This page is older archived content from an older version of the Emerald Publishing website.

As such, it may not display exactly as originally intended.

Co-creating Service Experience

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Service Management


In past years, customer experience has been a key concept in service research and management. Ever since the notion that consumer behavior has an experiential dimension (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982), academics and practitioners have increasingly recognized the need for a deeper understanding of the role of customer experiences in key marketing phenomena (Edvardsson et al., 2005; Tynan and McKechnie, 2009). Service researchers have approached experience in different ways: as a subjective, internal experience (phenomenon); as a process; or understanding service experience as one element in models linking a number of variables or attributes to various outcomes (Helkkula, 2011). Service experiences have been studied particularly in connection with concepts such as service quality and value, service encounter, service process, and service relationships.

The research perspective to service experience has evolved from studying the internal, hedonic, or extraordinary experience by the individual consumer toward studying experience as a collective, co-created phenomenon, which is not limited to a specific actor, such as a customer, or a specific event in the service process, such as a service encounter (Arnould and Price, 1993; Helkkula et al., 2012). Especially the phenomenological approach to service experience has affected the way we think about business in general, shifting the focus from the production of outcomes to how they are uniquely and contextually interpreted and experienced by the individual (Vargo and Lusch, 2008).
Service experiences emerge from interaction between actors (Ballantyne and Varey, 2006; Ramaswamy, 2010). The interaction processes forming service relationships are often lengthy and iterative, requiring reciprocal contributions by the parties (Aarikka-Stenroos and Jaakkola, 2012; Grönroos and Ravald, 2011). In contemporary markets, interaction is increasingly taking place not only in provider-customer dyads, but also between networks of actors: customers share and co-create experiences collectively in communities organized around shared interests (Cova and Dalli, 2009; Schau et al., 2009), and providers collaborate with their network of suppliers and partners who each contribute to the customers’ experiences (Hakanen and Jaakkola, 2012). Particularly in the service field, networks function as platforms for seeking information about other actors’ past experiences with certain providers or offerings, communicated through e.g. word of mouth, customer referencing, user communities, and social media forums that enable sharing and co-creating service experiences extensively. Experience is thereby increasingly a system-level phenomenon. 

Experience as a concept has its background in economics, consumer behavior, psychology, sociology, marketing, and managerial practice (Klaus and Maklan, 2012). While various streams of research pay attention to the networked, social aspect of experiences and highlight the relevance of co-created service experience, current service research still lacks integrative, profound and structured knowledge on the topic. Given the centrality of service experience, it is vital that contemporary research deepens and extends understanding on the phenomenon of service experience. Therefore, the special issue seeks to offer a forum for the diverse approaches to service experience and aggregate the current knowledge on the topic.

Aims of the Special Issue

The overall objective of the special issue is to bring together state-of-the-art research on service experience and to analyze its future potential and directions for researchers and practitioners. This Special Issue will include invited contributions from leading scholars in the field of S-D logic, service logic, and service innovation, as well as selected conceptual or research papers through this call. We are especially interested in high-quality submissions that:

  1. contribute to the theoretical and conceptual understanding of service experience,
  2. advance our knowledge across multiple contexts, or
  3. contribute to empirical or methodological means that can be used to study service experience.


Specific topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • different aspects of service experience
  • service experience in relation to other key service concepts, such as value, quality, co-creation, co-production, and interaction
  • implications of service experience in different types of contexts, such as BtoC/BtoB, and different types of cultural and industrial settings
  • service experience linked to service innovation
  • service experience in relation to practices
  • sharing and communicating service experiences
  • time perspective on service experience
  • network or service system perspective to service experience
  • methods and techniques for studying service experience.

We welcome empirical papers − both qualitative and quantitative − and theoretical papers that examine fundamental issues in service experience and contribute to service marketing and management research.

Abstract Submission

Researchers are encouraged to express their interest by submitting a 1,200-word abstract for their planned paper submissions by May 1, 2013. Please send an abstract via email to the guest editors.

The abstract should be structured according to the Emerald abstract format (see author guidelines at and it should clearly articulate how the proposed paper contributes to the topic of the Special Issue.

All papers will undergo a double-blind peer review process. Further details on the Journal of Service Management are available at:

Key Dates
  • May 1, 2013: Deadline for abstracts
  • June 1, 2013: Selected authors invited to submit a full paper
  • Oct 15, 2013: Deadline for full paper submissions
  • Late 2014: Estimated publication of the special issue

Guest Editors


Aarikka-Stenroos, L. and Jaakkola, E. (2012), “Value co-creation in knowledge intensive business services: A dyadic perspective on the joint problem solving process”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp.15-26.

Arnould, E.J. and Price, L.L. (1993), “River magic: extraordinary experience and the extended service encounter”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 24-45.

Ballantyne, D. and Varey, R. J. (2006), ”Creating value-in-use through marketing interaction: The exchange logic of relating, communicating and knowing”, Marketing Theory, Vol. 6 No 3, pp. 335-348.

Cova, B. and Dalli, D. (2009), “Working consumers: the next step in marketing theory?” Marketing Theory, Vol. 9 No 3, pp. 315-339.

Edvardsson, B., Enquist, B. and Johnston, R. (2005), ”Cocreating Customer Value Through Hyperreality in the Prepurchase Service Experience”, Journal of Service Research, Vol. 8 No 2, pp. 149-161.

Grönroos, C. and Ravald, A. (2011), "Service as business logic: implications for value creation and marketing", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 22 No 1, pp.5 - 22

Hakanen, T. and Jaakkola, E. (2012), “Co-creating customer-focused solutions within business networks: a service perspective”. Journal of Service Management, Vol. 23 No 4, pp. 593 - 611.

Helkkula, A. (2011), "Characterising the Concept of Service Experience", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 367-389.

Helkkula, A., Kelleher, C. and Pihlström, M. (2012), “Characterizing Value as an Experience – Implications for Researchers and Managers”,Journal of Service Research. Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 59-75.

Holbrook, M.B. and Hirschman, E.C. (1982), “The experiential aspects of consumption: consumer fantasies, feelings, and fun”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 9 No 2, pp. 132-42.

Klaus, P. and Maklan, S., (2012),"EXQ: a multiple-item scale for assessing service experience", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 23 No 1, pp. 5-33.

Ramaswamy, V. (2010), “It’s all about human experiences… and beyond, to co-creation”, Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 40 No 2, pp. 195-196.

Schau, H. J., Muñiz, A.M. Jr. and Arnould, E. J. (2009), “How Brand Community Practices Create Value”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 73 No 5, pp. 30-51.

Tynan, C. and McKechnie, S. (2009), “Experience marketing: a review and reassessment”, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 25 No 5, pp. 501-517.

Vargo, S. and Lusch, R. (2008), “Service-dominant logic: continuing the evolution”, Journal of
the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 1-10.