Science of Service Research Priorities

New Initiative: Service Research Priorities 2021

We are an interdisciplinary, global team of researchers conducting a study to develop research priorities focused on service. The overarching goal of this effort is to help guide decisions and investments of academe, business, and government and spur research to advance the field of service globally.

Phase 1

In the first phase, we are working to develop a broad list of service research priorities that are the most important for service researchers to address in the coming years. This list is being developed based on 1) a review of recent publications in service journals that discuss service research priorities, 2) the results from a large scale analysis of global service trends identified through unsupervised machine learning and natural language processing, and 3) a global survey of service scholars and business professionals.

For the survey, we are seeking your input and invite you to contribute to this research effort by completing an online survey, which will take approximately 10 minutes. In this brief survey, we ask you to identify some of the key problems and opportunities confronting organizations, consumers, and/or society related to service(s) (e.g. retail, professional services, hospitality, health, public service, etc.) that service scholars need to address in the next 5-10 years. These could be at the local, national, and/or global level.

Your candid input will help us accomplish the following goals: (a) develop research priorities to galvanize service-related research and education around the world, (b) facilitate the establishment of public and private partnerships to solve critical service-related problems and harness service opportunities, and (c) form the basis of articles and presentations to further advance service scholarship and business practices. This includes a publication in the Journal of Service Research.

Phase 2

We will be partnering with service centers from around the world to help identify the most critical and underresearched issues among the broader list of service research priorities identified that will become the focus of our service research priorities efforts. If you oversee a service-focused center and would like to participate in this research, please contact Amy Ostrom.

Research Team


Amy Ostrom
Marketing Department Chair PetSmart Chair in Services Leadership W. P. Carey School of Business Arizona State University, US

Kay Lemon

Kay Lemon
Accenture Professor of Marketing Carroll School of Management Boston College, USA

Joy Field

Joy Field
Associate Professor of Operations Management Carroll School of Management Boston College, USA

Anders Gustafsson

Anders Gustafsson Research Professor of Marketing BI Norwegian Business School Norway

Ming-Hui Huang

Ming-Hui Huang
Professor National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Janet R. McColl-Kennedy

Janet R. McColl-Kennedy
Professor of Marketing The University of Queensland, Australia

Mahesh Subramony

Mahesh Subramony
Professor of Management Northern Illinois University USA

Darima Fotheringham

Darima Fotheringham
Marketing PhD Student W. P. Carey School of Business Arizona State


Summaries of the two waves of the study, 2010 and 2015 Service Research Priorities, are presented below.

2015 Service Research Priorities study results were published in Journal of Service Research paper entitled: Service Research Priorities in a Rapidly Changing Context (JSR, May 2015). In the paper, co-authors Amy L. Ostrom, A. Parasuraman, David Bowen, Lia Patricio and Christopher Voss, discuss 12 research-priority topics – and 80 related subtopics. With the input from 23 roundtable discussions with academic and industry participants at 19 service centers around the world, the authors identified the research-priority topics and subtopics, which consequently were prioritized by 334 service researchers from multiple disciplines and 37 countries in an online survey. Some of the key findings are spotlighted below:


  1. Improving Well-being through Transformative Service was ranked as the most important priority by the largest percentage of respondents (more than 18%).
  2. Measuring and Optimizing Service Performance and Impact and some of its related subtopics were also rated as highly important, highlighting the need for more service research on outcomes that are relevant to both society and business.
  3. A common theme cutting across priorities and subtopics was a call for research on how to coordinate seamlessly across actors, technology and touch points so as to enhance the customer’s co-creation efforts and overall experience.
  4. Critical role of technology in transforming the service field. Leveraging Technology to Advance Service was conceptualized as a cross-cutting priority because technology has the potential to affect every aspect of service.

*Source: Amy L. Ostrom, A. Parasuraman, David Bowen, Lia Patricio, and Chris Voss, “Service Research Priorities in a Rapidly Changing Context,” Journal of Service Research, May 2015, pp. 127-159 Amy L. Ostrom, A. Parasuraman (2015, May 26) Research Imperatives for Advancing the Service Field. Published by SERVSIG

2010 Service Research Priorities sought broad input from service-minded academics from around the world and in a variety of disciplines as well as service-focused business executives representing an array of industries and organizations. Through in-depth interviews, online surveys, and face-to-face presentations and sessions, the CSL secured input from 318 individuals including 204 academics from more than 15 disciplines and 32 countries and 96 business executives from 25 industries and 11 countries. For more information about the 2010 project:

Resources To Contact

If you have questions or comments, please contact the CSL at 480-965-6201 or

Stay Connected

Free Services Toolkit and Stay Connected

We welcome you to sign up to receive the latest news and updates from the CSL.

As an added benefit to signing up to our mailing list, you will gain exclusive access to our “Services Blueprinting Toolkit,” a versatile technique for service and innovation.

Sign Up

Contact Us

Center for Services Leadership
W. P. Carey School of Business
Arizona State University

Email Us