline, Mirella, Simon and Gregoire.


Heiko Gebauer
eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Research
CTF – Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Sweden
Linkoping University, Sweden


Gebauer, H., Haldimann, M. & Saul, C.J. (2017). Business model innovations for overcoming barriers in the base-of-the-pyramid market. Industry and Innovation,

Gebauer, H., Saul. C.J., Haldimann, M. & Gustafsson, A. (2017). Organizational capabilities for pay-per-use services in product-oriented companies. International Journal of Production Economics,

Witell, L., Gebauer, H., Jaakkola, E., Hammedi, W., Patricio, L. & Perks, H. (2017). A bricolage perspective on service innovation. Journal of Business Research,

Gebauer, H. & Saul, C. (2014). Business model innovation in the water sector in developing countries, Science of the Total Environment, 488(1), 512-520.

Gebauer, H. & Reynoso, J. (2013). An agenda for service research at the base of the pyramid. Journal of Service Management, 24(1), 482-502.

guest article by Robert 
Ciuchita, finalist of the SERVSIG Best Dissertation Award 2017 (granted by Maastricht U)

“Engagement is becoming paramount. A marketer’s greatest achievement is an engaged customer”. The Economist Intelligence Unit [EIU] (2015)
As the above quote illustrates, customer engagement is an attractive concept for managers. Finding new or better ways to engage customers or to keep customers engaged are managerial concerns brought up in numerous business press and market analysts’ reports. Not surprisingly, to address these concerns many management consultancies have developed engagement-focused units where digitalization plays a key role. Nevertheless, allow me to direct your attention to the very next phrase in the EIU report: “And because an engaged customer keeps coming back, engagement is defined most often in terms of sales and repeat sales.” Most scholars working on engagement will probably cringe at that phrase, because it reflects why engagement is an attractive idea for managers, but a risky proposition in the academic world: it means different things to different people. Engagement-sceptics will challenge how engagement differs from established concepts such as customer loyalty or how it relates to emerging concepts such as customer experience. With service research at the forefront of theorizing engagement, the conversation about conceptualizing, defining and measuring engagement (a MSI priority during 2014 – 2016) is ongoing.

After a couple of years of grappling with the issues above, I am still very much intrigued by engagement and look forward to more research widening and deepening our understanding of this fascinating topic. For that purpose I would like to suggest three research opportunities that surfaced while I was toiling over my doctoral dissertation:

(1) service innovation is a rich ground to study engagement;

(2) some under-researched digital services are engagement-prone and

(3) the dynamic nature of engagement is what makes it most exciting.

When I talk about “our research”, I refer to projects I conducted as a doctoral student at Maastricht University in the Netherlands alongside Dominik Mahr, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder and Martin Wetzels.

Opportunity 1: Studying engagement with service innovation

Brands and organizations constitute the preferred object for empirically studying engagement, but it might be useful to consider other objects of engagement. Inspired by the information systems idea of the IT artefact, I suggest service research would benefit from studying engagement with digital service innovation. Service innovation boils down to introducing new services or renewing existing services and is a key strategic asset for service providers. Moreover, digitalization makes it easier and faster for service providers to innovate. My suggestion is to consider the role of engagement in why and how consumers accept and continue using digital innovation. In our research for instance we investigate engagement with contactless mobile payment, a new-to-the-market service innovation that has the potential to revolutionize brick-and-mortar retail. We find that driving engagement with this innovation is contingent on the service ecosystem supporting mobile payment made up of users, retailers and technology providers. That hints at the role engagement with service innovation plays in building engagement platforms: customer engagement with specific brands, or specific service providers might not be enough for digital service innovation to take off. Consider for instance of the difficulties Apple Pay has been facing to reach widespread usage in an ecosystem it does not control.

Opportunity 2: Studying more engagement-prone contexts

Social media has emerged as the natural environment to study engagement (e.g., in practice, “likes” and “shares” are labelled engagement metrics), but other contexts that require increased user participation might provide interesting grounds for studying engagement. Inspired by human-computer interaction research, I suggest service research would benefit from studying other highly interactive engagement contexts such as video games. An example of digital service innovation, video games are especially engagement-prone because the actual purchase of a video game is only the beginning of the user experience. Furthermore, most video games have a relatively limited lifespan in single-player mode (i.e., when gamers individually play the story-line developed by the game publisher). Nevertheless, the multiplayer mode (i.e., when users play with and against other users from all over the world in real time) offers almost endless possibilities. Add to that the opportunities to “quantify” engagement courtesy of technological developments (e.g., latest generation consoles, virtual reality head-sets etc.). In our research for instance we draw on telemetry (i.e., longitudinal data that observes individual players’ actions while playing a video game) – to determine what keeps players engaged with a multiplayer ego shooter such as Call of Duty. Our results show that player engagement and the in-game experiences reinforce each other over time, a perspective that has been recently advocated in conceptual research.

Opportunity 3: Studying the dynamic nature of engagement

Finally, the area of research I am most excited about concerns the dynamic nature of engagement. That is because while digital service innovation accelerates service lifecycles, it can also have unexpected consequences for consumers over time. Consider for instance how a social media innovation such as the Facebook Timeline has altered the way we consume news. Recent studies have made valuable steps in theorizing the dynamic nature of engagement, so empirical studies looking into how engagement unfolds over time would be very welcomed. Our research for instance shows that while users of a video game can have very different individual engagement trajectories, a common engagement trajectory can be determined across all users within one month after the game’s introduction. Additionally, service research would benefit from uncovering what actions taken by service providers can increase or decrease engagement.Our research for instance suggests that service innovation can also have detrimental consequences for engagement. Nevertheless, service providers can help their customers better deal with the introduction of innovation by encouraging the use of coping strategies. Bringing my two recommendations together, one of the most interesting opportunities to dynamically study engagement is to empirically determine when disengagement kicks-in and how to counter it. On a more philosophical note, does a consumer ever actually disengage?

Exciting times for studying engagement lay ahead of us. In the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard: “Let’s see what’s out there. Engage!

Robert Ciuchita
Postdoctoral Researcher | Digital Service Innovation

Maastricht University Maastricht University


The Economist Intelligence Unit [EIU] 2015. The rise of the marketer: driving engagement, experience and revenue. Available at

Guest article by Mark S. Rosenbaum 

Given that I’m currently a Professor of Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Associate Professor of Marketing at Universidad Externado de Colombia (Externado), as well as a Fulbright Scholar in Nepal and Cambodia, I have some unique insights regarding how researchers in developing, and least developing nations, develop academic research projects. I want to emphasize that the goal of this article is to highlight challenges that researchers from Industrialized nations confront when working with colleagues from developing and least developed nations; my purpose is not to denigrate international universities by any means.

picture2Verification Research vs. Interesting Research

When I work with international colleagues on brainstorming research ideas, I noticed that many naturally seek out verification studies. For example, a colleague may desire to test an established theory, such as one espoused by Michael Porter, the famous Theory of Planned Behavior, or the sacrosanct SERVQUAL model, in a new setting, say Bogota or Kathmandu. In fact, many international doctoral students assume that it is valuable research to test an established theory in their local markets. Their faculty advisors do not understand the limitations of publishing precise verification studies in leading journals. Thus, doctoral students replicate the established questionnaires, collect data, analyze the data with structural equation modeling, write the results, and then submit the study to top journals. Many students are shocked when they receive desk rejections due to a lack of a theoretical contribution. These initial rejections of doctoral research serve to dissuade many international researchers from every engaging in research afterwards, as they simply are perplexed and disillusioned with the journal requirements.

Verification studies do not get published in leading global journals. This is the bottom line reality and it’s not globally understood. A theoretical contribution is not a new sample site, no wonder how exotic the sample site may appear to be. International colleagues do not readily comprehend the meaning of a theoretical extension as opposed to theoretical testing. In my opinion, this limitation is the greatest challenge facing international marketing faculty and doctoral students and the reason why so many new academics shun global publications.

766fc676-31f6-4a4d-9576-f212c3b8de6cWhere do I find the literature?

Another challenge facing colleagues and doctoral students, in developing and least developed nations, is that most libraries in these nations cannot afford to purchase database access. Thus, researchers are depending upon Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Open access, and email queries, to obtain articles. Anyone can easily imagine the challenge here in simply gathering extant knowledge; it’s cumbersome, incomplete, and even problematic if universities lack modern computers required to open Adobe files.

In both Cambodia and Nepal, the U.S. embassies in Phnom Penh and Kathmandu offer students the ability to use a handful of on-site computers that have database access, although somewhat limited to EBSCO and JSTOR. Although this sounds wonderful, rigorous security clearances and limited computers severely limits students’ participation at U.S. Embassy libraries. The Fulbright Office in Kathmandu offered a few computers with EBSCO access; however, working MBA students often cannot leave work during the day to work at a Fulbright office.

Although partnering with universities is always a possibility, many libraries are reluctant to grant access to non-student entities. In addition, although a colleague may often volunteer to serve as a conduit for literature, in practice, the article requests from international colleagues will become very cumbersome. Until university faculty can easily obtain contemporary research articles, their ability to engage in interesting research will be severely hampered.

I encourage researchers to use ResearchGate or to post articles, when permissible, in allowable forms, so that international researchers, who have limited database access, can easily obtain current research. I realize it takes time to post articles; however, faculty need to realize the extent to which they are assisting their global colleagues by doing so.

bdb28c5f-3c1d-4a96-817a-4b57d023d309Passion for Research

University teaching in many developing foreign locales is a relatively low-paying job or one that is laden with administrative work. Unless a university is striving for accreditation (e.g., AACSB), in most cases, faculty will not have the time to engage in serious research endeavors or have the resources to do so. At best, these faculty may serve as research assistants with data collection; however, precise writing and analysis is likely not to come to fruition. Indeed, English as a second language further compounds the situation of a lack of available time and resources to engage in serious major research endeavors.

picture1Concluding thoughts

I hate to be the purveyor of negativity; however, the research challenges that I have confronted in developing and least developed nations has apprised me of the current situation. Many of us work in business schools where Deans sign memorandum of agreements with foreign universities to receive accolades. However, global faculty usually do not see the benefit of these agreements in terms of access to research faculty or to research tools.   Perhaps, we may consider how we can globalize doctoral level education. Even if the coursework was placed on a webinar, many doctoral students and faculty in developing and least developed countries remain “minus mentored.” That is, they lack readily available access to faculty who can advise them on a research program.

I’m not entirely confident regarding a solution to this reality. I know that I can pitch the ideas of partnerships, of memorandum agreements, of webinars; however, I am afraid that most of these ideas will yield little, if any substance, change. Perhaps, the reality is that many of our colleagues and doctoral students in developing and least develop nations will remain “minus mentored” for years to come. Can we, as a discipline, and, as individuals, create opportunities, similar to those espoused by the Fulbright program, by encouraging faculty and doctoral students to complete research programs. I know that the costs of this idea would be quite high. Yet, I remain steadfast in my belief that change will occur when single individuals serve as research mentors, and their networks eventually expand. Indeed, it’s the only possible solution that I envision.

Dr. Mark S. Rosenbaum is a Fullbright Scholar and
Kohl’s Corporation Professor of Retail Marketing at 
Northern Illinois University


Levent Altinay has been appointed Editor in Chief for The Service Industries Journal.

Levent Altinay is Professor of Strategy and Business Development and Research Area Leader for Oxford School of Hospitality Management. Levent’s research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship, strategic alliances and international business. He is on the editorial boards of more than twelve journals including Journal of Services Marketing, The Service Industries Journal, Management Decision and International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

sijThe Service Industries Journal is an international journal of service management. It aims to improve our knowledge of the services sector, service firms and the effective management of these firms. This multidisciplinary journal was established in 1981 as the first academic peer-reviewed journal in the world devoted to the services sector and service management.

The journal publishes research that contributes to the development of theory in the areas of management, marketing, human resources, operations management, entrepreneurship, innovation, and financial management. We seek to attract papers from researchers whose studies are informed by social sciences such as sociology, psychology, economics, law, and politics.  Contributions are especially welcomed from around the globe addressing contemporary social, economic, political and environmental issues.

Further Appointments:

The Journal Strategy Editors:
Professor Dr. M. Joseph Sirgy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech), USA
Professor Dr. Muzaffer Uysal, Isenberg School of Management, UMassAmherst, USA
Professor Gary Akehurst, Aberystwyth University, UK,

Regional Editors
Professor Dr Mark Rosenbaum, Northern Illinois University, USA
Professor Dr Ulrike Gretzel, University of Southern California, USA
Professor Dr Carlos Flavian, University of Zaragoza, Spain
Professor Dr Mark Saunders, University of Birmingham, UK
Asia Pacific
Professor Dr Youjae Yi – Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Professor Dr Cathy Hsu, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Professor Dr Noel Scott – Griffith University, Australia

Methodology Editors
Dr Melih Madanoglu, Florida Atlantic University, Department of Marketing, USA
Dr Hossein GT Olya, Sejong University, Republic of Korea

Open appointments:

  • Chinese Language Editor to offer support and assistance with the translation of the abstracts of accepted papers to Mandarin/Chinese Language.



8th International Research Symposium in Service Management
Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea
August 1-5, 2017

Program: 1 Aug (Research Workshop), 2-5 Aug (Keynotes & Presentations), 5 Aug (Tour).

Abstract submission deadline: 13 April, 2017

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-9-47-38-amCALL FOR PAPERS

Service plays a significant role in the economy as it lies at the very hub of the business activity of a country and every business in the marketplace. The global advancement of service knowledge and practice is therefore imperative in motivating the next generation of service researchers, teachers and practitioners. The international research symposium in service management (IRSSM) will bring together researchers, teachers, practitioners and students from various service sectors and provide them with a unique forum to share the latest theories and practices prevalent in dynamic service economies. It also illuminates the latest thinking in service, combined with aspects of technology, social sciences, and business.

The 8th in the series of IRSSM invites conceptual or empirical research presentations, and/or country context case studies, thus enabling both academics and practitioners to understand the socio-cultural, economic and technological influences on services. Delegates are invited to present completed research projects or work in progress. Symposium attendees will include both academicians and practitioners. Submissions and presentations must therefore address both the theoretical and practical implications of the findings. Parallel tracks of refereed presentations will enable authors to obtain constructive feedback about their study. In additions to a high quality research experience, we hope to provide a memorable social program that will give delegates the opportunity to explore the beauty of Seoul – “The city of morning calm”.

The symposium organizing committee invites one page abstract submission (maximum 350 words). All abstracts should be formatted to facilitate a double blind review process. Authors’ names and details, including names of all co-authors plus affiliations and addresses for general correspondence (including email address) of each author, topic code, and a brief biography (maximum 100 words) of the presenter should appear on a separate cover page that will be removed prior to the double blind review process. Papers may focus on any sector, but should draw from the service management or services marketing literature. No author should have more than three submissions, as either a single or a co-author. Preference will be given to those submissions that show evidence of a clear contribution to the present body of theoretical knowledge in services.

Topics of interest for the symposium include but are not limited to studies on:

  1. Service management
  2. Service innovation
  3. Service localization and globalization
  4. Service marketing and branding
  5. Service design
  6. Relationship marketing
  7. Human resources in services
  8. Accounting and financial services
  9. Transport & retailing services
  10. Tourism and hospitality services
  11. Supply chain services
  12. Communication services
  13. Professional services
  14. Sports and event services
  15. Service operations and outsourcing
  16. E-services and business
  17. Health care services
  18. Service dominant logic
  19. Public sector services
  20. “T” Shaped Thinking
  21. Health and Wellness Services
  22. Other topics in services

All abstracts should be submitted at the symposium website

All abstracts and full papers should follow the designated format which can be downloaded at the symposium website.

For any inquiry on submissions, send an email to symposium administrators at [email protected]


Abstract submission deadline: 13 April, 2017

Notification of abstract acceptance: 1 May, 2017

Extended abstract of full paper submission deadline: 1May, 2017

Notification of extended abstract of full paper acceptance: 15, May 2017

Submission of final revised paper: Registration of Authors (Early Bird): 1 May – 20 May, 2017

Registration of Authors (Regular): 20 May – 15 June, 2017

Pre-symposium research workshop: 1 August, 2017

Symposium: 2 August – 5 August, 2017


All accepted abstracts will be published in the IRSSM Proceedings, which will be distributed to all registered delegates at the time of registration.

Selected papers will be considered for publication in journals such as Journal of Service Management (JOSM) and other impact journals. Full paper submissions for the Journal should follow JOSM format style. Please see the following link to JOSM website: D=1blj7f02q3e3rggbhee2cqq2t3.  Only full paper submissions will be considered for the best paper award, young service researcher awards, and for the Journal special issue.

Competitive papers presented at the symposium will be identified by the scientific committee for further development for possible publication in the journals such as: the Journal of Service Management (JOSM), Managing Service Quality (MSQ), International Journal of Services, Economics and Management (IJSEM). Those papers identified will receive a developmental review from the scientific committee. Developmental reviews provide guidance for improvement from senior researchers. Following a revision to the satisfaction of the developmental reviewer, and based on the strength of the research, papers will be considered for further double-blind review for special issue or special section in some of the journals listed above.


The symposium best paper and three highly commended paper awards will be presented by the Journal of Service Management (JOSM) and will be selected from full paper submissions only.


The symposium will also present awards for young service researchers selected by the committee. This is a prestigious research award to motivate and support emerging researchers.


We are delighted to announce that we will have keynote speakers and panel leaders from industry and screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-9-42-40-amacademia for this event. Professor Bo Edvardsson will serve as the Keynote Speaker at the IRSSM-8. Professor Edvardsson is Founder of CTF-Service Research Centre and Vice Rector of Karlstad Univ
ersity, Sweden. He received the RESER Award “Commendation for lifetime achievement to scholarship” by The European Association for Service Research in 2008, the AMA Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award in 2004. In 2013 and 2009, Bo Edvardsson was awarded Honarary Doctorate, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Hanken. In 2008, Bo was awarded for public service with a Medal from the City of Karlstad. He also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the following journals: Journal of Service Management, International Journal of Service Theory and Practice, International Journal of Internet Marketing & Advertising, International Journal of Research in Marketing and Journal of Service Research.

Bo is a member of organizational committees of the International Symposium on Service Excellence in Management (QUIS). Bo is the former editor of Journal of Service Management. He is often invited to give keynote presentations research conferences and participate in leadership development programs. His research includes new service development and innovation, customer experience, complaint management, service eco-systems and transition from product to service in manufacturing. His journal papers have received several awards and most recently in 2016 best article winner in Journal of Service Research special issue on Transformative Service Research. Bo Edvardsson Google Scholar citations September 1st 2016 shows that Bo has 10.872 citations.


The conference fee includes: registration package, IRSSM proceedings, paper publication in Elsevier’s Procedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences (ScienceDirect online), admissions to all scientific sessions, lunches and refreshments during conferences as well as a Gala Dinner. The research workshop fee* is only for those who want to attend the workshop only. Conference registration fee includes research workshop fee. Symposium tour (Seoul) fee** will be charged separately and is to be announced. To qualify for the student rate, written proof/documentation of student status or a valid student card is required. More information regarding registration and payment can be found on the conference website.

Early Registration (before 20 May, 2015):  300,000 (Won), $300 (USD)

Early Registration for Students: 200,00 (Won), $200 (USD)

Regular Registration (21 May-15 June, 2015): 350,000 (Won), $350 (USD)

Regular Registration for Students: 250,000 (Won), $250 (USD)

Research Workshop*: 50,000 (Won), $50 (USD)

Symposium Tour**: TBA


School of Business at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea is honored to host IRSSM-8. Since its screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-9-46-24-amfounding in 1885 (130 years of history), Yonsei University has played a key role in the establishment and advancement of the higher education in Korea. Yonsei is one of Korea’s three “SKY” universities, considered the most prestigious in the country. Yonsei ranked at 81-90th best universities in the world by the 2014 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings. Composed of 23 colleges and 21 graduate schools, Yonsei is the number one comprehensive university in Korea. With 26,000 undergraduate students and 12,000 graduate students, Yonsei offers three closely integrated campuses (Shinchon, Songdo & Wonju)

Yonsei School of Business (YSB) celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. YSB is accredited by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and EQUIS (EFMD Quality Improvement System where EFMD refers to European Foundation for Management Development). YSB celebrated its completion of a new building, which was funded mostly by its alumni, in 2015.


2004-02-29_ball_point_pen_writing_2This article is part of the How-to… series brought to by Emerald Group Publishing. This is part 2 of “How to… Prepare Papers if English is not your First Language”. You find part 1 here.

Using an editing service

This means using the service of a professional editor who is not a subject expert (unlike a journal editor) but who specializes in helping authors express themselves in language that is as clear as possible, so that they can communicate with their intended audience.

They are highly skilled professionals whose work often contributes to the end product but if they are lucky, will get a modest fee and an acknowledgement in the author’s preface after everyone else. Most have heard of the American author, Ernest Hemingway, but few of his editor, Maxwell Perkins, who is actually responsible for a good part of his prose.

What types of editing are there?

Structural editing is concerned with what one might term ‘high level’ language considerations:

  • Is there a logical argument, does the paper follow a structure, does the author avoid sudden jumps in the sense (non sequiturs)?
  • Does the author avoid using words ambiguously?
  • Has the author followed the format and style requirements of the journal to which he/she is submitting?
  • Is the paper’s use of headings appropriate?
  • Ditto paragraphs?

Copy editing is concerned with such matters of language as punctuation, grammar, spelling, hyphenation, and following bibliographical style.

What is the cost involved?

You would need to discuss costs with the editor concerned who is only likely to give a quote if you send a paper by email. Costs, however, are likely to be quoted by the hour or by the page, and may vary from £18/£20 per hour (the lower end) through £25-£35 per hour up to £50 to £100 per hour (for very highly technical work).

If the editor works ‘on screen’, the rate will be higher – for example €10 per 400 word page for a paper edit and €15 for an on-screen edit, while a telephone discussion to resolve issues could cost €50 per hour. The amount of time varies too – one ‘average’ is given as €175 for a ‘standard’ 15 page article, and estimates vary between 3-4 hours to 8-12 hours.

The following professional societies’ websites should provide some guidance, but remember that this is essentially for relatively straightforward work:

It is generally worthwhile to gain an idea from the editor what level of work will be undertaken, and how thoroughly the person will edit.

“Editors are expensive – especially if you are working in a country with a weaker currency than your editor’s. (This is true for most non-European academics trying to hire editors in the UK.) Most of my clients do not pay for their editing out of their own pockets, but get the assistance of their university or another funding agency, and such funds are usually available if the author knows to whom they should make such enquiries at their university.

In e-mailing for an estimate of how much the editing will cost, you should attach the document to be edited so that the editor can see how much work is required.

Do not try to haggle with editors or to try to use guilt (‘I’m just a poor academic’) in order to intimidate the editor into reducing the quoted price – most editors are struggling to make ends meet as well. If they take jobs for less than their usual rate, they may lose money. Treat editors as you would treat other professionals, and as you would like to be treated if you were in such a position.

You should be prepared to pay the editor immediately upon receiving their work.”

Dr Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Sussex, UK

What else to expect

Most editors will consider it important to allow what is called the ‘author’s voice’ , i.e. the authentic style of the author, to show through, and it should also be remembered that much of the language may be intrinsic to the specific academic discipline rather than to natural, spoken English.

“I attempt to keep the author’s style, as far as possible, although I try to draw his attention to what I would consider would be inappropriate styles for the destined publication, with suggestions for improvement. I find that many EFL authors [those to whom English is a freign language] may write a part of a paper in one verbal tense and suddenly switch to another tense. In cases like this, I suggest whichever is the more appropriate. For example, if writing for Popular Science, I would suggest a more informal present tense style, whereas the British Medical Journal would exact more formal scientific paper style writing. This has to be agreed beforehand between the author and the editor.”

Brian W. Ellis
Specialist in scientific editing based in Cyprus

“I always remain non-intrusive for general editing, but when I feel that something is unclear or should be changed, I draw the attention of the writer to this and make suggestions in UPPER CASE. The author also then has the option of discussing these with me.”

Dr Brian Bloch
Specialist German-English editor/translator

The editor will also check the format and style of the journal to which you are submitting – so make sure you provide this information. (You can also save money by checking this yourself.)

The same goes for references – so you will save considerable time and money if you do that yourself – see our How to.. use the Harvard reference system guide.

You should not expect your editor to solve all your English problems! You may well find that they need to contact you to resolve queries, caused by ambiguities in the English.

You should not expect your editor to solve all your English problems! You may well find that they need to contact you to resolve queries, caused by ambiguities in the English.

“Often with well-written EFL, there are subtle changes of meaning that may not actually be intended. For example, if I see the word ‘anxiety’ written by a French speaker, it could cover a range of meanings from ‘anxiété’, ‘inquiétude’, ‘appréhension’ or ‘angoisse’, all of which are found as equivalents in dictionaries. For the meaning to be clear, I would need to know the original word or, at least, what the author had in mind, so that I could qualify the noun with an appropriate adjective, if necessary (or select a different word). An editor cannot second-guess an author, if he is to do a good job, and my experience dictates that such subtle changes are often more time-consuming than the poor quality original, especially as the author is more likely to wish to debate terminology or phraseology, simply because he has a better knowledge of English to start with.”

Brian W. Ellis
Specialist in scientific editing based in Cyprus

“You should not expect that the paper will be ready to submit to the journal/publisher on the day that you receive it back from the editor. In most cases, the editor will have written some queries regarding sections of the paper that were ambiguous or contradictory or that could use further information that the editor could not provide. Attending to such matters will often take a couple of days.”

Dr Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Sussex, UK


When should you contact an editor?

The general advice is first to contact the editor informally with a working draft and the promise to tidy up the English, but to get the English sorted out before entering the more formal, peer-reviewed publishing process. Note the following comment, where it is suggested that it may be a waste of time to get a relatively clear manuscript edited when its content may change as a result of editorial or peer review.

“If one is faced with a fairly good article, which obviously needs a bit of polishing but is generally quite clear, I have been inclined to say, ‘”This is good enough for an editor to make a judgement. Don’t spend money on it now’, so that the author can make sure they only spend money on the final version. It would be expensive to have a lot of correction done on an 8,000 word article, and then have the editor insist that 3,000 words are cut. In several cases I have advised that the authors check whether the editor is interested in the topic, and that they say they will have the English revised for the final version.

The other thing that one often faces is an article with reviewers’ comments with very specific suggestions for revision – elaboration of the methodology section or more developed conclusions are the most common – which I cannot do anything about without more information from the author. Why had they chosen to do it this way, or which of the possible conclusions do they favour? If I start editing at that point, I am going to get involved in a lengthy (costly) exchange with the author trying to pull the information out of them. I would normally suggest that they answer those very specific questions before I begin, so that I have everything that I need for a final edit before I start.

Thinking about it, I think that I am more than likely to refuse to edit the first version of the article I am sent – between those that I suggest are good enough for an editor to decide whether they are interested in the article in principle, and those that I ask for more information before I can start.”

Professor David Turner
Editor based in Wales

Some editors will also recommend a final edit before submission.

Book resources

If you are using English regularly as a means of communication, you need to get good reference books, in particular a grammar and a dictionary.


You will obviously need a dictionary which translates your own language into English, but you will also need a good English-English dictionary.

The type of dictionary you use will be determined by where the journal for which you are writing is based.

The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors is an invaluable and relatively inexpensive tool which is invaluable for checking the spelling of awkward words, as well as other issues of language usage such as spelling and capitalization.


  • Practical English Usage
    Michael Swan, Oxford University Press, 2005 (3rd edition), ISBN-10: 019442099/ An alphabetical guide to the most common problems of English grammar.
  • Oxford Guide to English Grammar
    John Eastwood, Oxford University Press, 1994, ISBN-10: 0194313514. A basic English grammar, organized according to parts of speech.
  • Fowler’s Modern English Usage
    R.W. Burchfield, Oxford University Press, 2004 (3rd edition), ISBN-10: 0198610211
    A more detailed alphabetical guide to English grammar.

Website resources

There are a large number of writing sites, many of them compiled by universities anxious to give their foreign students help with academic English. Much of this advice is geared to undergraduates, but there is still some useful advice. We have selected the best of them, together with other relevant sites, and the details are below. If you know of any others which you have found particularly useful, please do not hesitate to contact us.

General features of academic writing

Writing on research papers

General language

  • William Strunk’s Elements of Style
    Dating from 1918, this is one of the classics of guides to grammar and style, set out as a series of rules.
    This site takes well-known reference books on English usage, such as Fowler, American Heritage Book of English Usage, and provides a search facility. Quite why they use the 1908 version of Fowler is a mystery, and their pop-up ads are irritating, but other than that they provide a very useful site.
  • Common errors . A useful reference work where you can check usage/spelling.


Online dictionaries

    This site acts as an online dictionary in the sense that it converts words on websites into links with online dictionaries.
  • Websters online
    A free online dictionary.

Bibliographic referencing

Portal and gateway sites

  • Cambridge Language Consultants
    An editing and consulting services specialising in research publications, this excellently organized site has pages devoted to writing resources online and in print.
  • ELB Brighton. Has useful links to other sites for English for academic purposes.



Photo: Ildar Sagdejev, CC


We at SERVSIG aim to be the best platform for service researchers worldwide to keep in touch with people, events, and ideas. To reflect this goal in our organizational structure, we introduced in the last month Regional Officers for all areas where the service research community is strongly represented. The Regional Officer represents SERVSIG in local events, supports the service research community in their regional networks and acts as an additional local connection point for questions and requests in the area. Of course, the rest of the board members are still available to help. Regional Officers are meant to offer additional local support and service if needed.

We are happy to announce two new Regional SERVSIG Officers for Europe and Asia. In the following, we want to give them a chance to introduce themselves.

Lisa Brüggen – SERVSIG Officer for Europe

I am an Associate Professor of Marketing at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. My current research interests are on financial services with a special focus on pensions. I am very passionate about finding ways to increase people’s financial well-being in the short- as well as long-run. I am originally from Germany, but I already live in the Netherlands for 19 years. Since Maastricht University has a strong background in service research, I pretty much grew up with the service community.

 2016 was a special SERVSIG year for me. I was one of organizers of the 2016 SERVSIG conference in Maastricht, which was a fantastic experience. I also organized the 2016 SERVSIG doctoral consortium preceding the Frontiers in Services Conference in Bergen, together with Bart Lariviere. It is always an honor and very enjoyable to be able to work with talented, young academics. Together with Yany Gregoire, I am currently working hard to put together an excellent program for 2017. Stay tuned!

I also happy to support the community through my new role as a regional officer for Europe. Please get in touch with me in case you have any questions, comments, or ideas. I am glad to talk to you,  help, or exchange ideas! Looking forward to meeting  you!

Get to know Lisa Brueggen, our new SERVSIG Officer for Europe, better in this Video from Maastricht University.

Ming-Hui Huang – SERVSIG Officer for the Asia

Based in Taiwan, which has a strong IT manufacturing industry, I was a believer of traditional physical goods-based marketing, and considered that service simply adds value to physical goods. When I began to collaborate with Roland Rust, he often advocated that every product is a service and every firm is a service firm (so SERVSIG should stand for “service” SIG, not “services” SIG). At first I thought it was absurd, but now I fully embrace it. Over the years we have witnessed the global economy turning itself into a technology-driven service economy, and following this service revolution, I have transformed myself into a service scholar with a technology emphasis.

Reflecting this transformation, I volunteer to serve our service community as a SERVSIG officer for Asia. I am Distinguished Professor of E-Commerce at National Taiwan University, specializing in interdisciplinary research, with publications encompassing both academic and managerial journals in Marketing, Information Systems and Strategy, such as the Journal of Marketing, Marketing Science, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Sciences, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and Information & Management.

I am an AIS (Association for Information Systems) Council member, an INFORMS Service Science Section Council member, was Chair of the INFORMS Service Science Section, and served as program co-chair of the 2012 International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2012) and conference co-chair of the 2013 AMA/INFORMS Frontiers in Service Conference.

I want to extend the reach and impact of SERVSIG to Asia, an area that has demonstrated a strong growing momentum in the service economy, both in academic and in practice.

More information about Ming-Hui is here

We thank Ming-Hui and Lisa for their willingness to take over this important role for the service research community.

Lerzan Aksoy and Bart Lariviere




June 18 – June 20, 2017

Brian Wansink, Cornell University
Brennan Davis, Cal Poly
Julie L. Ozanne, University of Melbourne

Deadline: 15 November 2016

The 2017 Transformative Consumer Research (TCR) conference organizers are seeking co-chairs for individual tracks for the next TCR conference to be held at Cornell on June 18 – 20, 2017. It is our hope to connect the 2017 TCR conference with the 2017 Frontiers in Service conference to be held in New York City.

The track co-chairs will be responsible for (a) defining a specific theme or project that the track’s group members will discuss at the conference, (b) helping to select group members for the track, (c) presenting a summary of the track members’ ideas at the end of the conference, and (d) organizing the pre- and post-conference activities. Please carefully read this call because we continue to refine the conference model.

tcr-graphicsThe 2017 TCR conference will continue to use the dialogical (interactive) format that was successful in past conferences. New track chairs and themes are encouraged. Preference will be for proposals that have at least one co-chair experienced in publishing high quality work and the willingness and ability to run dialogical sessions. Generally tracks have two chairs but on occasion the tracks are led by three people. Track chairs with different levels of experience are encouraged to apply (this format is the more grassroots, bottom-up process that was used in Villanova University at TCR 2015). This conference continues the practice of reserving spots for junior scholars, including senior doctoral students, to create mentorship opportunities and build capacity. See the final page of this document for a list of past TCR tracks.

Rather than the traditional conference in which the expertise of a few people is explored, these dialogical tracks seek to explore the distributed intelligence across a group of people who share an interest in the social issue. Additional information on TCR and dialogical conferences can be found on the ACR website:

If you are interested in serving as a track co-chair, please email a 1-page overview of your theme and plans for a post-conference write-up. For track 1, please include co- chairs’ resumes and a 1-paragraph biography. For track 2, please include all track members’ resumes, a 1-paragraph biography, and a signed letter that they are committed to participating in the project. Submit your proposals by August 15 to Brennan Davis ([email protected]).

We will notify conference track applicants by September 15. We will announce a call for individual applications to these tracks on October 1, due on November 15. We will notify participation applicants by December 21, 2016. As in past conferences, participants along with ALL of the track chairs must commit to working in person with their track throughout the entire time of the conference. Tracks choose their own post-conference publication goals. One goal option is typically submission to a special issue on transformative consumer research. Generally track participants have the opportunity to opt into a goal but they must make a significant contribution to claim authorship.

Opportunities for doing a special journal issue associated with the 2017 TCR conference are being investigated. For those people unfamiliar with the dialogical TCR conference, each conference typically produces at least one special issue. For examples, see the special issues of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (spring 2011), the Journal of Business Research (issue 66, 2013), and the Journal of Marketing Management (volume 30, issue 17-18, 2014). The next special issue, a product of the 2015 TCR conference, will be in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (forthcoming). TCR published a special issue in the Journal of Consumer Research (2008).

Two TCR Themes for Track Proposals

1) Relational Engagement to Escalate Societal Impact

In the past, we have supported tracks in the following substantive issues and areas: wastefulness, alternative food systems, poverty, moral self-regulation, narratives in nonprofits, transformative services and justice, mindfulness, crimes of omission and commission, life satisfaction, social conflict, environmental sustainability and justice, religion, stigma, developing markets, health, food well-being, ethnicity, vulnerability, addiction, transformative methods, materialism, social justice, and immigration. In 2017, proposals for tracks will be invited for these and new social topics.

The unifying theme for this conference is Relational Engagement to Escalate Societal Impact. We posit that transformative consumer researchers aiming to increase the societal impact of their scholarship should engage directly with relevant stakeholders. For maximum societal effect, this engagement needs to occur both within the research process and throughout the entire course of impact, from the creation, awareness, and use of knowledge to societal impact. The relational engagement approach involves the cocreation of research with audiences beyond academia. Thus, we encourage each track to include nonacademic stakeholders creatively in some part of the process. For example, rather than proposing a track to study a particular topic on poverty and disseminating

findings to advocacy groups, a track might invite the leader of a poverty advocacy group to the TCR track and scaffold the research creation, awareness, use and societal impact around dialog that includes academics and nonacademics. We welcome track proposals that include an academic and a nonacademic as track chairs. Or tracks may be chaired by academics who invite a nonacademic stakeholder to participate. We welcome novel ideas. In the past, tracks invited guests including industry representatives, cross- disciplinary scholars, representatives from nonprofits, and consumer activists. Or, prior to the conference, focus groups or interviews might be done with stakeholders closest to the problem to create relevant research with greater catalytic validity. Or an organization or community group could form a partnership with the track to participate in a study that could be designed during the conference. We do not really know the magic formulas that create research that ends up having societal impact; these tracks are spaces of opportunity to experiment.

In addition to focusing on social problems, we also encourage pro-social ideas as track topics, such as the arts, social entrepreneurship, altruism, the sharing economy, to name a few.

Given that this theme encourages relational engagement, we imagine that track sizes will be smaller (around 4-6 academics and 1-3 nonacademics), including track chairs.

2) Action and Engagement

We encourage tracks that experiment with new ways to do team-based research toward real transformation. We invite track proposals that either further empirical work in key substantive areas, or develop action components.

For example, given that the call for proposals is 9 months before the conference, a viable proposal could involve a multi-site empirical study prior to the TCR 2017. This might be the cross-cultural exploration of new models of sustainable consumption, or an urban, suburban, and rural exploration of experiences of poverty or materialism. These proposals would identify and get commitment from a team of researchers who would gather data before the conference. The conference could then provide an opportunity for a writing or data analysis workshop.

Another viable idea would be to identify a team of researchers who wanted to submit a grant proposal, write a book, or propose a documentary. The conference could offer the opportunity to be a workshop for a set of researchers identified prior to the conference by the track organizers. Still another idea would be to review existing research and use the conference time to work with a team to do a research-driven intervention or action research project. These are but a few of the possible ideas that would further the deep goals of TCR of engaged scholarship that has real impact.

Unlike the dialogical tracks that would be competitive and larger, these proposals would involve longer-term projects and involve teams of researchers who make a commitment to work on this longer project. There will be no open call for track members in this

category. Instead, members of the tracks would be identified as part of the track proposal. Proposals should include written and signed commitments from each member of the proposed track that they agree to work on the project across its duration. Proposals that have invited scholars across a range of expertise and experience will also be reviewed favorably. Proposals should include a list of pre-conference organizing plans along with a time line.

Past Conferences and Funding Model

To date, five TCR conferences have been held. TCR 2015 at Villanova was over 200 participants, 18 tracks and 15 post-conference submissions to the special issue at the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. TCR 2017 will be larger and will use a pay-to- play model. We will work to keep conference costs low and provide some scholarships to doctoral students.

The Conference Site and Lodging

The Cornell Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management is located in Ithaca, New York.


Costs are still being estimated but the plan is to keep costs as low as possible. The current plan is to charge a fee of $425, covering the conference fee and on-campus residential hall accommodations and dining from June 18-20. . All travel, including to and from the campus, is the responsibility of attendees. We will offer some scholarship opportunities to doctoral student, community and government participants for fees and travel.


Inquiries or questions can be directed to the conference chair:
Brennan Davis [email protected] or Julie Ozanne [email protected]

A Post-Conference Workshop on Knowledge Dissemination

Before the TCR conference, a 1-day workshop will be held on the Cornell campus.