Learning from the pioneering founders of the service research field

David E. Bowen, Raymond P. Fisk*, John E.G. Bateson, Mary Jo Bitner, Stephen W. Brown, Richard B. Chase, Bo Edvardsson, Christian Grönroos, A. Parasuraman, Benjamin Schneider, Valarie A. Zeithaml

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A small group of pioneering founders led the creation and early evolution of the service research field. Decades later, this article shares timeless service wisdom from ten of those pioneering founders.
Bowen and Fisk specified three criteria by which to identify a pioneering founder. In total, 11 founders met the criteria (Bateson, Berry, Bitner, Brown, Chase, Edvardsson, Grönroos, Gummesson, Parasuraman, Schneider and Zeithaml) and were invited to join Bowen and Fisk – founders that also met the criteria as coauthors. Ten founders then answered a set of questions regarding their careers as service scholars and the state of the field.
Insightful reflections were provided by each of the ten pioneering founders. In addition, based on their synthesis of the reflections, Bowen and Fisk developed nine wisdom themes for service researchers to consider and to possibly act upon.
The service research field is in its fifth decade. This article offers a unique way to learn directly from the pioneering founders about the still-relevant history of the field, the founders' lives and contributions as service scholars and the founders' hopes and concerns for the service research field.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Service Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)605-630
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 08.06.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • pioneering founders
  • service research field
  • service community
  • service research history
  • service wisdom

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Service and customer-oriented management


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