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Research Publications

About ServCollab Research

Our research focuses on fulfilling our mission to serve humanity through research collaborations that catalyze reducing suffering, improving well-being, and enabling well-becoming.

Healing the Digital Divide With Digital Inclusion: Enabling Human Capabilities

Fisk, Raymond P., Gallan, Andrew S., Joubert, Alison M., Beekhuyzen, Janine, Cheung, Lilliemay, & Russell-Bennett, Rebekah (2023)

Journal of Service Research

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The “digital divide” refers to societal-level inequalities of digital access, capabilities, and outcomes. To explore how the digital divide affects customers experiencing vulnerability, service interactions in essential service settings (health care, education, and social services) were empirically investigated and practices service system members might adopt to address vulnerability were identified. This research upframes the pillars of service inclusion framework to define human capabilities that result from service inclusion practices. Three research topics were addressed: how the digital divide affects vulnerability (RQ1), how the digital divide can be addressed through service inclusion practices (RQ2), and how service inclusion practices enable human capabilities for digital inclusion (RQ3). The findings illuminate: (1) how service employees can engage in service inclusion practices to address the digital divide (by letting go of rules and perspectives, sharing control, providing services beyond job scope, and facilitating social connections), and (2) how these service inclusion practices build human capabilities for digital inclusion (by building basic skills and capabilities for meaningful outcomes through role modeling, coaching, customer-to-customer mentoring, and expanding networks). Contributions include conceptual models of service inclusion practices and fostering digital inclusion that specify a new meso level service organization pathway for healing the digital divide.

Enabling a service thinking mindset: practices for the global service ecosystem

Alkire, Linda, Russsell-Bennett, Rebekah, Previte, Jo, and Fisk, Raymond P.


Journal of Service Management


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Purpose Profound economic, social, political and environmental problems are cascading across modern civilization in the 21st century. Many of these problems resulted from the prevailing effects of rational economics focused on profit maximization. The purpose of this paper is to reframe the mindsets of scholars, firms and public policy decision-makers through enabling Service Thinking practices. Design/methodology/approach Marketing, service and allied discipline literature are synthesized, and Raworth's (2018) Doughnut Economics model is adapted to conceptualize and construct the Service Thinking framework. Findings Service Thinking is defined as a just, mutualistic and human-centered mindset for creating and regenerating service systems that meet the needs of people and the living planet. Service Thinking is enabled by five practices (service empathy, service inclusion, service respect, service integrity and service courage). Practical implications Actionable implications are presented for service ecosystem entities to uplift well-being, enhance sustainability and increase prosperity. Originality/value Service Thinking practices are shaped by influencing forces (marketing, education and law/policy) and operant service ecosystem resources (motivation–opportunity–ability or MOA), which makes Service Thinking applicable to four economic entities in the service ecosystem: the household, the market, the state and the commons.

Service Ecosystem Health: A Transformative Approach to Elevating Service Science

Fisk, Raymond P., and Alkire, Linda


Service Science

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Events in the year 2020 threw human service systems into chaotic states, threatening peoples’ lives and livelihoods. Before 2020, there were many profound challenges to human life that had been well documented by efforts such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be a “last straw” crisis that has destabilized modern human civilization. This article diagnoses various crises of human service systems (e.g., COVID-19, inequality, and climate change) and proposes the metaphor of service ecosystem health for reimagining service science in a postpandemic world. Service ecosystem health is defined as the interdependent state of private, public, and planetary well-being necessary for sustaining life. This article reimagines service science, broadens transformative service research, builds the service ecosystem health metaphor, outlines the Goldilocks Civilization thought experiment, and explores designing for a Goldilocks civilization. Because service is for humans, the ultimate objective is to elevate service science to uplift human well-being.

Rethinking Service Systems and Public Policy: A Transformative Refugee Service Experience Framework

Boenigk, Silke, Raymond Fisk, Sertan Kabadayi, Linda Alkire, Lilliemay Cheung, Canan Corus, Jörg Finsterwalder, Aaron A. Kreimer, Nadina Luca, Mansour Omeira, Pallab Paul, Marcos F. Santos and Nina Smidt (2021)

Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

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The global refugee crisis is a complex humanitarian problem. Service researchers can assist in solving this crisis because refugees are immersed in complex human service systems. Drawing on marketing, sociology, transformative service, and consumer research literature, this study develops a Transformative Refugee Service Experience Framework to enable researchers, service actors, and public policy makers to navigate the challenges faced throughout a refugee’s service journey. The primary dimensions of this framework encompass the spectrum from hostile to hospitable refugee service systems and the resulting suffering or well-being in refugees’ experiences. The authors conceptualize this at three refugee service journey phases (entry, transition, and exit) and at three refugee service system levels (macro, meso, and micro) of analysis. The framework is supported by brief examples from a range of service-related refugee contexts as well as a Web Appendix with additional cases. Moreover, the authors derive a comprehensive research agenda from the framework, with detailed research questions for public policy and (service) marketing researchers. Managerial directions are provided to increase awareness of refugee service problems; stimulate productive interactions; and improve collaboration among public and nonprofit organizations, private service providers, and refugees. Finally, this work provides a vision for creating hospitable refugee service systems.

Elevating the human experience (HX) through service research collaborations: introducing ServCollab

Fisk, Raymond P., Alkire, Linda, Anderson, Laurel, Bowen, David E., Gruber, Thorsten, Ostrom, Amy L. and Patrício, Lia (2020)

Journal of Service Management


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Purpose Elevating the human experience (HX) through research collaborations is the purpose of this article. ServCollab facilitates and supports service research collaborations that seek to reduce human suffering and improve human well-being. Design/methodology/approach To catalyze this initiative, the authors introduce ServCollab's three human rights goals (serve, enable and transform), standards of justice for serving humanity (distributive, procedural and interactional justice) and research approaches for serving humanity (service design and community action research). Research implications ServCollab seeks to advance the service research field via large-scale service research projects that pursue theory building, research and action. Service inclusion is the first focus of ServCollab and is illustrated through two projects (transformative refugee services and virtual assistants in social care). This paper seeks to encourage collaboration in more large-scale service research projects that elevate the HX. Practical implications ServCollab seeks to raise the aspirations of service researchers, expand the skills of service research teams and build mutually collaborative service research approaches that transform human lives. Originality/value ServCollab is a unique organization within the burgeoning service research community. By collaborating with service researchers, with service research centers, with universities, with nonprofit agencies and with foundations, ServCollab will build research capacity to address large-scale human service system problems. ServCollab takes a broad perspective for serving humanity by focusing on the HX. Current business research focuses on the interactive roles of customer experience and employee experience. From the perspective of HX, such role labels are insufficient concepts for the full spectrum of human life.

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