Monday, July 29, 2013

When Customers and Employees Join Together on Social Media...They Expect Discounts

Companies are encouraging retail employees and their customers to join together on social media, such as LinkedIN and Facebook.  What are the consequences?  Customers expect discounts.  


An exploratory analysis of social commonalities and subjective discounts


Document Information:
Title:An exploratory analysis of social commonalities and subjective discounts
Author(s):Mark S. Rosenbaum, (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA), Carolyn Massiah, (Department of Marketing, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA), Richard Wozniak, (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
Citation:Mark S. Rosenbaum, Carolyn Massiah, Richard Wozniak, (2013) "An exploratory analysis of social commonalities and subjective discounts", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 41 Iss: 9, pp.671 - 687
Keywords:Commercial friendshipsConsumer behaviourConsumer culture theory,Customer relationship managementGroup nepotism theoryRetail discounts,Subjective discounts
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/IJRDM-03-2012-0032 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:
Purpose – This article seeks to illustrate how social commonalities between employees and their customers often result in customers believing that they are entitled to discounts in retail settings.
Design/methodology/approach – This study employs survey methodology to reveal the extent to which various social commonalities between customers and service providers encourage customers to believe that they are entitled to financial discounts.
Findings – The findings show that commonalities may cause customers to adhere to narcissism – that is, many customers may expect discounts even when they know that employees may jeopardize their jobs by providing them.
Research limitations/implications – Customer relationships dramatically change with commonalities, as customers believe that social relationships propel them to “best customer status” and that they are entitled to discounts.
Practical implications – Customers who become increasingly connected with employees expect relational benefits that usually require time to develop. Retailers that encourage their employees to develop social media bonds with their customers must realize that customers desire to be financially rewarded for maintaining these linkages.
Originality/value – This work reveals that customers who maintain social commonalities with employees expect to receive some type of financial benefit from doing so.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Transformative Service Research...A New Paradigm

From: Journal of Research for Consumers Issue 19, 2011 - Transformative Consumer Research Special Issue ________________________________________________ Introducing Transformative Services Marketing to Consumers AUTHOR(S): Laurie Anderson, Canan Corus, Ray Fisk, Andrew Gallan, Martin Mende, Mark Mulder, Mario Giraldo, Amy Ostrom, Steven Rayburn, Mark Rosenbaum, Kunio Shirahada Jerome Williams ABSTRACT This article introduces the concept of transformative service research to consumer research and explains how service researchers may engage in research activities that promote human well-being. The authors offer several reasons as to why some consumers may look negatively towards marketing, and especially to service industries, such as banking, finance, and health care. To correct this marketing-consumer rift, the authors put forth a new research agenda that considers factors such as quality of life and consumer well-being as managerially relevant outcomes. Although this task may appear challenging, many service industries possess transformational qualities by their inherent design, while other services have transformational aspects that researchers need to thoroughly explore. ARTICLE ________________________________________________________________ Introduction Redefine the Dream: Marketers want us to believe that “more stuff makes us happier.” But are they right? Or does the American dream stand for opportunity—a promise of a better life for us and our children? (The Center for a New American Dream 2011). This poignant quote, which appears on The Center for a New American Dream’s (www.newdream.org) webpage, illustrates the disillusionment that many Americans hold towards the marketing field. From our academic perspective, we find this quote appalling and enlightening because it was never our intention as academics to become alienated from consumers or to harm their quality of life in any manner. As academics, we teach future and current managers how to develop and execute marketing actions that a firm’s customers will perceive as value laden, with value being defined in terms of benefits received and sacrifices provided (Zeithaml, 1988; Rust, Lemon, and Zeithaml 2004). Although pundits may claim that we attempt to extort monetary resources from hapless consumers, in reality, we encourage students and practitioners to shift maintain a customer relationship focus. That is, we view customers as having the potential to become partners with a firm (Johnson and Seines 2004), even “attached” to a firm often by participating in customer communities that focus upon a product, brand, or place (Fournier and Lee 2009; Rosenbaum et al. 2007). In sum, we encourage managers to build and to sustain long-term commitments to customers that are based upon quality, service, and innovation (Webster 1992). Marketers sell goods and services The emphasis upon building long-term customer relationships, as opposed to focusing on short-term marketplace transactions, in conjunction with perspectives that encourage marketers to offer customers value and meaningful brands, is part and parcel of services marketing (Rust, Zeithaml, and Lemon, 2000). In actuality, the selling of intangible services, as opposed to the selling of tangible goods, dominate the American economy, representing 76.7% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), a percentage which America shares with several other industrialized economies (Central Intelligence Agency 2010). Given the scope of service industries in industrialized countries, services research can have a significant impact for the future of consumers, communities, and even nations. To a considerable extent, services define the realities and norms in consumers’ day to day lives and shape societal structures that bound individuals and communities. Services’ fundamental roles are even evident in their significant share of the GDPs of developed countries, as well as their influence on societal outcomes such as public health and safety (Ostrom et al. 2010; Hill and Macan 1996). Moreover, the extensive use of resources required to deliver services, their political implications, and their pervasive role in citizens’ lives make services an integral element for any effort for societal change (Hill and Macan 1996; Adkins and Corus 2009). Defining services marketing One may consider that unlike a good, a service represents a time-perishable, intangible experience performed by a service provider for a customer, who is acting as a co-producer, to transform a state of the client (Spohrer and Maglio 2008). This definition reveals essential characteristics of services; namely, customer play active, rather than passive roles, in co-production service activities, and they are integral players in the co-creation of value, along with service providers. To understand how customers act as co-producers of value in services, consider their active participation in service industries such as health care, education, banking, insurance, beauty, air transportation, as well as all Internet-based transactions. In all of these aforementioned examples, customers engage with service providers, who are either people, self-service equipment (e.g., ATM machine), or cyber-based (e.g, weightwatcher.com. eharmony.com) to transform their own states, and if they fail to do so, they will not fully attain the benefit or value of the service (Spohrer and Maglio 2008). Understanding Consumer Disregard for Service Marketers Given that America is a service economy and that services represents co-production activities between service providers and their customers that transforms their states, perhaps, our dismay towards customers envisioning marketing as a self-serving, deceitful ploy to sell consumers things that they do not want is understandable. How did this bifurcation between consumers and marketing academics happen? On the one hand, marketing academics and practitioners are culpable for emphasizing a “selling orientation,” a method of thinking which began after WWII and continued until about 1970 (Kotler et al. 2009). This orientation encouraged marketers to focus primarily on the selling and promotion of particular tangible goods during short-term marketplace exchanges. On the other, over the past 40 years, marketers, especially those in services, have shifted their thought to building long-term customer relationships that promote longevity by implementing strategies that promote value, favorable views towards a brand, and that foster relationships (e.g., loyalty programs, interactive websites, customer clubs; Rust et al. 2004; Vogel, Evanschitzky and Ramaseshan 2008). Today’s marketers are attuned towards selling customers products, both goods and services, in a manner which yields customer satisfaction, encourages long-term customer loyalty, and which benefits all stakeholders involved in marketplace exchanges; including customers, employees, organizational shareholders, and society in general (Heskett et al. 1994). Financial, banking, health care, retailing, and restaurants: A dark side However, consumers do not seem to realize that service marketers are no longer keen on merely selling them products during single transactions or on developing relationships with them; in fact, most would probably consider this revelation as folly. Contemporary consumers attribute the recent global recession, if not depression, to banking and financial service providers who provided mortgages to people who could ill-afford them, and who, through further deception, sold these as receivables to global investors. Consumers learned that Main Street would subsidize Wall Street, as the term, “too big to fail,” became part of the American vernacular. Beyond the current financial service crises, service organizations in general are often criticized for undeserving communities in need, their top down and patronizing style of service delivery and degrading policies of segmentation and targeting (Fisk 2009; Williams and Henderson 2011). For example, the economic disparities in healthcare contribute to the reinforcement of the marginalization of already underprivileged consumers (Williams and Henderson 2011; Newman and Vidler 2006). Grocery chains are often reluctant to open establishments in lower-income urban areas, creating food deserts, essentially urban areas in which consumers lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet (CDC 2009; Mitchell 2011). CNN (2008) exposed the fact that racial discrimination remains alive and well in Ameircan retailing, as African-American consumers are commonly victims of accusatory actions associated with “shopping while black.” Similarly, Cracker Barrel restaurants also have a history of discriminating both African-American and gay customers in their establishments (New York Times, 2011). Clearly, much effort is required for better serving the “unserved and underserved” consumers (Fisk 2009, p.1) and for improving the welfare of societies. Understanding how to mend the consumer-marketing rift We suggest that the consumer derision towards the marketing field, academics, and practitioners may stem from our philosophy of research methodology. Marketing academics may have wrongly assumed that by engaging in empirical research that primarily focuses upon understanding why organizational customers hold favorable attitudes towards them (e.g., satisfaction/delight; Oliver 1999) or display future behavioral intentions towards them (e.g., commitment to patronage, positive word-or-mouth, pay more; Zeithaml, Berry, and Parasuraman 1996), we were also enhancing consumer well-being. That is, academics may have incorrectly assumed that satisfied consumers and loyal consumers would logically be happy consumers, who were pleased with their marketplace experiences and who viewed them in a favorable manner. Perhaps, as academics, we thought by helping future and current managers solve real managerial problems, we resultantly would improve consumer welfare. In actuality, service-oriented academics and managers became increasingly less important to consumers and to providing them with scientific research that transformed their well-being (Mick, 2006). Indeed, while most service researchers consider future behavioral intentions worthy of exploration, few service researchers contemplated factors such as well-being or quality of life as noteworthy managerial outcomes (Dagger and Sweeney 2006) Transformational service research conceptualized To correct this problem, we encourage service academics and practitioners to engage in transformational service research (TSR) and activities. TSR strives to solve real problems that consumers confront in service exchanges, and, consequently, augments consumer welfare (Mick 2006 by applying marketing techniques and tools to enhance the lives of individuals and communities. As a research paradigm, TSR investigates how and why service exchanges may promote or create transformational (i.e., positive and uplifting) changes and improvements in the well-being of individuals involved in these exchanges, including consumers, employees, families, social networks, communities, cities, nations, collectives, and ecosystems (Anderson, Ostrom, and Bitner 2011). Thus, TSR is represents a call for services research that relates to, and advocates for, personal and collective wellbeing of consumers and societal members in general. TSR builds on the notion of a transformative service economy, which improves the relationships among social, economic, and environmental systems through respectful, collaborative and sustainable interactions. Transformative initiatives TSR encourages researchers to explore issues like social justice, consumer agency, and ecological stability. It relates to contemporary concepts such as sustainability, green marketing, and triple bottom line, which encourages researchers to consider economic, social and environmental outcomes (Ostrom et al. 2010). The dynamic nature of services offers substantial transformative potential, due to the direct, often dialogic interaction between the service provider and consumer. TSR explores multifaceted outcomes of service interactions including those that may be intentional and overt (e.g., physical health benefits from services at a clinic) as well as outcomes that may be unintended or overlooked by providers and consumers (e.g., enhanced well-being from a clinic’s support group). TSR invites researchers to focus on mitigating consumer vulnerability and improving consumer agency, which is often an issue when consumers find themselves in a position of lesser knowledge and expertise during a service interaction (Adkins and Corus 2009). Marginalized groups and disparities in the quality of services offered to different groups are particularly emphasized. Also of interests are the contexts and service environments that promote physical health and emotional and mental well being (Jamner and Stokols 2001; Rosenbaum et al. 2007). Although this call may appear daunting, most services have transformational potential; which await discovery by researchers. Many service industries, such as health care, education, not-for-profit firm are transformational by their organizational intent; service researchers simply need to begin considering them as relevant managerial outcomes. Other service industries, such as retailing, hospitality, and entertainment, do not possess a commercial intent that is by design transformational; however, we put forth that all services have transformational possibilities. We will now review these two types of service industries in more detail. Transformational services Health care represents a service which strives to transform well-being; however, service researchers in management, operations, and marketing, have by-and-large neglected to study this domain (Berry and Bendapudi 2007). As service researchers, we ironically know considerably little about service providers, including health professionals, volunteers, and non-government organizations (NGOs), that are integral in providing people with medical, psychological and spiritual support, especially for those living at the “bottom of the pyramid” or who reside in developing, third-world countries. Along these lines, pioneering theoretical and empirical work also resides in understanding the role that non-profit organizations (NPO; Rosenbaum, Sweeney, and Windhorst 2009), private voluntary organizations, and political lobbyists, may assume in respecting, upholding, and improving consumers’ lives in relationship to the consumption of goods, services, and information. Services that have transformational potential Although the aforementioned service providers seem unsurprisingly adept at transforming their customers’ well-being, we put forth that the majority of commercial service industries, which many consumers commonly experience as part of their daily routines, also possess the ability to transform their customers’ lives via consumption activities. For example, sociologists, human ecologists, environmental psychologists, gerontologists, and service researchers, have a rich history of exploring how loosely-connected, social relationships that naturally form in service settings, such as neighborhood diners, fast-food restaurants, beauty shops, bars, video arcades, often transform human well-being by providing people with social supportive resources in their time of need (Cowen 1982, Rosenbaum 2006 for review). Thus, if researchers look beyond the commercial intent of many services, they may discover their transformational potential. Along these lines, Sherry (2000) puts forth that we have looked at places and exchanges as inert and homogeneous. Consequently, he argues that marketers have not been attentive enough to the animistic beliefs and rituals that consumers (or designers) employ to vivify consumption settings. To mend this rift, researchers will have to explore not only the financial and economic impact of services (see Zeithaml, Bitner, and Gremler, 2009) but also the quality of life and subjective sense of well-being that services often have on individuals, social groups, communities, and so forth. Perhaps, service researchers have to create a new balanced scorecard (Kaplan and Norton 1992), one that considers humanistic perspectives, such as impact on human health and environmental well-being, as essential as measuring financial outcomes, customer satisfaction, organizational innovation, and employee development. This scorecard would encourage service providers to foster relationships with their customers that are respectful, collaborative, and sustainable. Transforming society Although the image of the consumer stands at the heart of the attempts to transform service research, it is worth emphasizing here that TSR implications hardly limited to individual outcomes. Consumers’ individual actions, along with firms’ policies, often have communal outcomes. For example, increased consumer agency may have consequences beyond better personal health. At a macro level, implications may also include better community access to health services, competition between healthcare institutions and perhaps even resulting revisions of organizational policies (Newman and Vidler 2006). Similarly, higher consumer financial literacy may not only enhance personal financial decisions but might also improve distributive justice in a community or a nation. Moreover, consumer experiences are influenced not only at a micro level by their own agency but also at a macro level by the socio-economic context and larger structural forces (Giddens 1990). Thus, TSR studies should include analyses of micro and macro outcomes of services on consumer welfare. As a case in point, more recent transformative studies have started focusing on collective service outcomes, by exploring the collaboration between service providers and underprivileged communities (Ozanne and Anderson 2010). References Laurel Anderson, Amy L. Ostrom, and Mary Jo Bitner 2011, Working Paper. Adkins, Natalie and Canan Corus (2009), “Health Literacy for Improved Health Outcomes: Effective Capital in the Marketplace,” Journal of Consumer Affairs, 43 (2), 199-222. Berry, Leonard (1995),”Relationship Marketing of Services—Growing Interest, Emerging Perspectives,”Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 23(4), 236-245. Center for a New American Dream, 2011. http://www.newdream.org [9 June 2011]. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FoodDeserts/ [9 June 2011]. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, 2011. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2012.html. Cowen, Emory L. (1982), “Help is Where You Find It: Four Informal Helping Groups,” American Psychologist, 37(4), 385-395. CNN (2008, July 23), “Behind the Scenes: Black and Shopping in America. http://articles.cnn.com/2008-07-23/us/btsc.obrien_1_officers-glenn-murphy-police-department?_s=PM:US [9 June 2011]. Dagger, Tracey S. andJillian C. Sweeney (2006), The Effect of Service Evaluations on Behavioral Intentions and Quality of Life,” Journal of Service Research, 9 (1), 3-18, Fisk, Raymond (2009), “A Customer Liberation Manifesto,” Service Science, 1(3), 135-141. Fournier, Susan and Lara Lee (2009), “Getting Brand Communities Right,” Harvard Business Review, 87(4), 105-111. Giddens, Anthony (1990), The Consequences of Modernity. Polity Press: Cambridge. Heskett, James L., Thomas O. Jones, Gary W. Loveman, W. Earl Sasser Jr., and Leonard A. Schlesinger (1994), “Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work,” Harvard Business Review, 72 (March-April), 164-174. Hill, Ronald Paul and Sandi Macan (1996) “Consumer Survival on Welfare with an Emphasis on Medicaid and the Food Stamp Program,” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 15 (1), 118-127. Jamner, Margaret Schneider and Daniel Stokols (2001), Promoting Human Wellness: New Frontiers for Research, Practice, and Policy, University of California Press: Berkeley, CA. Johnson, Michael D and Fred Seines (2004), “Customer Portfolio Management: Toward a Dynamic Theory of Exchange Relationships,” Journal of Marketing, 68 (2), 1-17. Kaplan, Robert S. and David P. Norton (1992), “The Balanced Scorecards: Measures that Drive Performance,” Harvard Business Review, Kotler, Philip, Gary Armstrong, Veronica Wong, John Saunders (2009). Principles of Marketing. 5th edition, Prentice-Hall: Boston. Mitchell, Mary (2011, June 15). “Mayor Emanuel holds city’s first “Food Desert Summit,” Chicago Sun Times, http://www/suntimes.com/news/mitchell/5983748-452/mayor-emanuel-holds-citys-first-food-desert-summit.html [9 June 2011]. New York Times (2011, July 11), “Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc,” http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/business/companies/cbrl-group-inc/index.html [11 July 2011]. Newman, Janet and Elizabeth Vidler (2006), “Discriminating Customers, Responsible Patients, Empowered Users: Consumerism and the Modernisation of Health Care,” Journal of Social Policy, 35 (2), 193–209. Oliver, Richard L. (1999), “Whence Consumer Loyalty?” Journal of Marketing, 63 (Special Issue), 33-44. Ostrom, Amy. L., Mary Jo Bitner, Stephen W. Brown, Kevin A. Burkhard, Michael Goul, Vicki Smith-Daniels, Haluk Demirkan, and Elliot Rabinovich (2010), “ Moving Forward and Making a Difference: Research Priorities for the Science of Service,” Journal of Service Research, 13 (1), 4-36. Ozanne, Julie L. and Laurel Anderson (2010), “Community Action Research,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 29 (1), 123-137. Rosenbaum, Mark S. (2006), “Exploring the Social Supportive Role of Third Places,” Journal of Service Research, 9 (1), 59-72. Rosenbaum, Mark S., Jillian C. Sweeney, Carla Windhorst (2009), “The Restorative Qualities of an Activity-Based, Third Place Café for Seniors: Restoration, Social Support, and Place Attachment at Mather’s—More Than a Café,” Senior Housing & Care Journal, 17 (1), 39-54. Rosenbaum, Mark S., James Ward, Beth A. Walker, and Amy L. Ostrom (2007), “A Cup of Coffee with a Dash of Love: An Investigation of Commercial Social Support and Third Place Attachment,” Journal of Service Research, 10 (1), 43-59. Rust, Roland. T., Kay N. Lemon and Valarie A. Zeithaml (2004), “Return on Marketing: Using Customer Equity to Focus Marketing Strategy,” Journal of Marketing, 68 (1), 109-127. Rust, Roland T., Valarie A. Zeithaml, and Kay N. Lemon (2000), Driving Customer Equity: How Customer Lifetime Value is Reshaping Corporate Strategy. Free Press: New York. Sherry, John, (2000), “Place, Technology, and Representation,” Journal of Consumer Research, 27(2), 273-278. Spohrer, Jim and Paul P. Maglio (2008), “The Emergence of Service Science: Toward Systematic Service Innovations to Accelerate Co-Creation of Value,” Production and Operations Management, 17 (3), 238-246. Vogel, V., Evanschitzky, H., and Ramaseshan, B. (2008). Customer equity drivers and future sales. Journal of Marketing, 72 (6), 98-108. Webster, F.E. Jr. (1992), “The Changing Role of marketing in the Corporation,” Journal of Marketing 56 (October), 1-17. Williams, Jerome D. and Geraldine R. Henderson (2011), “Discrimination and Injustice in the Marketplace: They Come in All Sizes, Shapes, and Colors,” in Mick, David, Simone Pettigrew, Connie Pechmann, and Julie Ozanne, eds. Transformative Consumer Research for Personal and Collective Well Being: Reviews and Frontiers, Boca Raton, Florida: Taylor & Francis Group. Zeithaml, V. A. (1988). Consumer perceptions of price, quality, and value: A means-end model and synthesis of evidence. Journal of Marketing, 52 (3), 2-22. Zeithaml, Valarie A., Leonard L. Berry and A. Parasuraman (1996), “The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality,” Journal of Marketing, 60 (2), pp. 31-46.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Research on Retail Discrimination!

Title: Family allowances as reverse retail discrimination http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17030606 Author(s): Mark S. Rosenbaum, (Department of Marketing, College of Business, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA), Gianfranco Walsh, (Institute for Management, University of Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz, Germany), Richard Wozniak, (Department of Marketing, College of Business, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA) Citation: Mark S. Rosenbaum, Gianfranco Walsh, Richard Wozniak, (2012) "Family allowances as reverse retail discrimination", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 40 Iss: 5, pp.342 - 359 Keywords: Discrimination, Ethnography, Gay consumers, Gay men, Germany, Relational benefits, Retail discrimination, Retail racism, Retail trade, Reverse discrimination, Turkish consumers, United States of America Article type: Research paper Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited Purpose – Researchers have explored the extent to which consumers belonging to minority, ethnic, marginalized, and sub-cultural groups experience discrimination in retail settings. This study aims to explore the converse of retail racism – namely, reverse retail discrimination. The work shows that gay men in the USA and Turkish people in Germany often secure relational benefits, or “family allowances,” from like employees, for no reason other than that they share a socio-collective trait. Design/methodology/approach – The study employs grounded theory methodology to put forth a framework regarding five types of family allowances. The framework emerges from two in-depth interview studies conducted with gay and Turkish people. A third qualitative study reveals insights into how majority groups view family allowances. Findings – This study reveals that consumers who share ethnic and sexual orientation traits with like employees obtain family allowances; these are complementary products, monetary discounts, service improvements, customer comfort, and the sharing of information. The study also reveals that consumers from majority groups realize that reverse retail discrimination exists; however, they react negatively to having their thoughts confirmed. Research limitations/implications – This study is limited in that respondents were gay men and Turkish people. Studies are needed to further develop understanding of reverse retail discrimination and to investigate the extent to which managers realize that this phenomenon occurs. Practical implications – Managers should realize that the potential for reverse discrimination exists and that discriminatory victims may become discriminatory agents. Originality/value – This study develops the concept of family allowances. In addition, the study expands knowledge regarding a new type of marketplace discrimination.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bo Concept Chicago Launches Karim Rashid Collection

Enjoy all the great news, colors, inspiration and tips for the spring season. Award-winning designer Karim Rashid has created the new Ottawa collection. Explore the designs and meet Karim. Or turn the pages to find new inspiring ideas to spice up your home. http://magazines.boconcept.com/BoConcept/Effect2012/US/

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Transformative Services: A Research Agenda

Latest work published in Journal of Research for Consumers Issue: 19, 2011 ________________________________________________ Conceptualisation and Aspirations of Transformative Service Research AUTHOR(S): Mark S. Rosenbaum1, Canan Corus2, Amy L. Ostrom3, Laurel Anderson4, Raymond P. Fisk5, Andrew S. Gallan6, Mario Giraldo7, Martin Mende8, Mark Mulder9, Steven W. Rayburn10, Kunio Shirahada11, and Jerome D. Williams12 ABSTRACT This article conceptualises transformative service research and encourages service researchers to engage in research activities that promote human well-being. The authors advance a new research agenda that, unlike traditional service research, treats outcomes related to consumer well-being, including quality of life issues, as important, managerially relevant, and worthy of study. Both (i) services/service systems that already possess transformational qualities through their inherent design and are intended to enhance well-being (but in actuality may not do so) and (ii) other services/service systems that do not focus on transformational qualities but could enhance or unintentionally hurt well-being are worthy of additional research and study. Although transformative service research may be challenging, we argue that both consumers and the organizations that serve them may benefit from research that examines how services can and do improve or reduce the welfare of individuals, communities, nations, and the global ecosystem. ARTICLE ________________________________________________________________ Introduction Improving human welfare becomes a bigger challenge by the day. Numerous factors contribute to rising concern about the well-being of individuals around the globe including financial crises, obesity, poverty, limited food supplies, scarce clean water, inadequate healthcare, global warming, terrorism, toxins in the environment, and natural disasters. Although services can and have contributed positively to consumer well-being in the context of these issues, service organizations have also been criticized for ignoring or even harming consumer well-being in a variety of ways including underserving communities in need, their top down and patronizing style of service delivery as well as, at times, their degrading policies of segmentation and targeting (Fisk 2009; Williams and Henderson 2011). For example, economic disparities in healthcare contribute to the reinforcement of the 1 Mark S. Rosenbaum - Northern Illinois University, 2 Canan Corus - St. John's University, 3 Amy L. Ostrom - Arizona State University, 4 Laurel Anderson - Arizona State University, 5 Raymond P. Fisk - Texas State University, San Marcos, 6 Andrew S. Gallan - Case Western Reserve University, 7 Mario Giraldo - Universidad del Norte, 8 Martin Mende - University of Kentucky, 9 Mark Mulder - Washington State University, 10 Steven W. Rayburn - Oklahoma State University, 11 Kunio Shirahada - Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 12 Jerome D. Williams - Rutgers University 2 marginalization of already underprivileged consumers (Newman and Vidler 2006; Williams and Henderson 2011). Grocery chains are often reluctant to open establishments in lower-income areas, creating food deserts, essentially urban areas in which consumers lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthful diet (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2010; Mitchell 2011). In retail environments in the United States, African American consumers may be victims of service degradation or denial associated with “shopping while black” (Harris, Henderson, and Williams 2005; O'Brien 2008). Similarly, ethnic small business owners may also be treated differently and given less access to needed funds from financial institutions (Bone, Williams, and Christensen 2010). Ultimately, there is significant need to properly serve the needs of “unserved and underserved” consumers (Fisk 2009, p.1) and to improve the welfare of communities, nations, and the global ecosystem. Service research can play an important role in tackling questions that, at their core, seek to understand and improve the relationship among service systems (e.g., referring to a complex, integrated network of services such as an insurance network or, at a more macro level, healthcare and governmental services), individual service organizations and their employees, customers, and other stakeholders and well-being in ways that positively influence the future of individuals and collectives. To a considerable extent, service systems define the realities and norms in consumers’ day-to-day lives and shape societal structures that bound individuals and communities (Anderson, Ostrom, and Bitner 2011; Edvardsson, Tronvoll, and Gruber 2011; Korsten and Seider 2010). Services’ fundamental role is further evident in their significant share in the GDPs of developed countries, as well as their influence on societal outcomes such as public health and safety (Hill and Macan 1996; Ostrom et al. 2010). Moreover, the extensive use of resources required to deliver services, their political implications, and their pervasive role in citizens’ lives make services an integral element for any effort for societal change (Adkins and Corus 2009; Anderson et al. 2011; Hill and Macan 1996). Although services are a pervasive part of consumers’ lives, the fact that consumers often co-produce service and are always in the position of creating value or co-creating value in collaboration with organizations and others highlights the role that consumers also play in their own well-being (Vargo and Lusch 2008). For consumers, part of value creation may include intangible benefits such as improved mental, social, or physical well-being. For example, by engaging in full disclosure with health care professionals, asking questions, and following prescribed medication dosages, health care customers help to maximize the value potential of the resources provided by health care organizations and their employees. Unfortunately, few service researchers and practitioners to date have contemplated customer well-being, including quality of life issues, and these types of outcomes. The findings of service research focused on consumer well-being are likely to be important for both consumers and the organizations that serve them. This type of research may be able to improve organizations’ bottom line by incorporating more focused attention on the ramifications of enhancing or unintentionally hurting consumer well-being. Although outcomes such as a customer’s intention to repurchase from or to recommend a firm that are typically examined by service researchers remain worthy of exploration, so too are well-being related outcomes such as improved quality of life (Dagger and Sweeney 2006). Organizations that find ways to enhance well-being for consumers, including their own employees, or reduce unintended negative well-being outcomes may gain a happier, more productive workforce, a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and increased customer loyalty. Indeed, burgeoning service research suggests that customers may be willing to pay a price premium to service organizations that care about and support their well-being (Rosenbaum 2008). In addition, in some circumstances, organizations may be required to act due to new public policy legislation that is put into place to enhance consumer well-being. 3 Transformative Service Research Conceptualised In light of these challenges and opportunities, we encourage service academics and practitioners to engage in transformative service research and activities. Transformative service research (TSR) focuses on improving consumer and societal welfare through service. It is inspired by transformative consumer research that seeks to “solve real problems” (Mick 2006, p. 1) of consumers by applying marketing techniques and tools to enhance the lives of individuals and communities. As a research paradigm, TSR is defined as “ service research that centers on creating uplifting changes and improvements in the well-being of individuals (consumers and employees), families, social networks, communities, cities, nations, collectives, and ecosystems” (Anderson et al. 2011). Ultimately, TSR is a call for service research that relates to and advocates for personal and collective well-being of consumers and, more broadly, citizens and the entire global ecosystem. Whereas traditional service research often focuses on dependent measures such as customer satisfaction and loyalty and aims to understand factors that impact service firms’ profitability, TSR focuses on understanding the role that services and service customers themselves play in affecting consumer well-being. It builds on the notion of a transformative service economy that improves the relationships among social, economic, and environmental systems through respectful, collaborative, and sustainable interactions. Toward a Transformative Research Agenda TSR encourages researchers to explore such issues as social justice, consumer agency, and ecological stability and expands on contemporary concepts such as sustainability, green marketing, and the triple bottom line, emphasizing corporate responsibility for economic, social, and environmental outcomes of business practices (Ostrom et al. 2010). It also calls for the development of new measures of the effects of service on individuals and societies. The dynamic nature of services offers substantial transformative potential because of the direct and often dialogic interaction between the service provider and the consumer (Anderson et al. 2011). For example, TSR explores multifaceted outcomes, both positive and negative, of service interactions, including those that may be intentional and overt (e.g., physical health benefits from services at a clinic) as well as outcomes that may be unintended or overlooked by providers and consumers (e.g., the social capital provided to patients by other patients at a clinic, the physical and psychological effects of a clinic’s servicescape on patient health, or the negative health outcomes that may result from non-culturally sensitive recommendations from physicians). TSR challenges researchers to focus on mitigating consumer vulnerability and improving consumer agency because many consumers find themselves in a position of lesser knowledge and expertise during a service interaction (Adkins and Corus 2009; Anderson et al. 2011). Marginalized groups and disparities in the quality of services offered to different groups are particularly emphasized. Also of interest are the contexts and service environments that promote physical health and emotional and mental well-being (Jamner and Stokols 2001; Rosenbaum et al. 2007). Although this call to action may appear daunting, most services have transformational potential that awaits discovery by researchers. That is, many services, such as healthcare and education, have an explicit transformative mission and intent. In most instances, researchers and practitioners involved in these services may easily begin considering well-being outcomes as relevant managerial goals, although the organizations might not always be successful in achieving them and may be unintentionally engaging in activities that reduce consumer well-being. However, other services in areas, such as retailing, hospitality, and entertainment, typically do not possess clear transformative goals. These services may impact well-being in positive ways that have not been anticipated. Likewise, they may also be harming consumer or societal well-being due to unintended consequences of, among other things, employee actions, service design, and/or organizational policies. For example, 4 Internet services may have had an unanticipated positive result of providing consumers with access to much more information than was previously available about other consumers’ experiences with service providers as they make their own service choices. Subsequent services such as Yelp have capitalized on this positive and embraced result. In contrast, the location of retail food markets is usually based on segmentation, but might have the unintentional (although perhaps not unanticipated) result of food deserts in poorer neighbourhoods. In the sections below, we turn attention to discussing a TSR research agenda for both types of services, those that are transformational by design and those that have transformational potential. Transformational Services by Design There are numerous services that are designed with aspects of consumer well-being in mind, such as disaster relief services (Baker 2009), employee wellness programs (Berry, Mirabito, and Baun 2010), social services, and healthcare. Healthcare services have received the most attention with researchers in management, operations, and marketing focusing attention on this domain. However, there are still numerous issues to be addressed related to health services and the health service system as a whole (Berry and Bendapudi 2007). For example, researchers ironically know little about the role that service providers play in affecting health (either in positive or negative ways). These service providers might be explicitly tied to consumers’ well-being and include health professionals, those involved with delivering social services, and volunteers and others who work for non-government organizations, who are integral to providing medical, psychological, and spiritual support to those living at the “bottom of the pyramid.” Services that have Transformational Potential Although the aforementioned services clearly affect their customers’ well-being, we argue that the majority of services that consumers experience as part of their daily routines also possess the ability to transform their customers’ lives through consumption activities. For example, sociologists, human ecologists, environmental psychologists, gerontologists, and service researchers have a history of exploring how loosely connected social relationships that naturally form in settings, such as diners, fast-food restaurants, beauty shops, and bars, often transform human well-being by providing people with support in their time of need (Cowen 1982; Rosenbaum 2006). Thus, if researchers look beyond the commercial intent of many services, they may discover these services’ transformational potential. Often, for-profit services are conceived and designed to maximize profits without explicitly considering potentially beneficial or deleterious effects on individual and/or societal well-being. Similarly, Sherry (2000) maintains that researchers have viewed places and exchanges as inert and homogeneous. Consequently, he argues that marketers have not been attentive enough to the rituals that consumers (or designers) employ to vivify consumption settings. For example, a ritual of reading the New York Times from start to finish at a local coffee shop each Sunday may endow the place with a sense of home, community, and intellectual sophistication. Thus, researchers need to explore not only the financial and economic impact of services (see Zeithaml, Bitner, and Gremler 2009), but also the subjective sense of well-being that services often confer on individuals, social groups, and communities. Transforming Society Although the well-being of individuals plays a central role when considering transformative service, we emphasize that transformative service research and its implications are hardly limited to individual issues and outcomes. Consumers’ individual actions, along with firms’ policies, often have communal outcomes. For example, increased consumer agency may have consequences beyond better personal health at the macro level. This increased agency may result in better community access to health services, competition between health care 5 institutions, and even revisions of organizational policies (Newman and Vidler 2006). Similarly, higher consumer financial literacy might not only enhance personal financial decisions but also improve distributive justice in a community or a nation. Moreover, consumer experiences are influenced not only at a micro level by their own agency but also at a macro level by the socioeconomic context and larger structural forces (Giddens 1984, 1990). TSR should investigate both individual and collective level issues and include analyses of micro and macro outcomes of services on consumer welfare. Indeed, recent transformative studies have begun focusing on collective service outcomes by exploring the collaboration between service providers and underprivileged communities (Ozanne and Anderson 2010). Collaboration between service researchers and those in more macro-focused disciplines, such as sociology and public health, may facilitate work examining macro level outcomes and implications of the service economy. Important research could also examine instances when individual well-being goals conflict with societal well-being, such as when an airline traveller protests federal security mandates or individuals refute public health initiatives towards safe health practices. TSR could investigate how well-being among different levels and among different groups of consumers should be prioritized. Overall, TSR represents a new area in both consumer and service research that can contribute to understanding and minimizing the challenging problems facing today’s society. By formalizing this area, we hope that it will be a catalyst for additional service research focused on these important and understudied issues related to consumer well-being. 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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Uncovering Macao's Mystique

Why is Macao's gambling revenues 5X that of Las Vegas? In this new article, my co-author and I debunk the myth. Casinos are important travel attractions, but they are often overshadowed by hardcore gambling behaviors. Although gambling has been found as a key tourism driver, it is unclear how casinos, as hospitality service providers, are able to fulfill other travel needs. This article highlights an emerging but under studied phenomenon in tourism and hospitality research: casino tourism. Based on empirical data collected in the world gaming capital, Macau, the results reveal that tourists’ casino excursions are primarily motivated by five factors: entertainment and novelty seeking, leisure activity, escape from pressure, casino sightseeing, and socialization. The findings suggest that although gambling is part of the casino experience tourists seek, mainland Chinese tourists are looking for assorted travel and leisure experiences. These experiences can further be classified into two segments: entertainment-for-socialization seekers and sightseeing-for-relaxation seekers. Demographic differences in addition to two- and three-way interactions of the motivational factors are also discussed. Beyond Hardcore Gambling: Understanding Why Mainland Chinese Visit Casinos in Macau IpKin Anthony Wong anthonywong@ift.edu.mo Institute for Tourism Studies, Colina de Mong-Ha Mark S. Rosenbaum Northern Illinois University, DeKalb For more see: http://jht.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/10/21/1096348010380600