Building a new academic field - the case of services marketing.
This article concerns the development of the academic subdiscipline of services marketing in the United States between 1970 and 1990. In 1970, services marketing did not exist as an academic field, although seeds had been planted. By 1990, services marketing was a fast-growing subdiscipline of the broader marketing discipline. Why and how did it happen? What were the impediments? And what are the lessons to be learned? Our purpose is not to analyze the stages through which the services marketing literature developed as this is done in a companion article (Fisk, Brown, and Bitner 1993). Rather, our purpose is to analyze the forces that combined to create a new field of study. An academic field does not just magically appear one day. Researchers make decisions about what subject matter to study. Institutions make decisions about what research to fund or what conferences to sponsor. Collaborations and networks develop. Problems are overcome, hurdles cleared. And a field starts to take shape. We have compiled the story in this article.
Given that historians will inevitably make choices about what and how their subject is presented, what follows is one version of services marketing's history. Our methods were designed to bring multiple perspectives to bear upon the issues of interest and to verify the accuracy of the story. Nonetheless, reconstructing history is a complex enterprise, subject to various interpretations.
The study period of 1970 through 1990 was predicated on the emergence of the services marketing subdiscipline during this time. Both academics and practitioners were interested in applying marketing to services long before 1970. However, most of this interest concerned industry-specific applications, such as bank marketing, public utility marketing, department store marketing, and railroad marketing. Our interest in this project is the period when a new level of thinking, dialogue, and research appeared that transcended specific service industries and emphasized the marketing of services in general. Academics such as Robert Judd and John Rathmell had written on services marketing prior to the 1970s (Judd 1964; Rathmell 1966), thereby planting early seeds. Before the 1970's, however, few scholars were interested in an integrative approach to services marketing and the subdiscipline of services marketing did not exist.
Why study the history of services marketing in the first place? Services marketing offers an unusual opportunity to develop a case study that illustrates how an academic field develops. Its history as an integrative field is relatively compact, its growth robust. Most of the people initially involved in the field are still active and available to provide their own interpretations of what occurred. Students interested in contemporary services marketing can benefit by knowing the field's roots. Scholars contemplating a high-risk research stream, or just starting their careers and selecting special interest areas, should find interesting the personal histories of early services marketing researchers and teachers. The story that follows should also be of interest to officers of organizations associated with academics and to business executives because it clearly shows the importance of institutional and business community involvement in the development of services marketing.
We have developed a model to portray the forces influencing the development of the services marketing field. This model serves as a framework for the article.
The model shown in Figure I served as the conceptual guide for our study. The model has three main components, labeled "contributing forces," "inhibiting forces," and "services marketing field." Of these, the "services marketing field" component depicts the three sequential stages widely acknowledged as being relevant to the growth of any discipline (see, for example, Bloom 1987, Rich 1991). As such, in examining the development of services marketing we focused on potential forces contributing to and inhibiting knowledge creation, dissemination, and utilization.
The model broadly categorizes the contributing forces into "demand factors" and "production factors." Demand factors are external marketplace influences that created a need for new knowledge about services marketing. Production factors are energy sources that supplied new knowledge in response to the demand for it. Production factors include institutions, such as professional societies and research funding sources that provide essential infrastructure in building a field of study; and individuals, such as academic researchers and teachers who effectively utilize the infrastructure to engineer the subdiscipline's growth. As the model indicates, the interplay between institutional and individual production factors is reciprocal. The effectiveness of one depends on the effectiveness of the other.
Certain developments, events, and publications stemming from the institution-individual interplay assumed seminal roles in the growth of the services marketing field. These factors are termed "acceleration factors" because of their "multiplier" effect on the field's development. As the model shows, acceleration factors have a strong direct influence on the subdiscipline's growth (signified by the double-plus sign). They also contribute indirectly by further stimulating the involvement of institutions and individuals.
Acceleration factors also weaken inhibiting forces, the third component of the model. Inhibiting forces are those influences that hindered - and may still be hindering - the growth of the services marketing field. One source may be environmental factors, such as university budget constraints. Another source, "legitimacy factors," involves academic credibility. Legitimacy factors include questions about the domain of services marketing (e.g., Is a separate services marketing discipline needed?) and about methods (e.g., Is this new research rigorous?). The interplay between the domain and methods issues in the model indicates that each may feed the other. For example, questions about whether services marketing is a legitimate subdiscipline may stem, in part, from questions about methodological rigor.
Our predominant concern was to examine and document the development of the services marketing subdiscipline as accurately and comprehensively as possible. We sought information in a variety of ways, including a structured survey of academics interested in services marketing and an open-ended survey with a panel of individuals who have made important contributions to services marketing. We also gathered information through open-ended surveys sent to key individuals affiliated with institutions that played major roles in the subdiscipline's development. We examined selected historical materials that were available, such as minutes of meetings. Finally, we asked panel members to review a draft of this manuscript and verify the accuracy of material pertaining to them and events familiar to them. We revised the manuscript as necessary based on their feedback and feedback from external reviewers.
Consistent with the model (Figure 1), the focus of all information gathering was to identify various contributing and inhibiting forces and to ascertain the nature and extent of their influence on the development of the services marketing field. Further details about our surveys are included in the Appendix.
CONTRIBUTING FORCES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF
The growth of a new discipline of study is not unlike the growth of a new product. Both demand and supply are necessary. The development of an integrative field that focused on the marketing of intangible products-but transcended individual industries-mirror the growing recognition in the 1970s and 1980s that America had become a services economy. Executives responsible for marketing services had an intensified need for knowledge and many realized that there was much to learn outside of their particular industry. Certain organizations and individuals ("production factors") began to respond to this need for knowledge ("demand factors"), and eventually enough production was occurring to justify the claim that a new subdiscipline had been born.
The service sector of the U.S. economy grew rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s. Nearly 90 percent of all newly created employment in the 1980s was in the service sector (Nasar 1992). In the 1970s, 55 percent of American jobs were in services; by 1990, the statistic was 75 percent (Roach 1991). By 1990, services also accounted for more than 75 percent of the U.S. Gross National Product (Plunkert 1990). Service industries added new technology totaling $800 billion in the 1980s, reflecting the reality that the service sector consists of far more than hamburgers and haircuts (Nasar 1992). The service sector also includes transportation, telecommunication, health-care, financial, educational, distribution, entertainment, engineering, accounting, legal, and government services, among others.
Service-sector growth was not the only factor stimulating demand for services marketing knowledge, however. Deregulation in service industries, such as airline travel, trucking, financial services, and telecommunications, brought to the 1980s marketplace many new competitors, over-capacity, and intensified price competition. More trucking companies failed during the 1980s than in the previous 45 years of Interstate Commerce Commission regulation (Bartlett 1991). From 1985 to 1990, the total number of commercial banks declined 14 percent as a result of mergers, acquisitions, and failure-induced absorptions (Roach 1991). The 36 U.S. airlines operating in 1980 were down to 11 companies by 1992 (Saporito 1992).
Heightened competitive pressures undoubtedly played an important role in the growing demand for knowledge in services marketing. Service company executives needed fresh ideas on issues such as differentiating their companies' services, creating an image of value, improving service quality, retaining customers, and turning contact employees into marketers. If a bank marketer could learn from an airline marketer, or from a professor studying services marketing, why not?
Without supply, demand for knowledge goes unmet. In the case of services marketing, numerous individuals played a crucial knowledge creation-dissemination role during the nurturing period of the 1970s and early 1980s. These individuals gave the early conference presentations, taught the early services marketing courses, and published the early research reports, articles, and books.
Their contributions, however, depended on institutions sponsoring the conferences, funding the research, and publishing the books used in the courses. In this section, we focus on three institutions that played an especially strong role in contributing to services marketing development: the Marketing Science Institute, the American Marketing Association, and Arizona State University's First Interstate Center for Services Marketing. We discuss key individual contributors in the next section.
The Marketing Science Institute. The Marketing Science Institute (MSI), which funds academic research of interest to its company sponsors, started its Consumer Services Marketing Research program in 1977. The new program reflected growing recognition by MSI's trustees of the need for research specific to services marketing. The program's rationale was explained in the March 1977 MSI newsletter by officers Stephen Greyser and Alden Clayton:
Consumer services marketers are becoming more and more aware that research and planning for consumer services marketing require a reappraisal of marketing approaches originally developed for application to consumer packaged goods. Many product-oriented marketing practices have proven to be inappropriate for the complex interactions which take place in the process of service marketing. Their transferability is far less direct than initially believed.
MSI published its first services marketing report in 1977, Marketing Consumer Services: New Insights by Pierre Eiglier, Eric Langeard, Christopher Lovelock, John Bateson, and Robert Young. Consisting of five papers emphasizing the characteristics differentiating services marketing from goods marketing, the report provided a conceptual foundation for later work and credibility for a fledgling area of inquiry. Other MSI sponsored research studies in services marketing would follow, including John Czepiel's work in management processes in service firms (1980), Langeard and colleagues' study of consumers' participation in service production (1981), and A. Parasuraman, Valarie Zeithaml, and Leonard Berry's research on service quality first MSI report in 1984).
MSI's most important contribution to the early development of services marketing was bringing the voice of the business community into academic research in marketing. Diane Schmalensee, who was Vice President of Research Operations at MSI from 1981 to 1989, states:
The main barrier was that most academics refused to take services marketing research seriously. Many academics believed that services marketing was no different from product marketing and that anything learned about packaged goods would fit services with perhaps a slight alteration here and there. Only when business people began to insist that the tried and true product materials just didn't fit because of the need for internal marketing, die difficulty of objectively defining service quality, and so on) did we have the determination to push for a new arm of marketing research. Today the unique characteristics of services marketing seem obvious, but they weren't then.
The opportunity for academic researchers to discuss research needs and issues with marketing executives from top service companies - and to avail themselves of corporate resources in the conduct of the studied - early influenced the formative years of services marketing. Some of the services marketing studies MSI sponsored probably would not have been done at all, and most would not have been done as well, without the financial and intellectual assistance of MSI and its corporate sponsors. In his 1987 study of MSI's contribution to knowledge development in marketing, Paul Bloom (p. 96) writes: "Although it is impossible to determine exactly how much credit the MSI work deserves for stimulating this explosion [in services marketing publications], it seems fair to say that it helped significantly."
The American Marketing Association. An early contribution of the American Marketing Association (AMA) to the development of services marketing was its sponsorship in 1981 of a services marketing conference in Orlando, Florida. This was evidently die first national conference on services marketing to be held in the United States, although industry specific marketing conferences were common by this time.
The Orlando conference was sponsored by AMA's Marketing Education Division, which two years before had started a Winter Educator's Conference. This conference needed a theme for 1981, and services marketing was selected. Unlike other AMA "Educator" conferences, the Orlando meeting attracted marketing executives as well as academics. Chaired by James Donnelly and William George, the conference was a signal event, as many academics and executives interested in services marketing met for the first time. Some European and American academic researchers also met for the first time at this conference.
A level of stimulation was present at the conference that is impossible to document and difficult to describe; yet the special feeling at the meeting is remembered to this day by some attendees. The idea of being a "pioneer," of being part of something new (and somewhat illegitimate), seemed to create a palpable sense of purpose among participants. The mood was symbolized by Lynn Shostack, then a senior vice president of Bankers Trust Company, who began her presentation by holding up a can of Campbell's soup and telling her audience that this is what she learned to market in graduate school. Shostack then explained that marketing soup held few answers for her work in banking. The conference proceedings was an important contribution, being one of the first book-length volumes to appear. It contained 60 papers in four tracks: commercial services, nonprofit public sector services, professional services, and services theory.
Also in 1981, following the Orlando conference, the AMA formed a Services Marketing Task Force chaired by Lynn Shostack. The task force included both academics (Kenneth Bernhardt, Leonard Berry, William George) and executives (Archie McGill of AT&T and Vem McGinnis of Growmark). In January 1982, the group submitted a plan of action to the AMA. Recommendations included sponsorship of an annual services marketing conference, creation of a services marketing executive panel to advise the AMA, and the eventual creation of a services marketing division within the AMA organization. The task force also shepherded the second AMA services marketing conference, held in 1982 in Palm Beach, Florida.
By 1983, the task force had become an AMA committee. Three of the original task force members joined the committee Bernhardt, Berry, and Shostack) and others were added: Thomas Bloch of H&R Block; Stephen Brown, a professor and AMA president in 1984-85; Claudia Marshall of Travelers Insurance; Elvin Schofield, a bank marketing executive and AMA president in 1983-84; Gregory Upah from the Young & Rubicam advertising agency; and M. Venkatesan, a professor.
The Committee's charge was to develop short- and long-term plans for AMA'S involvement in services marketing and to implement the programs. Among the programs implemented that originated in the committee or the earlier task force were:
* an annual services marketing conference;
* services marketing workshops (the first was held in 1983 at Villanova University on new services development and was chaired by William George and Claudia Marshall);
* a services marketing newsletter (started in 1983 with Ronald Stiff as the first editor);
* a services marketing bibliography compiled by Raymond Fisk and Patriya Tansuhaj and published in 1985;
* a collection of services marketing course syllabi compiled by Nancy Hansen in 1985; and
* a faculty consortium on services marketing, held in 1985 at Texas A&M University and chaired by Leonard Berry and James Donnelly.
The committee's central recommendation, the creation of a services marketing division within AMA, was approved by the AMA board of directors in January 1984. This was an important development because it gave services marketing parity standing with the other AMA divisions, put two people interested in services marketing on the AMA board of directors (the division vice president and vice president-elect), and created a services marketing council (a divisional planning group that would replace the committee structure). In general, divisional status provided the infrastructure and budget protocol needed within the AMA'S culture for sustained progress. Gregory Upah and Kenneth Bernhardt were appointed divisional vice-president and vice president-elect, respectively.
A review of AMA memoranda and other documents from the 1982-84 period reveal several tensions. One was whether AMA should take an umbrella" or integrative approach to developing services marketing or an industry-specific approach. The task force and committee groups were strongly in favor of the umbrella approach while some members of the AMA hierarchy believed a focus on certain industries, such as financial services, offered greater potential. Helping the committee to prevail were the views of an executive panel that met with the committee in May 1983. The minutes summarizing the industry panel's suggestions contain this statement:
It is important to maintain the cross-industry orientation that the group has been using. This is more effective than an industry-specific orientation because many people don't want to share their ideas with direct competitors and because many industries have trade associations that meet the needs with regard to the specifics of their industry. What the individuals [panelists] felt they could gain from AMA were ideas that come from other industries that would be appropriate for their businesses.
Another tension concerned balancing the interests of academics and executives. This issue became especially problematic with the annual services marketing conference. The initial conferences were well attended by both executives and academics, which added considerable richness to the events in the view of the task force and committee members. In these early conferences both academics and executives presented invited papers, and there was a competitive paper track as well. However, by the late 1980s the conference had become essentially an executive conference with minimal academic participation. One factor in this change was die sentiment of some council members and conference regulars that "academics were taking over" or that "practitioners were taking over." Both complaints were beginning to be voiced by the mid-1980's.
AMA restructured the annual services marketing conference in 1992, collaborating with Vanderbilt University's Center for Services Marketing to develop a meeting that would again attract both academic and executive participation. The AMA also now sponsors an annual customer satisfaction congress. The AMA's services marketing division continues to be active.
First Interstate Center for Services Marketing. Arizona State University (ASU) established its First Interstate Center for Services Marketing (FICSM) in 1985 to address two objectives:
* expanding the base of scholarly knowledge and literature in services marketing and management; and
* enhancing executive and student education in the field.
In establishing its Center, ASU became the first American university to make a strategic commitment to furthering services marketing research and education. The demand factor influence figured prominently in ASU's decision to start the Center. Stephen Brown, the Center's founding director, explains:
We started the FICSM because we sensed a need and opportunity for a university-based center focused on an emerging interest in services marketing. Externally, we saw the changes in the economy, the unfolding of deregulation in the early 1980s and the growing business interest in the customer. Likewise, we were influenced by various services scholars and their work. Finally, our involvement with the AMA, its early services conferences and the creation of its services division helped us see the need and opportunities for a center.
The Center was launched in conjunction with a major endowment grant from the First Interstate Bank. Over the years FICSM has secured additional funding support from member companies that provide an annual stipend. By 1992, FICSM had more than 25 member companies, including AT&T, IBM, Xerox, and Marriott.
The FICSM's contribution to the development of services marketing has been considerable. ASU faculty and doctoral students have published numerous services marketing articles in leading journals in recent years (Bitner 1992, 1990; Bitner, Booms, and Tetreault 1990; Brown and Swartz 1989; Crosby, Evans, and Cowles 1990; Crosby and Stephens 1987; Murray 1991). All of these articles evolved from the FICSM's working paper series. From the Center's founding in 1985 through 1990, seven Ph.D. students completed services marketing dissertations. The Center has become a locus of research activity, hosting a number of visiting scholars in recent years.
The Center's most prominent outreach activity is its annual Services Marketing Institute, a week-long executive education course presented on the ASU campus. Started in 1987 in collaboration with the AMA, the course has attracted 238 executive attendees through 1992.
The FICSM helped originate the "Quality in Services" (QUIS) series of multidisciplinary, multinational conferences on service quality. It also has begun to produce an annual book volume, Advances in Services Marketing and Management (1992). The FICSM is characterized by multiple faculty involvements. In addition to Brown's role, Lawrence Crosby served as the founding research director. Bruce Walker, marketing department head at ASU during the early and mid-1980's, was closely involved in the initial planning and implementation. Michael Mokwa chaired the Services Marketing Institute until he became marketing department head in 1989. Mary Jo Bitner has replaced Mokwa as head of the Services Marketing Institute.
Production Factors - Individuals
Many individuals helped nurture services marketing to discipline status. It is beyond the scope of this article to capture the contributions of all of these people. This section focuses on 15 key contributors: the roles they played, how they began in services marketing, and early barriers they faced, if any. Each of these individuals has been involved in the services marketing field for at least ten years, has made significant contributions to teaching and research in services marketing, and has played a leadership role in the development of the field beyond teaching and research. As the following discussion reveals, numerous other individuals were instrumental in the group of 15 working in the services field.
Early Dissertations. William George, now professor of marketing at Villanova University, completed in 1972 one of the earliest Ph.D. dissertations in services marketing, Marketing in the Service Industries. A doctoral student at the University of Georgia, George worked under Hiram C. Barksdale. The dissertation was the basis for a Journal of Marketing article (George and Barksdale 1974) that provided a foundation for George's career focus on services marketing. He has published on services promotion, professional services marketing, and not-for-profit services marketing, among other subjects. He has regularly taught services marketing courses, co-chaired the AMA's first services marketing conference (among other early AMA involvements), and has been active in executive education within the service sector.
George was interested in services marketing before becoming a doctoral student: "I was always curious why service experiences were sometimes better than when purchasing a good, but often much worse. " A chance meeting with Eugene Johnson was influential in George's studying services marketing as a doctoral student. Johnson, now a marketing professor at the University of Rhode Island, wrote an even earlier services marketing dissertation (Johnson 1969). George comments:
A long time before I should have, I went on a job interview and Gene was the assistant professor designated to pick me up at the airport. As we were driving back, he asked what was my dissertation topic. I replied: |Services marketing. But I am having a difficult time finding source material.' His response: What a coincidence - I just finished my dissertation on that topic!' We talked a lot. And, he sent me a big box of services materials from his work at MSI and his dissertation. I now had some relevant source materials and I was on my way.
George still faced the challenge of convincing his dissertation chairman: Services were such a wilderness area that my mentor and dissertation chairman did not think it was a sound, workable topic. He had several topic areas that were |more suitable.' So I took one of those. For the first nine months, I responded to each dissertation assignment with two papers, the second being on services marketing. At that point, he realized that my commitment to services was substantial.
The Nordic School. Two thought leaders from Scandinavia, Evert Gummesson and Christian Gronroos, clearly contributed to the development of services marketing in America. Gummesson is presently Professor of Service Management and Marketing at Stockholm University. Gronroos is Professor of International Marketing at the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration in Helsinki, Finland.
Gummesson's career has spanned both industry and academia. Long active as a business consultant, working for a large European consultancy between 1968 and 1982, Gummesson completed his doctorate in 1977. His doctoral dissertation, The Marketing and Purchasing of Professional Services, was published in book form the same year. He subsequently published many other books, articles, and papers on such topics as service quality, marketing professional services, and marketing industrial services.
Gummesson played leadership roles in the 1980's in the development of the Service Research Center at the University of Karlstad (Sweden) and the Quality in Services (QUIS) conference series. Gummesson's influence on the discipline's development in America was increased by his willingness to travel to events attended by American researchers. He participated in the early AMA services marketing conferences, the 1985 AMA Faculty Consortium on services marketing, and, of course, the major European conferences. Gummesson's presentations at these events were especially important because much of his written work is published in Swedish.
Selling consulting services stimulated Gummesson's interest in services marketing: "I found it did not at all work like the marketing textbooks said; in fact, the books led you far astray." MTC, a Swedish research institute, became interested in services research and funded some of Gummesson's early studies. MTC also brought Aubrey Wilson to Sweden for presentations and Wilson's presentations and book, The Marketing of Professional Services (1972), had a major impact on Gummesson's thinking. Other early works that influenced Gummesson's interest in services marketing include Judd (1964); Rathmell (1966, 1974); Wittreich (1966); and George and Barksdale (1974).
Gummesson's friendship with Christian Gronroos also stimulated his growing involvement in services research: "In 1976 Christian Gronroos and I got to know each other. He phoned me because he had heard a rumor that I was working on a doctoral dissertation on services and he planned to write one himself. We have collaborated ever since. "
Gronroos defended his doctoral thesis, Marketing of Services, in 1979. His first book in English, Strategic Management and Marketing in the Service Sector, was published in America by MSI in 1983. He has published numerous articles and research reports on services marketing theory and was one of the earliest writers on subjects such as internal marketing and service quality. Gronroos's services marketing textbook (Gronroos 1990) is currently used in the United States.
Gronroos's career-long work in services marketing started serendipitously:
In the spring of 1976 1 was working on a rather big research report on marketing of higher education. In the midst of this job, a former colleague ... phoned and invited me to speak about theoretical aspects of services marketing at an executive seminar on marketing for the hospitality industries in Finland. I had never heard of the term |services marketing' and never thought of services being anything special from a marketing perspective. I remember telling him that I knew absolutely nothing about the topic, and him answering me that nobody else seemed to know anything about it either. So I accepted his invitation and told him that I might as well be the one who knew nothing about service marketing who spoke about it.... I might add that the executive seminar was canceled because there was not enough interest in it among prospective participants. However, I had found an area where not too much had been done yet.
Gronroos's thesis supervisor and other faculty members were not keen on his doing a thesis in services marketing. He eventually persuaded his major professor, Alf-Erik Lerviks. Gronroos was encouraged in his persistence by a fellow doctoral student, Lars Lindgvist; his new friend, Evert Gummesson; and, in 1977, by new acquaintances, Eric Langeard and Pierre Eiglier: "Just meeting two academics who were |believers' when the academic establishment at best showed no interest ... was a great encouragement to continue doing research in services." First meetings with William George, Leonard Berry, and Lynn Shostack at the 1981 AMA Orlando Conference and with Stephen Brown and Lawrence Crosby a few years later at another AMA services conference, were also influential. At the Orlando Conference, Gronroos and Berry learned that each was doing research in internal marketing, a cathartic discovery because both researchers had endured criticism that marketing to employees - internal marketing - "wasn't marketing." Gronroos's contacts with Brown and Crosby led to his frequent visits to ASU and the FICSM.
Much like Gummesson, Gronroos was greatly influenced in his academic work by his case studies and consulting in industry. Some of Gronroos's early ideas in service quality come from his work with the Kone Corporation in Finland, a large manufacturer of elevators. Gronroos was also influenced by the writings of Rathmell (1974), Langeard and Eiglier (1976), and Shostack (1977).
The French Connection. Two other influential voices from Europe were Eric Langeard and Pierre Eiglier, marketing professors at Institut d' Administration des Entreprises (IAE) at Universite d' Aix-Marseille (AIX). Co-authors of the early MSI publications, as noted, Langeard and Eiglier proposed the idea of "servuction," i.e., the production of services. This concept would frame much of their later work and the work of others. Langeard and Eiglier co-chaired perhaps the first-ever conference on services marketing, the Senanque Seminar in France in 1975. This conference would be the forerunner to other meetings they would organize under the auspices of IAE in subsequent years and into the 1990s.
Langeard and Eiglier were frequent travelers to the United States in the 1970s and 1980s as visiting professors, MSI researchers, presenters at the early AMA services conferences, and as industry consultants.
A critical turning point for Langeard was a sabbatical leave he spent as a visiting professor at the University of Texas in Austin in 1972-73. He came to Texas searching for a research subject in which to specialize:
I explored the feasibility of focusing my research on services, having eliminated industrial marketing as already well under way in Scandinavia and booming in the U.S. and international marketing as too uncertain in terms of research. My previous experience in France from 1966-72 had alerted me on the high failure rate of the implementation of the marketing concept within large service organizations such as banks or retailing firms.
Looking for U. S. research literature I discovered that very little was done in services marketing and significant insights on services came from economists and sociologists. So the need for dedicated research on services existed.
While at the University of Texas, Langeard taught in 1973 an experimental MBA class, "Marketing Management of Profit and Non-profit Organizations in the Service Sector." This class may be the first graduate course in services marketing taught in the United States. Langeard credits James Fitzsimmons, a U.T. operations management professor, with encouraging him about the seminar. Other people who influenced Langeard's commitment to services research and teaching in the 1970s include Harvard professor Stephen Greyser, who facilitated the contacts with MSI; Christopher Lovelock and John Bateson, who became co-researchers in the MSI work; University of California (Berkeley) professor James Carman, who mentored and wrote with Langeard when he visited Berkeley in 1977-78; Richard Normann, a well-known services marketing consultant and author in Europe; and Paul Dubrule, a French entrepreneur who cofounded the ACCOR Group.
The biggest influence was provided by Eiglier:
Back at AIX, I started talking with Pierre who had worked on transportation at Northwestern, and soon we mixed talking and working and we still do. The influence is so strong and permanent that I could not draw a line between us. It's work carried out in common by two different people.
Several books from outside marketing shaped Langeard's early thinking about services: Fuchs's The Service Economy (1968); Parsons's Organizations and Clients (1970); and Sasser, Olsen, and Wyckoff's Management of Service Operations (1978). Influential marketing pieces included: Levitt (1972), Blois (1974), Shostack (1977), and Gronroos (1978).
Pierre Eiglier's path to services marketing started at Northwestern University in 1972-73, which he visited as a post-doctoral student. At Northwestern, Eiglier worked with Philip Kotler on non-profit organization marketing, and he worked in the transportation department:
Back in France, in discussions with Eric Langeard, I realized that specificities of public agencies did not come from their non-profit structure, but probably from the fact that most of them were offering services and not tangible goods to their customers. So I decided to investigate this area.
Eiglier's early involvement and direction in services marketing were influenced by essentially the same people who influenced Langeard: Stephen Greyser ("who encouraged us very much and took risks for MSI"); Christopher Lovelock and John Bateson ("they shared in the MSI work and added to it a lot"); and services executives Paul Dubrule and Rene Lapautre ("they understood and operationalized what was important for the customer"). Of course, the biggest influence on Eiglier was Langeard, just as Eiglier was the biggest influence on Langeard. Eiglier mentions many of the same authors and publications as Langeard as having an early impact on his thinking.
A Voice from Industry. Lynn Shostack is currently Chairman and President of Joyce International, an office products distribution and manufacturing company. An MBA graduate from Harvard Business School in 1971, Shostack first went to work in retailing, then market research and consulting. Between 1975 and 1986 she was an executive in banking, first at Citibank and then Bankers Trust Company, leading the Private Clients Group as a senior vice president of the latter company.
Shostack's 1977 Journal of Marketing article, "Breaking Free from Product Marketing," is her best known but not her only major contribution. Her writings on new service design and blueprinting (Shostack 1984a, 1984b, 1987) also have influenced the field. Shostack chaired the AMA Services Marketing Task Force and assumed leadership roles in the early AMA services marketing conferences.
Shostack's keen interest in services marketing was sparked by frustrations in bank consulting:
I first began to have doubts about marketing's relevance to services in 1972, while presenting large market research studies on financial services and markets to banks, and consulting with them on actions and strategies they should undertake.
Although I could eloquently present examples from General Foods, Procter & Gamble, and other consumer goods manufacturers, when it came to grappling with how to differentiate, market, or develop the services such as investment management and personal financial planning on which I was supposed to be making recommendations, I was at a loss.
I went to the library but found little. I was highly annoyed and decided something ought to be done about it. That was the beginning of my obsession with services.
Shostack honed the ideas that eventually would appear in her "Breaking Free" article in debates with friends and with students when she guest lectured. From a mid-1970s session with doctoral students at Harvard comes this story.
The class was small, no more than 20 students, and was conducted by Christopher Lovelock who went on to make important contributions to the field. The most vigorous dissenter in the class, who argued vociferously that there was no need for a new approach to services marketing, was a young man named John Bateson. Our debate was great fun. It didn't change my view, but I like to think it helped to change John's. John Bateson subsequently produced some of the most insightful and imaginative work in the services marketing field.
Shostack's early thinking also was shaped by Robert Judd's "The Case for Redefining Services" (1964), Earl Sasser's "Match Supply and Demand in Service Industries" (1976), and W. Edwards Deming's Quality, Productivity and Competitive Position (1982). About Deming's work, Shostack states: "... his underlying principles and conclusions all related to the understanding of process; which is the fundamental basis of all services, and contributed greatly to my own development of blueprinting. "
An American Network. James Donnelly, a marketing professor at the University of Kentucky, has been interested in the marketing of intangibles since his doctoral student days in the late 1960s. After completing his doctorate in 1968, Donnelly co-authored a chapter, "Selecting Channels of Distribution for Services, " for the Handbook of Modern Marketing (Donnelly 1970) and later wrote a Journal of marketing article on the same topic (Donnelly 1976).
Throughout his career, Donnelly has been a leading contributor to the bank marketing literature. Much of his work has been in collaboration with Leonard Berry: " In 1972 I met Len Berry through our joint involvement in the banking industry. That began a long and productive friendship. We were both interested in services marketing and particularly interested in bank marketing. At the time we may have been the only two academics interested in bank marketing."
Donnelly and Berry published an early marketing text for the banking industry, Marketing for Bankers (Berry and Donnelly 1975), among other books (Berry and Donnelly 1980, Donnelly, Berry, and Thompson 1985). Donnelly also has influenced bank marketing practice through his extensive involvement in banking executive education.
Donnelly co-chaired the AMA's first services marketing conference and the AMA's Faculty Consortium on services marketing. He also headed the AMA's services marketing division in 1988-89.
Services marketing appealed to Donnelly as a field of study because "the ideas involved in marketing an intangible require an abstract kind of thinking that I still find exciting and intellectually rewarding." Also, the services marketing domain intersects with the discipline of organizational behavior, an important interest area of Donnelly's.
Donnelly's early direction in services and bank marketing was stimulated by his frequent discussions with bankers:
I can remember listening to bankers discuss the marketing problems associated with the credit card which was in the initial stages of its life cycle in the early seventies. I used to argue with them whether the credit card was a product or a means to distribute or make the intangible of credit more widely and conveniently available. These discussions were directly responsible for my 1976 Journal of Marketing article on the distribution of services.
Like Donnelly, Leonard Berry finished his doctorate in 1968. His dissertation was on department store image and his early writings were on this and other retailing topics. He also wrote several articles on financial services marketing in the late 1960s, which led to his being contacted by Louis Capaldini of the American Bankers Association (ABA) to develop a bank marketing seminar. Capaldini, head of the new ABA marketing division, also wanted a bank marketing textbook written, and he brought Berry and Donnelly together to collaborate on the book. Many of the concepts Berry would write about in the services marketing literature in the 1980s, such as internal marketing, relationship marketing, and service quality, he first wrote about in the bank marketing literature in the 1970s (Berry 1975, 1978, 1979; Thompson, Berry, and Davidson 1978).
Berry published his first "umbrella" services article, "Services Marketing is Different," in 1980, just prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M University where he met A. Parasuraman and Valarie Zeithaml. The three collaborated on the MSI-sponsored service quality research stream starting in 1983 and continuing to this day (e.g., Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1985; Berry, Parasuraman, and Zeithaml 1985; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1988; and Zeithaml, Berry, and Parasuraman, 1988).
Berry served on the AMA's services marketing task force and chaired the committee to which it evolved. He co-chaired the AMA's services marketing Faculty Consortium and chaired the 1988 IAE conference in France, which was on services marketing.
Berry's work in banking in the 1970's convinced him that the packaged goods marketing framework he had learned as a doctoral student did not work well in a service context: "Wherever I went, people in the bank were mad at the marketing department." The banking experiences were key to Berry broadening his focus from bank marketing to services marketing, as was Lynn Shostack's 1977 "Breaking Free" article, the early writings of James Donnelly and William George, and the many discussions he had with these friends. Also shaping his beliefs were his interactions at AMA functions with executives such as Thomas Bloch, Thomas Fitzgerald (ARA), Claudia Marshall, and Lynn Shostack, and European academics such as Christian Gronroos and Eric Langeard. "They were kindred spirits. It was very exciting for me to find these true believers in services marketing." Most influential of all was Berry's friendship and collaboration with Parasuraman and Zeithaml. Each member of this trio had a significant impact on the thinking of the others.
Valarie Zeithaml joined the Texas A&M University marketing faculty in 1980 as an assistant professor, her first appointment after completing a doctorate at the University of Maryland. Prior to her doctoral studies, Zeithaml had worked as an advertising account executive for five years. In 1986, Zeithaml joined Duke University's marketing faculty and in 1992, she and Diane Schmalensee started a full-time consultancy in service quality measurement and implementation.
Although the MSI service quality research stream was central to Zeithaml's work in the 1980s, she made other important contributions as well. She wrote about consumer behavior differences in goods and services (Zeithaml 1981); the use of services marketing strategies in industry (Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry 1985); and price, quality, and value relationships (Zeithaml 1988). The latter article won the Maynard Award from the Journal of Marketing.
Zeithaml's interest in services research was stimulated by her experiences in advertising:
It became clear to me early on that creating effective advertising for clients who produced goods was far easier than for those who produced services. Wanting to learn more about services - particularly how clients and customers evaluated intangibles - I sought guidance in the library, at industry conferences, and ultimately in business school. At that time, little information and virtually no research on services existed. Finally, during the initial year of my doctoral program, I came across a small body of work emerging on the topic. By then, I was hooked on the subject.
Like so many others, Zeithaml was inspired at the first AMA services marketing conference in Orlando.
At that meeting I found a small but fervent group of people with the same curiosity about services marketing as I had. Over the early years, through several AMA services conferences, these people - John Bateson, Len Berry, Christopher Lovelock, and Mary Jo Bitner in particular - were influential in my involvement.
My specific direction in the field developed in the early 1980s when Parsu Parasuraman, Len Berry and I launched the service quality research stream with help and financial support from MSI. From that time on, the ideas and perspectives of my two co-authors were the pivotal influencers.
Zeithaml cites Shostack's "Breaking Free" article, Berry's "Services Marketing is Different" piece, and the first Langeard, et al. MSI research report as the publications that most influenced her early work in services marketing.
A. Parasuraman is a professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, joining the faculty in 1979 as a senior assistant professor. He completed his doctorate at Indiana University in 1975. Parasuraman's dissertation was on sales force management, and initially he considered this subject, marketing research techniques, and marketing concept implementation issues as his research priorities.
Parasuraman's interest in services marketing started to develop in 1980-81 because of his association with Berry and Zeithaml, recent arrivals to the Texas A&M faculty: "I do not think I would have become involved in services marketing had I not met and become associated with Len Berry and Valarie Zeithaml. They not only opened the door to the world of services for me but also provided me with a valuable road map for exploring this world."
Parasuraman's first collaboration with Berry and Zeithaml was a national study of problems and strategies in services marketing. Started in 1982, the research resulted in several publications (Parasuraman, Berry, and Zeithaml 1983; Berry, Parasuraman, and Zeithaml 1984; Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry 1985). The success of this first study helped Parasuraman overcome doubts about becoming a services marketing researcher:
Skepticism in the academic community about services marketing did create some dissonance and discomfort for me as I began shifting my research focus away from my areas of early interest and toward services marketing. I occasionally wondered if the risk of such a redirection in my research thrust would be worth the potential reward.
While Berry, Zeithaml, and Parasuraman were pursuing their joint work at Texas A&M University, Stephen Brown was helping to put Arizona State University on the services marketing map. Brown is professor of marketing and director of the First Interstate Center for Services Marketing at ASU. He has been at ASU since 1978. Brown has been both an institutional and intellectual leader of the services marketing movement. He served on the AMA services marketing committee and was president-elect of AMA the year it established its services marketing division. He is the founding director of the First Interstate Center for Services Marketing, helped start the Academy for Health Services Marketing in 1984, and co-chaired the first Quality in Services (QUIS) conference in 1988.
Brown's route to services marketing was through health-care marketing, an interest he developed in the early 1980s. He published a string of health-care marketing articles and several books (e.g., Brown 1982, 1983, 1985; Brown and Razzouk 1984; Brown and Morley 1986). By the late 1980s, he was writing on professional service quality (Swartz and Brown 1989, Brown and Swartz 1989) and otherwise moving into a broader services research agenda.
Brown's interest in services marketing was influenced by his executive education, consulting, and research work in the health-care sector (and to a lesser degree by his even earlier involvements in the insurance and banking sectors). These experiences convinced him that marketing services differed from marketing goods.
Brown and Leonard Berry worked together closely in the AMA'S early service marketing endeavors, and Brown claims this collaboration encouraged him to become more involved. He also was influenced early on by Aubrey Wilson's and John Rathmell's books, and later by the works of Christian Gronroos, Evert Gummesson, and Lynn Shostack. Brown's involvement in the founding and subsequent success of FICSM has reinforced his commitment to the field.
Harvard Roots. Christopher Lovelock consults and teaches on management issues in the service sector. From 1973 to 1984 he was a faculty member at the Harvard Business School. He has also taught for shorter periods at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland, the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and other institutions. Lovelock's degrees include an MBA from Harvard in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Marketing from Stanford University in 1973. Earlier he worked in advertising with J. Walter Thompson in London, and in corporate planning with Canadian Industries in Montreal.
Lovelock entered Stanford's Ph.D. program with a keen interest in transportation services and wrote his dissertation on this topic. His early interest stemmed from his father's career in transportation. While at Stanford, Lovelock teamed up with a new faculty member, Charles Weinberg, to create an MBA seminar on Marketing in the Public Sector. A key influence on Lovelock during this period was Philip Kotler and Sidney Levy's article "Broadening the Concept of Marketing" (1969). This article, extending the study and practice of marketing to not-for-profit organizations, legitimized for Lovelock the notion of pushing out the boundaries of the discipline. The debate the article engendered helped prepare Lovelock for some of the resistance to change that he would face.
Lovelock developed a course similar to his Stanford course after joining the Harvard faculty. Eventually, he also established an elective MBA course at Harvard on Marketing of Services. Lovelock's commitment to services marketing was further reinforced by his experiences teaching Harvard's required first-year marketing course:
Students frequently asked me why only a handful of cases addressed service industries even though many of the MBAS planned on careers in service businesses. The answer - hardly a satisfactory one - was simply that the vast majority of available cases were written about marketing problems in manufacturing industries. So I resolved that I would write only cases on service firms.
And write cases, he did - approximately 70 services cases over the years. He also published books, including the first services marketing textbook (Lovelock 1984), Marketing for Public and Nonprofit Managers Lovelock and Weinberg 1984), and Managing Services: Marketing, Operations, and Human Resources Lovelock 1988). Each of these books has subsequently been revised. A member of the research team producing the initial MSI studies (Eiglier et al., 1977, Langeard et al. 1981), Lovelock was a regular presenter at the earliest services conferences in Europe and in the United States. His best known articles include "Classifying Services to Gain Strategic Marketing Insights" Lovelock 1983) and "Look to Consumers to Increase Productivity" (Lovelock and Young 1979).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, some of Lovelock's Harvard colleagues felt that services marketing was on the periphery of the discipline and that Lovelock, as a junior faculty member, should work in a more central part of the field, such as industrial marketing. Yet Lovelock persevered, actively encouraged in his teaching emphasis on services by Harvard colleagues, Raymond Corey, Stephen Greyser, and Theodore Levitt. He also was stimulated by Harvard colleagues working in the services operations area - James Heskett, Earl Sasser, David Maister, and the late Daryl Wyckoff:
Their work strengthened my understanding of how to develop close interactions between marketing, operations, and human resources to plan and implement service strategies. It was through Daryl that I first became involved in service quality and through David that I learned about professional services.
Another contributor with Harvard roots is John Bateson, Senior Vice President of Gemini Consulting in London. Bateson served on the marketing faculty at London Business School, where he developed the School's first services marketing course in 1980. In the mid- 1980s Bateson served on the AMA'S Services Marketing Council and in 1989 produced a services marketing textbook that was revised in 1992. A regular presenter at services conferences in America and Europe, Bateson brought a consumer behavior perspective to the services marketing field: My own interest in consumer behaviour has led me into new models and perspectives on why and how consumers behave in the way that they do. The rich literature on environmental psychology, perceived control, script theory and satisfaction theory means that there is much work still to be done that can simultaneously add enormous value to services marketing, but also stretch the envelope of research in consumer behaviour itself.
Bateson's first exposure to services marketing was in a mid-1970s doctoral reading seminar at Harvard Business School led by Christopher Lovelock. Encouraged by Lovelock's enthusiasm for the subject, Bateson reviewed the services marketing literature as part of a course term paper. While at Harvard, Bateson was a resident researcher at MSI, and in 1976 he was asked to be the research assistant supporting the new MSI project of Langeard et al. Bateson eventually became a co-author on the study. Paul Bloom (1987, p. 87) writes: "John Bateson became involved with the project essentially by being in the right place at the right time." Bateson made good use of the opportunity, advocating in the 1977 MSI monograph that intangibility was the driving force behind all the structural differences between goods and services (Bloom 1987).
Aside from Lovelock, Bateson also was influenced by Harvard professors Sasser and Wyckoff: "I took the MBA course offered by them twice and from that developed a keen interest and understanding of the general management problems of services, rather than just the services marketing view." Bateson also was influenced by Benjamin Schneider's work on service culture (e.g., Schneider 1980) and Richard Chase's work on service operations (e.g., Chase 1978). A 1983 seminar at New York University on the service encounter exposed Bateson to research and researchers in environmental psychology, and this too was an important influence.
Interdisciplinary Influence. Richard Chase is a professor of operations management and director of the Center for Operations Management Education and Research at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. in Operations Management in 1966 from UCLA and taught at UCLA, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Arizona before going to USC in 1985. Benjamin Schneider is professor of psychology and business management at the University of Maryland. He has taught also at Yale University and Michigan State University.
Both individuals helped build the services marketing field despite having academic homes in other disciplines. Both wrote early seminal articles that caught the attention of marketing academics and led to invitations to present at services marketing forums. Chase's article, "Where Does the Customer Fit in a Service Operation?" appeared in the Harvard Business Review in 1978. Schneider's piece, "The Service Organization: Climate is Crucial," was published in Organizational Dynamics in 1980. Chase was interested in the implications of customer contact in services production. Schneider was interested in how the service climate created for employees related to the service customers received. Both scholars have since published numerous service-oriented works.
Chase presented at AMA'S second services marketing conference in 1982 where he met some of the marketing academics with whom he would network. In 1983, Schneider presented at the AMA workshop on new service development and at NYU'S service encounter workshop. In 1985, he presented at the AMA Faculty Consortium and the AMA services marketing conference. Chase's and Schneider's impact extended beyond their words, spoken or printed. Their presence at meetings attended by marketing professors was a constant reminder that services research required an interdisciplinary approach. Service delivery involved people and process, and the "walls" that traditionally separated disciplines such as marketing, operations management, and organizational behavior had to come down.
Chase became involved in services in 1977 while revising his operations management textbook:
My co-author, Nick Aquilano, and I recognized that while OM applied to services as well as manufacturing, there was no explicit treatment of services in any basic text. To develop such material, I felt that the first step was to create a theoretical framework that explicitly recognized the difference between OM in manufacturing and OM in services. To me, the obvious differentiating variable was the extent of customer contact during the production process.
Chase credits several people with having a significant influence on his early involvement and direction in services research: former colleagues from the University of Arizona, David Tansik ("who contributed much to customer contact theory development"), and Garrett Wolf and Greg Northcraft ("strong researchers"); USC colleague David Bowen ("who added a human resources perspective to many joint papers"); Harvard's David Garvin and Bob Hayes, and USC's Warren Erikson ("they played major roles in applying service to manufacturing strategy"); and Harvard's Earl Sasser ("many thought-provoking real world tests of my views on services"). James Thompson's 1967 book, Organizations in Action, and Theodore Levitt's article, "A Production-Line Approach to Service" (1972) also were influential.
Whereas Chase's textbook revision prompted his entry into services research, Schneider's motives were somewhat different:
The first study I published on service was in 1973. It was a study of the service climate perceptions of customer of banks. .. This research came about due to the need to generate some consulting income! There I was, a starving assistant professor at Yale University, needing some extra income to make life bearable so a colleague in operations research and I sent off a blind proposal to a big New York City bank and six weeks later we had our first contract.
Schneider found the study interesting, and this led him to later studies on service climate. In 1981, Schneider was invited by John Bateson to speak at a services marketing conference in London. Bateson then introduced Schneider to Eric Langeard and Piene Eiglier. Schneider would broaden his network of services marketing academics during the next few years, but John Bateson's initial contact was the crucial one: "It was John's initiative that brought me into the emerging new field. " Schneider's early research was not influenced by what was happening in marketing. After 1980, "I began reading the marketing literature and attending the services conferences so the emerging literature in services management began to influence me.
As the preceding analysis shows, numerous production factors contributed to the development of the academic subdiscipline of services marketing during the 1970s and 1980s. Yet, certain developments, events, and publications were particularly influential in moving the discipline forward. These phenomena are called "acceleration factors:" developments/events and publications that have a powerful effect in hastening the progress of a newer discipline of study. Acceleration factors advance afield by bringing it legitimacy, by conceptual breakthroughs, and/or by stimulating involvement.
For services marketing to sustain momentum and for it to enter the language and culture of academic marketing, the necessary ingredients were legitimacy, conceptual guidance, and the research-teaching-leadership involvement of many individuals. Certain factors helped bring these essentials to services marketing. A structured survey of marketing educators, as mentioned in the methodology section and described in the Appendix, was used to assess the relative impact of developments/events and publications toward identifying the most likely acceleration factors. Seven developments/events and 15 published articles qualified as potential acceleration factors and were included in the survey.
Developments/Events. The structured-survey findings for developments/events are presented in Table 1. These data reveal the influence of the American Marketing Association in accelerating the development of services marketing. The AMA's sponsorship in 1981 of America's first national conference in services marketing is ranked first in stimulating involvement, second in legitimizing the field, and third in conceptual breakthroughs. This conference was indeed an accelerating event as it brought many early "producers" together for the first time, reinforced their beliefs in this new field, and galvanized the group's collective energy. The conference also provided a new opportunity to present and publish services marketing work.
The AMA'S decision to establish a separate services marketing division in 1984 is another likely acceleration factor. Ranked first in the survey for legitimizing the field, divisional status had the effect of institutionalizing the AMA'S continuing investment in services marketing programs.
The 1985 AMA Faculty Consortium on services marketing is rated relatively high on all three criteria. The Faculty Consortium's objective is to enhance the preparation of marketing professors in subject areas of emerging or increasing importance. The 1985 session, the first time services marketing was the focal subject, was fully subscribed, attracting 75 educators for a four-day short course. There were 26 presenters, including most of the top academic researchers in services marketing at the time.
Co-ranked first for conceptual breakthroughs is the 1990 International Research Seminar in Service Management sponsored by Universite d' Aix-Marseille and held in France. This meeting was notable because of its multidisciplinary (marketing, operations management, organizational behavior) and multinational (Europe and North America) character. As the objective of the conference was to promote interdisciplinary research, the terminology "service management" was purposely used. Shepherding this conference 15 years after they created the first Senanque conference in services marketing were Pierre Eiglier and Eric Langeard.
All seven developments/events included on the questionnaire probably deserve the label "acceleration factor" to some degree. Five of the seven entries are ranked among the top three on at least one criterion, suggesting a confluence of important factors.
The open-ended question associated with developments/events did not reveal other likely acceleration factors. Except for statements on the growth of the service economy (a demand factor), comments did not converge on any particular theme.
Publications. The relative influence of 15 articles on services marketing's development is shown in Table 2. All articles were published during the study period of 1970 to 1990 and met the citation count criteria described in the Appendix. Both survey data and citation counts are included in Table 2.
One work that clearly accelerated the development of services marketing was Lynn Shostack's article, "Breaking Free from Product Marketing," published in the Journal of Marketing in 1977. Ranked first in legitimizing the field, co-ranked second in contributing conceptual breakthroughs, and ranked fourth in stimulating the involvement of other researchers, the article is also a citation leader with 60.(1) Arguing that product intangibility posed special challenges for services marketing and presenting persuasive conceptual support for these arguments, Shostack stimulated academic researchers to look at services marketing in a new way. About this article, Philip Kotler (1990, p. xiii) wrote that it ". . . was to alter the course of our thinking about services marketing, if not general marketing itself."
1977 was a breakthrough year for services marketing. With the publication of the Shostack article, Kotler and Conner's "Marketing Professional Services" (also in the Journal of Marketing), and the Eiglier et al. MSI report on services marketing, the form of a new subdiscipline began to take shape. Others had planted seeds (Judd 1964; Rathmell 1966; George and Barksdale 1974), but 1977 was a year when the collective attention paid to services marketing within the broader discipline became more sharply focused. Another acceleration factor came in 1983 when Christopher Lovelock
(1) All citation frequency statistics presented in this article are from the Social Sciences Citation Index and are current as of July 1992. published "Classifying Services to Gain Strategic Marketing Insights" in the Journal of Marketing. Whereas earlier literature had demonstrated the differences between services and goods marketing, Lovelock demonstrated the heterogeneity within services by grouping them into five classification matrices. The article won the Journal of Marketing's Alpha Kappa Psi Award, further boosting the credibility of academic research in services marketing. The high survey ratings (ranks of three, two, and three on the criteria) underscore its importance.
Lovelock is also responsible for another likely acceleration factor, namely, the 1984 publication of his textbook, Services Marketing. Although not listed on the questionnaire, the book was mentioned 15 times in response to the open-ended question, by far the most frequently mentioned publication for this question. As data presented in the next section show, the lack of instructional materials inhibited the development of services marketing. Lovelock's early book, a compendium of text, readings and cases, helped remove a primary reason for academic marketing departments not adding a services marketing course to the curriculum - the lack of an appropriate textbook. Other texts that followed by Heskett (1986), Lovelock (1988), Bateson (1989), and Gronroos (1990) removed the "no book" stigma further.
A. Parasuraman, Valarie Zeithaml, and Leonard Berry published "A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its implications for Future Research" in the Journal of Marketing in 1985, helping to position service quality as a core subject of services marketing. The article conceptualized service quality as a potential gap between customers' expectations and perceptions, defining ten service quality dimensions. Causes of service quality problems were proposed as within-company gaps. The article, commencing a program of service quality research by the authors and others, ranked first in the survey on the criteria of conceptual breakthroughs and stimulating the involvement of other researchers. The citation count for this article is 61.
One finding not evident from Table 2 is the common pattern of ratings across respondents. Based on their answers to demographic questions, respondents were classified according to their degree of involvement in services marketing. "More involved" respondents rated the publications similarly to those "less involved."
[TABULAR DATA OMITTED]
It is important to note the contribution to the development of services marketing of all the publications listed in Table 2. By virtue of meeting the citation count tests for inclusion on the questionnaire, all the articles demonstrate impact on the work of other researchers. Of particular note is the early influence of die Harvard Business Review, which by 1985 had published four services articles meeting the citation count tests. Theodore Levitt authored two of the articles.
INHIBITING FORCES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF
Survey respondents rated the influence of ten factors that may have hindered - and may continue to hinder - the growth of the services marketing field. These findings are presented in Table 3. Of the ten potential inhibiting forces included in the survey, die two most significant ones in the field's formative years were the lack of instructional materials (ranked first with a mean rating of 5.9 on the 7-point scale) and a belief among academics that a separate services marketing field was unneeded (ranked second with a mean rating of 5.7). The latter barrier was especially problematic for junior scholars competing for research funding and facing tenure and promotion decisions. Specializing in services marketing in the 1970s and early 1980s was hardly a safe route to the promised land.
[TABULAR DATA OMITTED]
The inhibiting influence of the top-ranked barriers has declined over the years. The perception that a separate services marketing field is unneeded ranks only seventh as an inhibiting force at the present time. This barrier also showed the sharpest drop in mean ratings (from 5.7 to 3.5) between the two time frames. This particular finding underscores services marketing's progress in becoming a "legitimate" subdiscipline of marketing.
Christopher Lovelock's 1984 textbook's role in accelerating the development of services marketing is reinforced by the steep decline in the perceived inhibiting influence of the "lack of instructional materials" barrier. Although this barrier still ranks third, its mean rating declined from 5.9 in the early years to 4.0 at present.
The general pattern of ratings in Table 3 shows that impediments to the discipline's development in the early years are much less problematic now. The mean rating for the inhibiting influence of every factor has declined, and in each instance the decline is statistically significant.
[TABULAR DATA OMITTED]
The highest ranked inhibiting factor at present is "insufficient interaction between academics and executives. " Although the mean rating for the inhibiting influence of this barrier has declined (from 4.9 to 4.2), its relative ranking as an impediment to the discipline's growth has risen from six to one. Moreover, the most frequently mentioned responses to the open-ended question concerned this barrier.
Finally, relative to other barriers, domain issues (with the exception of the early-years perception of no need for a separate services marketing field) neither were nor are significant impediments. The interdisciplinary scope of services marketing ranked tenth as a barrier in both the early years and at present. The involvement of scholars from multiple disciplines in the early years actually may have contributed to die field's uniqueness and to its meriting the status of a distinct subdiscipline.
Despite our efforts to be systematic and thorough in understanding and documenting the development of die services marketing subdiscipline, our study is subject to certain limitations. First, the structured survey findings should be interpreted with caution because of the inevitable subjectivity in some of our decisions pertaining to the survey (e.g., sample selection, protocol for identifying and screening publications for inclusion in the survey). Moreover, the value of survey research in a project chronicling the historical development of a subdiscipline is inherently limited. We believe the survey results gave us a clearer sense of the true impact on the field of various factors than we would have had otherwise. However, we acknowledge the limitations of an approach that asks respondents to rate an article they may have read 10 or 15 years earlier.
Second, our participation in events and developments we studied raises the question of whether our account of the development of services marketing would be the same as that of a detached researcher. We attempted to be sensitive to this issue, taking special precautions whenever possible to ensure objectivity. Nevertheless, our personal involvement in the evolution of the services marketing field represents a tradeoff. Although our participation provided personal knowledge of many of the influencing factors on which we report, it also may have inflated our appreciation of developments and events in which we participated. Our concern about this possibility is one reason we believed the structured survey of academics to be essential.
Third, our study focused on the growth and development of the academic discipline of services marketing. As such, we did not formally address the practice of services marketing. That our study's emphasis was more on knowledge development and dissemination than on utilization should not suggest that the latter is a less important matter. Services marketing practice was beyond the scope of the present research.
In 1992, approximately 800 of 2,700 AMA educator members indicated services marketing as one of their primary interest areas. Also during this year the third bi-annual "Quality in Services" (QUIS) conference and the second bi-annual "Research Seminar in Service Management" were held in Sweden and France, respectively. The QUIS conference series is co-sponsored by the International Service Quality Association, an organization established in 1990. In 1992, as mentioned, Vanderbilt University's Center for Services Marketing co-sponsored with the AMA a new conference, "Frontiers in Services," with the objective of encouraging the academic-executive dialogue that characterized the early AMA services marketing conferences. Vanderbilt established its Center in 1990. In 1993, the First Interstate Center for Services Marketing at Arizona State University hosted the second AMA Faculty Consortium on services marketing. The importance of effectively covering services marketing in the classroom is now receiving attention in the literature (Wedell and Kress 1992). And, as discussed in Fisk, Brown, and Bitner (1993), the services marketing literature has grown significantly in recent years.
Services marketing has become an accepted, vibrant, growing academic field. Yet, services marketing as an integrative field did not exist as recently as the early 1970s. But once the outlines of the new field started to take shape, progress was swift, accelerated by certain factors that had a powerful effect in moving the field forward.
Why has services marketing grown so rapidly while other potential subdisciplines have not? What are the necessary ingredients for stimulating and sustaining the growth of a new subdiscipline? The case study presented in this article suggests that a confluence of contributing forces is key to accelerating a field's growth. Both strong demand for new knowledge and producers able and willing to meet the demand must be present for a new field to flourish. The producer group must include not only individual champions but also institutions that provide the infrastructure and resources for individual champions to be effective.
The services marketing case suggests the importance of diverse involvement in an emerging field's development: young scholars willing to assume the added risk of working in a new field; more mature scholars willing to provide mentorship and leadership; scholars from multiple disciplines and countries; practitioners and potential users of the new knowledge. A nascent field with multiple roots is more likely to achieve sustained growth than one lacking such broad-based support. We build on these thoughts in the following paragraphs.
Services marketing developed academically because it filled a need in the world of marketing practice; its development was "market-driven." Packaged goods marketing frameworks and constructs did not fit the reality of services. As many service companies sought to become more competitive, the need for fresh marketing answers became more pressing. When individuals in industry, such as Evert Gummesson, Lynn Shostack, and Valarie Zeithaml, did not have the answers they needed in their work, they were stimulated to find some. Leonard Berry, Stephen Brown, James Donnelly, Christian Gronroos, and Eric Langeard discovered the insufficiency of packaged goods solutions in consulting and other industry contact.
Industry influence also is evident in die contributions of MSI, AMA, and FICSM to the field. Each institution functioned to bring academics and executives together. MSI performed a middleman role, bringing executives interested in supporting services marketing research together with academic researchers. The AMA, through its services marketing task force/ committee/council structures and its early conferences, facilitated academic-executive networking. The FICSM likewise contributed to this dialogue through the participation of many executives in its programs.
Surely, academic-executive interaction in a professional field like services marketing remains beneficial as the field matures. Accordingly, the ranking shift shown in the structured survey of the item, "Insufficient interaction between academics and executives" from six (early years) to one (at present) is a matter of concern. The Executive Summary for this article presents recommendations to encourage greater interaction of academics and executives interested in services marketing.
Just as executive-academic collaboration contributed richly to the development of services marketing, so did institutional-individual collaboration. Services marketing's disciplinary development was unequivocally the product of institutional-individual partnering. Both levels of contributions were critical in building the field. The institutions provided the funding, forums, and imprimatur that were so important in establishing credibility and gaining momentum. They provided an essential organizational function that brought individual producers together and an essential channel function that linked the producers with users. The institutions contributed an infrastructure necessary for discipline building.
However, people still needed to conduct the studies, write the articles and books, organize the committee meetings, plan the conferences, deliver the speeches, teach the classes, and so forth. As in other new ventures, individual champions were required to create a new discipline. Eugene Kelley, who as 1982-83 AMA president appointed the AMA's Services Marketing Committee, states: "Individuals made the difference. Early support of services marketing by AMA was due to vigorous and intelligent advocacy by a small group of people."
A principal early impediment to the development of services marketing was a general skepticism among marketing academics about the need for a separate subdiscipline. The structured and qualitative survey results confirm this conclusion. The active and early involvement of the AMA in services marketing was clearly important in overcoming the skepticism. As Table 1 shows, the top three developments/events legitimizing the field involved the AMA. Perhaps die principal lesson to learn from these findings is that influence pays. The AMA has influence. The AMA's size and stature as a professional association combined with its uncharacteristically aggressive programming in services marketing helped break down attitudinal barriers while stimulating involvement.
The AMA also played an important indirect role through its sponsorship of the Journal of Marketing, which published the three top-rated articles in Table 2. The growth of services marketing would have been slower and its development perhaps quite different had a "flagship" journal such as the Journal of Marketing not existed, or had its editors at the time not been open to nontraditional work.
The early seminal articles in the Journal of Marketing and Harvard Business Review illustrate the value of conceptual work in laying the foundation for a new field. Articles by Shostack (1977), Levitt (1981), Lovelock (1983), and Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1985) are all nonempirical (the last being based on qualitative research). Lovelock's 1984 textbook and others that followed also helped to frame the emerging subdiscipline while diminishing the "lack of instructional materials" rationale for not adding services marketing coverage to curricula.
Numerous people contributed directly to the development of services marketing - and these people were influenced by others who encouraged them personally or through their writings. The panel of 15 people profiled in this article were not the only key contributors to the development of this field. Study the presenter lists from the early services marketing conferences, or lists of frequent services marketing authors, and certain people in addition to the panel group are much in evidence. They include Mary Jo Bitner, Bernard Booms, David Bowen, Lawrence Crosby, John Czepiel, Raymond Fisk, Michael Solomon, and Carol Surprenant. Services marketing is the child of many.
The interaction of European and American scholars enhanced the development of the field. It is unlikely that any other new marketing subdiscipline has benefitted as much as services marketing did by such a collaboration. As Christopher Lovelock states: "Until services marketing, America was setting the pace in academia. But with services, it was clearly a bi-continental influence - a coming together of scholars from both continents."
The European-American collaboration was facilitated by the sense of "being out on a limb" so evident in the personal statements of early services researchers. With so few marketing academics in the 1970s and early 1980s interested in, or even tolerant of, services marketing, academics who were interested banded together as a mutual support group. The durability of the overall networks and specific partnerships that developed suggests that many of the early participants were looking for more than just research collaborators; they were also looking for a social support system.
That virtually all of the early contributors are still actively involved in services research is indicative of a genuine fascination they have for the services subject. The personal statements of these contributors convey strong feelings for die subject matter - a deep, underlying personal commitment. Pierre Eiglier confesses to a "passion for services." He states that "services are the tomorrow world." Lynn Shostack says: "I stay involved to learn, and to continue performing the role of gadfly and agent-provocateur in this still-evolving, still fascinating field. " William George states: "The more I learn about services marketing, the more I want to know." And from Richard Chase: "Services are fun - doing research at Club Med beats research at Ford Motor Company every time."
APPENDIX: DESCRIPTIONS OF STRUCTURED AND
The survey sample consisted of members of the American Marketing Association (AMA) who: (a) were full- or part-time academics; (b) resided in North America; and (c) had indicated services marketing as one of three primary interest areas on their AMA membership forms. A total of 802 individuals out of approximately 2,700 AMA educator members met all three criteria at the time of the survey. Questionnaires accompanied by a cover letter and business-reply envelope were sent by first-class mail to this sample.
The primary purposes of this survey were to identify likely acceleration and inhibiting factors. (The open-ended surveys focused on the production factor section of the model in Figure 1.) The questionnaire presented lists of potential acceleration and inhibiting factors and asked respondents to rate the impact of each on a scale of 1 to 7. Each list included space for respondents to add and rate items if they wished.
Two categories of potential acceleration factors were included in the questionnaire: one pertaining to institutional contributions, the other to individual contributions. The first list presented (in chronological order) seven key services marketing developments/events sponsored by various institutions during the 1970-90 study period. These developments/events appeared to best fit the definition of an acceleration factor. The ratings should reveal which entries actually were acceleration factors, and open-ended responses on the questionnaire should indicate if any important developments/events were left off the list.
The second list presented (in chronological order) 15 published articles that qualified as potential acceleration factors based on a sequential screening process. In selecting publications to include in our survey, we began with a list of the 130 most active authors in the services marketing field based on the SERVMARK database. [SERVMARK is a computerized index of the services marketing literature developed by Fisk, Tansuhaj and Crosby (1988). The index contained more than 3,900 entries as of 1988, the latest year for which it had been updated at the time of this study.] We selected from this list authors with nine or more publications. Using the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) database, we identified articles by each selected author. We then selected those articles pertaining to services marketing and obtained an SSCI citation count for each. Industry-specific articles (e.g., marketing bank services) were not included. We selected the final list of articles for the survey by using citation count criteria of at least 20 citations for articles published between 1970 and 1980 and at least ten citations for articles published between 1981 and 1990.
In addition to the step-by-step protocol summarized above, we did citation counts on all services marketing articles published during the study period in the Harvard Business Review because of its prominence and influence, and because several HBR articles that we felt merited consideration were not identified by our main protocol. As a result, we added four HBR articles that met the citation-count criteria to a list of eleven articles identified by our main protocol.
Under inhibiting forces, our survey listed ten items, four each pertaining to "environmental factors" and "domain issues," and two pertaining to "methods issues." We used our judgment to identify specific forces that may have constrained the development of the services marketing field. Respondents were asked to rate the inhibiting influence of the items in the early years of the field's development, as well as their present influence. The developments/events, publications, and inhibiting forces included in the questionnaire appear in Tables 1-3 in the body of the article.
The questionnaire also included several questions to determine the degree of respondent's involvement in the services marketing field, the respondent's academic rank, and the teaching or research orientation of the respondent's institution.
Our sample was not meant to be a representative sample of marketing academics; rather our interest was in identifying academics who were knowledgeable enough about services marketing to rate the influence of various factors. In effect, we used the AMA sample as a means of identifying a smaller group that could provide informed responses on the questionnaire. Additionally, each item on the questionnaire had a "no opinion" category to accomodate respondents who were unable to rate the item. A total of 157 respondents completed and returned the questionnaires prior to the cut-off date.
The purpose of the open-ended surveys was to learn more about how key institutional and individual contributors to the development of services marketing began, the roles they played, the problems they faced, if any, and why they have stayed involved. Respondents provided written responses to open-ended questions. Members of the services marketing panel also submitted their vitas.
The services marketing panel consisted of 15 people from the United States and Europe who met three criteria:
1. Continuous involvement in the services marketing subdiscipline for a minimum of ten years.
2. Significant contributions to teaching and research in services marketing.
3. Leadership in the development of the field beyond teaching and research, e.g., chairing conferences, editing proceedings volumes, heading institutional units that have supported services marketing.
We held a group interview with six leaders in the services marketing field in June 1992, and this meeting was instrumental in determining the criteria for panel membership and the actual members. Not all the panel members were academics, or even from the marketing discipline, but all met the criteria. Profiles on each panel member appear in the body of the article.
As the analysis in the article clearly shows, many more than 15 people have contributed to the development of this field. What the collective input from the panel provides is insight into how key contributors entered a new field of study - and why they stay involved.
To gain insight into the early involvement in services marketing of three institutional contributors - the Marketing Science Institute, the American Marketing Association, and the First Interstate Center for Services Marketing at Arizona State University - we sent open-ended surveys to individual who played leadership roles in these institutions during the relevant period. The questions asked were similar to the panel questions but focused on the institution's involvement in services marketing.
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|Author:||Berry, Leonard L.; Parasuraman, A.|
|Publication:||Journal of Retailing|
|Date:||Mar 22, 1993|
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