Glocalization in Service Cultures: Tensions in Customers’ Service Expectations and Experiences

Anu Helkkula*, Eric Arnould, An Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In the global world, service cultures interact. The co-shaping interaction of local and global service cultures is a form of glocalization. In China, interaction between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine (WM) has produced glocalized versions of both services. Through analysis of customers’ experience of healthcare service in southwestern China, this paper addresses two research questions: What distinctive cultural resources do informants associate with WM and TCM? And how do tensions emerge in the contrast between customers’ expected and experienced cultural resources in glocalized healthcare service? The resource integration construct provides theoretical language to analyze customers’ service experiences in glocalized service cultures. One theoretical contribution resulting from this analysis is showing that culturally specific resources embedded in service systems emerge phenomenologically through resource integration in customers’ experiences. A second theoretical contribution resulting from this analysis is demonstrating how the mix of culturally specific resources from two glocalized services causes tensions and effects how experience is interpreted and valued. The article’s managerial contribution is a four-step culture-comparative resource framework. The framework can help managers identify tensions in customer expectations and experiences in glocalized service and identify needed changes to facilitate customers’ positive service experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Service Research
Publication statusPublished - 09.05.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • culture
  • service experience
  • service expectations
  • resource integration
  • glocalization
  • healthcare

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