Surrounded by Services: A New Lens for Examining the Influence of Services on Consumer Wellbeing

Laurie Anderson, Arizona State University
Amy Ostrom, Arizona State University
Daniele Mathras, Arizona State University
Mary Jo Bitner, Arizona State University

We advance a new research lens for examining the well-being of consumers by recognizing that services are so pervasive that to a large extent they structure the world within which consumers live. We call this new lens Transformative Service Research and define it as “Service research that centers on creating uplifting changes and improvements in the well-being of both individuals (consumers and employees) and communities.” In our efforts to develop theory regarding consumer well- being, we create a novel conceptual framework of consumers embedded in a system of services systems, influenced by services as structures and going between their own cultural world and the cultural worlds of services. An impetus for this framework was a four-year ethnographic study in a subsistence community. Findings from this study are used to illustrate the conceptualization.