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Transformative Consumer Research


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

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.

Cocreating The Arab Spring: Understanding Transformation Of Service Systems In Contention

Per Skålén, Kotaiba Abdul Aal, Bo Edvardsson


This article examines the transformation of service systems through actors’ resource integration and value cocreation in contention. It is based on a netnographic study focusing on the use of information and communications technology (ICT) tools by online activists during the “Arab Spring.” The transformation of service systems is conceptualized on the basis of existing service research and on the theory of strategic action fields. Focusing on Syria, the findings suggest that activists transformed four interdependent service systems—the media, the social movement, health care, and the financial service systems—during the Arab Spring by means of integrating resources and cocreating value within several ICT tools. A key contribution to transformative service research is the fact that the positive transformation of service systems derives from the conflict between two types of actors, namely, incumbents and challengers. This article also contributes to our knowledge of triggers of service system transformation, what motivates actors to transform service systems, how service system transformation is enabled by actors’ integration and use of ICT tools serving as opportunity spaces, and the transformative roles actors adopt. In addition, this article contributes to the conceptualization of service systems and to the understanding of resource integration and value cocreation.

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