Service Research Priorities: Managing and Delivering Service in Turbulent Times

Amy L. Ostrom, Joy M. Field, Darima Fotheringham, Mahesh Subramony, Anders Gustafsson, Katherine N. Lemon, Ming Hui Huang, Janet R. McColl-Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Transformative changes in the societal and service context call out for the service discipline to develop a coherent set of priorities for research and practice. To this end, we utilized multiple data sources: surveys of service scholars and practitioners, web scraping of online documents, a review of published service scholarship, and roundtable discussions conducted at the world’s foremost service research centers. We incorporated innovative methodologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, and qualitative analyses, to identify key service research priorities that are critical to address during these turbulent times. The first two priorities—technology and the changing nature of work and technology and the customer experience—focus on leveraging technology for service provision and consumption. The next two priorities—resource and capability constraints and customer proactivity for well-being—focus on responding to the changing needs of multiple stakeholders. Further, we identified a set of stakeholder-wants from the literature and include research questions that tie key stakeholder-wants to each of the four priorities. We believe the set of research priorities in the present article offer actionable ideas for service research directions in this challenging environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-353
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • customer experience
  • customer proactivity
  • frontline service employees
  • machine learning
  • service operations
  • service research priorities
  • service technology
  • stakeholders
  • transformative service research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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