Billions of Impoverished People Deserve To Be Better Served: A Call to Action for the Service Research Community (New)

Raymond P. Fisk, Texas State University
Laurel Anderson, Arizona State University
David E. Bowen, Thunderbird, Arizona State University
Thorsten Gruber, Loughborough University, UK
Amy L. Ostrom, Arizona State University
Lia Patrício, University of Porto, Portugal
Javier Reynoso, Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM), Mexico
Roberta Sebastiani, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

The purpose of this paper is to create a movement within the service research community that aspires to help the billions of impoverished people across the world achieve better service from each other, from their communities, from corporations, from their governments, and from nongovernmental organizations. We believe every human being is worthy of being served properly. To achieve this purpose, understanding and learning from this huge low-income segment of society known as the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) is essential. There are myths about the BoP that need to be dispelled and there is a fundamental lack of service research on this important problem.

The existence of an extensive BoP literature combined with service research priorities has called attention to drafting research agendas. Human service systems are explored historically and systems theory provides a perspective for understanding and reducing poverty. Transformative service research, service design research and community action research are presented to illustrate three research approaches that can contribute to understanding and then better serving the needs of the neglected billions of people.

First, we present a practical and meaningful call to action by making the case for our service research community to contribute to poverty alleviation with the creation of fresh ideas and research agendas. Second, we describe the ample opportunity for conducting service research in and with the BoP and thereby expanding service knowledge about the BoP. Third, we suggest a number of approaches for service researchers to join this new movement and help improve the well-being of billions of impoverished people.


Fisk, Raymond P., Laurel Anderson, David E. Bowen, Thorsten Gruber, Amy L. Ostrom, Lia Patrício, Javier Reynoso, and Roberta Sebastiani (2016), “Billions of Impoverished People Deserve to Be Better Served: A Call to Action for the Service Research Community,” Journal of Service Management, Vol. 27, No. 1, (Forthcoming).