Handbook of Service Marketing Research
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Handbook of Service Marketing Research

Edited by Roland T. Rust and Ming-Hui Huang

The Handbook of Service Marketing Research brings together an all-star team of leading researchers in service marketing to explore many of the hottest topics in service marketing today.
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Chapter 21: Rethinking the roles of marketing and operations: a service-ecosystems view

Stephen L. Vargo, Robert F. Lusch and Melissa Archpru Akaka


The study of service(s) has gained increasing attention in recent years, as researchers and managers struggle to understand dynamic and intangible aspects of markets that are not well explained by traditional, manufacturing models of value creation (Chase and Haynes 2000; Vargo and Lusch 2004b). One of the major issues with conventional production-based models is that they distinguish the role of firms as "producers," or creators, of value and the role of customers as "consumers," or destroyers, of the value created by the firm (Normann 2001). In fact, the study of service(s) has been partly driven by an effort to improve the understanding of value creation when "production" and "consumption" processes converge, and "relationships" between firms and customers (Gronroos 1995; Gummesson 1987) are seen as central aspects of exchange and value creation (for example, Lovelock 2000; Zeithaml et al. 1985). This redirection of service-related research—toward an interactive and customer-inclusive view (Chase 1978)—has blurred the lines between historically divided firm functions in academia and practice (Lovelock 2000), and implies a need for cross-fertilization across disciplines.

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