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Transformative Service Research: Advancing Our Knowledge About Service And Well-Being

Journal of Service Research

Laurel erson, Amy L. Ostrom


As humans and consumers, we spend much of our time immersed in an array of services and service systems (e.g., telecommunications, education, financial, government, and health care) that affect almost every aspect of our lives. Our continuous connection with and usage of services and the implications they have for our lives go far beyond questions related to traditional service dependent measures such as service quality, customer satisfaction, and loyalty. Service fundamentally affects our lives and our well-being as individuals, employees, families, and communities. Given this, we are honored to be the guest coeditors for this special issue on transformative service research (TSR). First conceptualized by Anderson (2010), today we regard TSR as any research, regardless of academic discipline, that, at its core, investigates the relationship between service and well-being. More specifically, TSR represents research that focuses on creating “uplifting changes” aimed at improving the lives of individuals (both consumers and employees), families, communities, society, and the ecosystem more broadly (Anderson et al. 2013). What distinguishes TSR from other service work is often the outcomes under investigation. With TSR, indicators of both increasing and decreasing well-being take center stage. These metrics may focus on assessing aspects of well-being, such as physical health (objective and subjective perceptions), mental health (e.g., resilience, stress, and burnout), financial well-being, discrimination, marginalization, literacy, inclusion, access, capacity building, and decreased disparity among others (Anderson et al. 2013; Rosenbaum et al. 2011). Although the term “transformative service research” is relatively new, prior service, consumer, and marketing research has emphasized service and well-being.



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