Interdisciplinary Research in Services Marketing


Background to the Special Issue

Domains are broad areas of research that incorporate theories, constructs, and procedures, whereas a collection of domains constitutes a discipline. In this case, the discipline of marketing includes domains such as services, strategic planning, relationships, international marketing and advertising (Maclnnis, 2011). Continuing, interdisciplinary research requires boundary spanning and refers to the joint development of a research study that addresses a problem or a phenomenon whose solution and understanding requires drawing from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (Kaplan, Milde and Cowan, 2017; Bettencourt and Houston, 2001).

Shifting to the marketing discipline, as an academic field of study, marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large (AMA, 2013). Thus, in order to achieve that, marketing seeks to develop a comprehensive understanding about the behaviours and reactions of consumers in relations to various actions applied by businesses. Many of these activities occur at multiple levels of observation and analysis and are often deeply embedded in interlocking layers of differing social, cultural and economic contexts. Adding to this, to understand the behaviour of consumers is by itself an extremely complex task that requires knowledge from various fields of knowledge. Because of this inherent complexity, marketing scholars might consider adopting an interdisciplinary research approach that integrates knowledge from two or more disciplines, to develop comprehensive frameworks, theories and models that have greater explanatory and predictive power than single-discipline based explanations (Cheng et al. 2014; Dunning, 1989). The aspect of mixing or integrating ideas or methods from various disciplines distinguishes interdisciplinary research from multidisciplinary approaches in which a series of separate examinations from different disciplines are conducted independently or sequentially with no signs of integration effort (Cheng et al. 2014).

The significance of interdisciplinary research is reflected by the prevalence of high-impact journals that are dedicated outlets for such research approach (Jacobs and Frickel, 2009), as well as by the fact that high-impact journals launched several ad hoc special issues on interdisciplinary research, including, the Journal of International Business Studies (Cheng et al. 2014) and Entrepreneurship, Theory, and Practice (Nicolaou et al. 2019), to name a few. Lastly, several editorial statements from top business journals have clearly stated their desire to publish papers that draw from various disciplines and they devoted a large percentage from their annual paper intakes for these types of studies (e.g., Journal of Consumer Research). However, despite its significance in scholarly research, the development and publications of such studies in marketing outlets remains scarce. In fact, a casual survey of the top journals in the marketing discipline signals the relative paucity of such interdisciplinary research work.

Based on these realities, the proposed special issue aims to advance interdisciplinary research in marketing with the goal of developing integrative knowledge and transformative theories to enhance understanding for concepts, problems and issues related to the marketing domain itself and for other disciplines, as well as to improve practice. Our objective is to provide a forum for scholars focusing on marketing to showcase their best interdisciplinary work, debate the merits of different approaches to interdisciplinary inquiry, and collectively contribute to the expansion of the interdisciplinary research paradigm so as to guide future interdisciplinary research.

Examples of interdisciplinary research can be found in Brown et al.s’ (2006) work that synthesizes ideas from marketing and organizational research, Venkatraman et al.’s (2015) research that compares six commonly used behavioral and neurophysiological methods in assessing advertising effectiveness, Christofi et al.’s (2015) work that synthesizes aspects of innovation with cause-related marketing, and Tellis and Crawford,s’ (1981) study in developing  a broader framework (product evolutionary cycle framework) based on the integration of elements from the marketing and biology disciplines in order to provide a better explanation of the product growth and proliferation phenomenon, due to the limited explanatory power of the existing product life cycle (PLC) framework.


Building on extant literature and as proposed by Bettencourt and Houston (2001), this special issue seeks submissions that draw on ideas and/or methods from two or more academic disciplines to develop and apply interdisciplinary concepts and/or theories to study important phenomena in today’s contemporary society and turbulent environment. The phenomena studied can be existing (old) or emerging (new), and relate to the study domain of the marketing  discipline on one hand with the study and/or contribution of a different discipline(s) on the other hand [there are no limitations as regards to the range or topicality of the other discipline(s)]. We encourage interdisciplinary research studies that demonstrate synthetic capabilities for the development of integrative theories and themes, especially those that generate conceptual variety and novelty. Purely conceptual papers are welcome as are papers using any methodological approach (quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods approaches). Adding to this, the special issue also considers state-of-the-art interdisciplinary reviews. The goal here is to include review articles that demonstrate the value of cross-fertilization of ideas between marketing and other disciplines, and that they establish an agenda for future research.

Examples of the topics covered by the Special Issue are as follows (non-exhaustive):

  • Studies that integrate basic assumptions and theoretical arguments from sociology (e.g., institutional theory or social network) and/or economics (e.g., transaction cost or agency theory) to study phenomena, models or concepts that constitute the elements of services marketing domains.
  • Original research that draws on theories from computer science and information management to study the human-computer interaction and how consumers respond, behave and think about these interactions.
  • Research that draws on linguistics, social identity or cognitive theory, to link cultural context and psychological factors to the behavior of consumers in today’s digital transformation of the society and marketplace.
  • State-of-the-art interdisciplinary reviews (e.g., wellbeing and digital marketing, entrepreneurship and social media, etc.,) that provide the means to identify, critically evaluate and synthesize an existing body knowledge that is based on two or more disciplines, in a transparent, rigorous and replicable method
  • Research that draws on neuroscience in order to better explain how brain processes and produces human behavior, so as to provide both theoretical and practical insights into online consumer behavior and decision making.
  • Interdisciplinary inquiries into the role of digital marketing in entrepreneurship and the successful development and establishment of new ventures and other entrepreneurial activities
  • Studies that examine the interface between marketing and medicine, biology and related disciplines, such as research that investigates the role and impact of digital marketing, influencer marketing and social media use on various health-related problems of human beings (e.g., obesity)
  • Interdisciplinary inquiries into the role of consumer characteristics in the development and success of digital marketing strategies.



All submissions should be made to the special issue identified on the ScholarOne Online Manuscript submission system All submitted manuscripts should not have been published, accepted for publication, or be currently under consideration elsewhere. Manuscripts should follow the style guidelines available on the Journal of Services Marketing home page at:


Key dates/deadlines

1 October- Submissions open

31 December 2021 – Submission deadline

Publication:  Issue 1, 2023


Guest Editors

Michael Christofi

Cyprus University of Technology

Limassol, Cyprus

Email: [email protected]


Olga Kvasova

University of Central Lancashire - Cyprus

Larnaca, Cyprus

Email: [email protected]


Elias Hadjielias

Cyprus University of Technology

Limassol, Cyprus

Email: [email protected]   

Please direct any questions about the submission process, or any other administrative issue, to the JSM Editorial Office: [email protected]



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Bettencourt, L. A., & Houston, M. B. (2001). Reference diversity in JCR, JM, and JMR: A reexamination and extension of Tellis, Chandy, and Ackerman (1999). Journal of Consumer Research28(2), 313-323.

Brown, T. J., Dacin, P. A., Pratt, M. G., & Whetten, D. A. (2006). Identity, intended image, construed image, and reputation: An interdisciplinary framework and suggested terminology. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science34(2), 99-106.

Cheng, J. L. C., Birkinshaw, J., Lessard, D., & Thomas, D. C. (2014). Advancing interdisciplinary research in international business: Integrative knowledge and transformative theories. Journal of International Business Studies45(6), 643-648.

Christofi, M., Leonidou, E., Vrontis, D., Kitchen, P., & Papasolomou, I. (2015). Innovation and cause-related marketing success: a conceptual framework and propositions. Journal of Services Marketing, 29(5), 354-366.

Dunning, J. H. (1989). The study of international business: A plea for a more interdisciplinary approach. Journal of International Business Studies, 20(3), 411-436

Jacobs, J. A., & Frickel, S. (2009). Interdisciplinarity: A critical assessment. Annual Review of Sociology35, 43-65.

Kaplan, S., Milde, J., & Cowan, R. S. (2017). Symbiont practices in boundary spanning: Bridging the cognitive and political divides in interdisciplinary research. Academy of Management Journal60(4), 1387-1414.

MacInnis, D. J. (2011). A framework for conceptual contributions in marketing. Journal of Marketing75(4), 136-154.

Nicolaou, N., Phan, P. and Stephan, U. (2019). Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice Special Issue - Entrepreneurship and Biology. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. Link:

Tellis, G. J., & Crawford, C. M. (1981). An evolutionary approach to product growth theory. Journal of Marketing45(4), 125-132.

Venkatraman, V., Dimoka, A., Pavlou, P. A., Vo, K., Hampton, W., Bollinger, B., ... & Winer, R. S. (2015). Predicting advertising success beyond traditional measures: New insights from neurophysiological methods and market response modeling. Journal of Marketing