In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Service Management

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Reference Works
  • Journals
  • History and Trends
  • The Nature of Services
  • Service Quality and Value
  • Service Culture
  • Service Setting
  • Service Science

Management Service Management
Robert C. Ford
  • LAST REVIEWED: 13 July 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 January 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0033


Service management is the study of the principles and processes unique to organizations that coproduce experiences with customers. These experiences typically persist only as memories. Services are commonly considered to have four principal characteristics: they are intangible; they are variably experienced by each customer, so that customers’ service experiences are heterogeneous; the services are produced and consumed simultaneously; and they are perishable. Service management is multidisciplinary and becoming more so with the emergence of the field of service science. The field represents a convergence and extension of work in marketing, hospitality, and production management.


These texts take different approaches to covering the field of knowledge that represents service management. Ford, et al. 2012 comes at it from a hospitality perspective and frames the book as an exploration of “guestology” or the study of guest behavior. Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons 2011 attacks the field from an operations management perspective, as do Johnston and Clark 2008 and Davis and Heineke 2005. Grönroos 2007 is included as a midpoint book that is heavily influenced by the service marketing literature but still includes a perspective on the issues and concerns of management in service organizations.

  • Davis, Mark M., and Janelle Heineke. Operations Management: Integrating Manufacturing and Services. 5th ed. Burr Ridge, IL: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2005.

    This is an operations-focused text for courses that emphasize the tools and techniques of operations management as applied to service organizations.

  • Fitzsimmons, James A., and Mona J. Fitzsimmons. Service Management: Operations, Strategy, Information Technology. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2011.

    This is one of the more popular texts for courses that combine the unique challenges of operations management in service organizations with an overall view of service management.

  • Ford, Robert C., Michael C. Sturman, and Cherrill P. Heaton. Managing Quality Service in Hospitality. Clifton Park, NY: Cengage, 2012.

    This text defines the service management challenges and opportunities as they pertain to the hospitality industry. It is sometimes paired with a service marketing text.

  • Grönroos, Christian. Service Management and Marketing: Customer Management in Service Competition. 3d ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2007.

    This is a popular text for courses that seek to combine the management-related topics from services marketing with those specifically focused on managing service organizations.

  • Johnston, Robert, and Graham Clark. Service Operations Management. 3d ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2008.

    This is an alternative text for courses that combine the unique challenges of operations management in service organizations with an overall view of service management.

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