Paradigms in Service Research

Bård Tronvoll, University of Karlstad
Stephen W. Brown, Arizona State University
Dwayne D. Gremler, Bowling Green State University
Bo Edvardsson, University of Karlstad

Service research has successfully evolved over several decades and is becoming a research discipline of its own. Throughout its development, this research has mainly focused on practical issues related to managerial relevance. There has been little, if any, ontological and epistemological discussions, nor much commentary about the paradigmatic assumptions of the research field. Major dialog about a service dominate logic (SDL) and the movement to create a multidisciplinary service science also suggest some of the limitations of service research to date. Recognizing these shortcomings, this paper assesses to core characteristics of major services articles, examines different epistemological foundations and then proposes a framework to describe and better understand the development and future of service research. The framework offers a guide to paradigmatic and methodological analysis of service research and contributes to discussion about the future of this emerging discipline.

Tronvoll, Bård, Stephen W. Brown, Dwayne D. Gremler, and Bo Edvardsson (2011), “Paradigms in Service Research,” Journal of Service Management, 22 (5), 560-585.