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Methods different from the ones applied earlier in service management applied - a natural consequence?
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Business Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9266-4338
2014 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose – This paper aims at a deeper understanding of why a heavily anthropological method as design thinking is being applied by practitioners. 

Approach – The paper is based on a literature study. 

Findings – It takes methods different from the ones applied earlier in service management as to the move from uniformity to diversity. And this is only a natural consequence of Zeitgeist. 

Research limitations/implications – Within the framework of the present document, the research is being limited on marketing as a phenomenon geographically to the Western world and chronologically to the advent of commerce and thereafter. 

Originality – The contribution of this article is about a deeper understanding of how heavily anthropological methods in service marketing emerge as a consequence of Zeitgeist. Service design thinking is a fresh and recent method. To the knowledge of the author, there have been no studies conducted in order to understand why this method has come into existence. 

Abstract [en]

Practitioners and researchers agree service design matters as a competitive advantage in a virtual global business context (Sparke 2013, Stickdorn Schneider 2011, Sauming 2009). However, how services are to be designed in order to satisfy the end-user has been discussed from various angles. Dominating approaches in business administration is a traditional top-down, inside-out perspective as discussed in Saumung (2009), whilst multidisciplinary course of action advocates rather radical outside-in perspective as proposed by Stickdorn/Schneider (2011). Earlier outside-in perspectives can be traced back to the research community in Service Management with roots back in the 1970ies. Gummesson, Grönroos, Normann, Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry are some recognized scholars related to the community. Yet Service Management promotes an active investigation of the end-user in order to know one’s market and design service according to consumer needs, it is being suggested to be performed by traditional qualitative methods in marketing research. Emerging methods similar to Design Thinking as in Brown (2006), Kimbell (2011), Kimbell (2012), Stickdorn/Schneider (2011) are radical in the sense of being heavily anthropological, which is rare in management research. Now, it appears Zeitgeist as described in Sparke (2013) is causing this need for radical methods, as design no longer only is visual but an ensemble perception, which can be experienced in multiple ways: felt, smelled, heard, seen. This is, service design has become a part of experience economy similar as in Pine/Gilmore (2011) and it can be assumed it is only a natural consequence of Zeitgeist, that methods different from the ones applied earlier in management research are needed.

This paper is mainly based on a literature study and aims at a deeper understanding of why a heavily anthropological method as design thinking is being applied by practitioners. In order to clarify the ”desk research” results of the literature study, it is also based on a number of in- depth interviews with design consultants applying design thinking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Service design thinking, marketing history
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27151OAI: diva2:809259
5th International Research Symposium on Service Management, Pärnu, Estonia, June 8-12, 2014.
Available from: 2015-04-30 Created: 2015-04-30 Last updated: 2015-11-23Bibliographically approved

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