Expanding Service Research in the MEA (Middle East and Africa) Region

Call for papers for: Journal of Services Marketing

Guest Editors: Wafa Hammedi and Linda Alkire (Nee Nasr)

Full paper Submission Deadline: May 31st, 2020 (ScholarOne system open for submissions 1 May 2020)

This special issue will advance research on the state of service industries in the MEA region.  The MEA region has been largely overlooked by service researchers, despite its growing economic and social potentials. According to Kolk and Rivera-Santos (2016), more attention is needed on the MEA region to understand the extent to which this area can contribute to the broader business and management literature. Similarly, recent reports from the World Economic Forum (2016, 2018), leading consultancies (e.g., PWC 2016, 2018; Mckinsey, 2018) and Business publications (e.g., Harvard Business Review Press, November 2018) predict that Africa will be the World’s Next Big Growth Market, or the “land of the future”. Some megatrends such as the demographic explosion, growth of the middle class, rapid urbanization, fast technological adoption, and overall service sector growth are expected to be key drivers of development in MEA region. More precisely, digital technologies and demand for service represent the biggest opportunities for growth over the next 20 years in this region as identified by PWC in 2018.

The exponential growth coupled with extreme differences in the standards of living, cultural, political, and socioeconomic systems across the MEA region, make borrowing theories and constructs that were mainly developed in the industrialized countries, a misleading and shortsighted approach (Burgess, Steenkamp, 2006; Karnani, 2007; Kudua, 2010, Rosembaum et al., 2018).  For instance, strategic management literature considers that both formal and informal institutions such as regulations, culture, and norms influence how firms behave and what strategies they pursue. It has been suggested that the underdeveloped market can create an environment that is fundamentally different from advanced economies (Julian and Ofori-Dankwa, 2013; Ofori-Dankwa and Julian, 2013) and as such requires an in-depth analysis and investigation.

Therefore, we propose that extending our research and collaborations to the MEA region (at least 50% of the world population) will lead to the development of service theory and the adoption of solutions that are unique to these markets. We call for further contextualization (Tsang and Kwan, 1999) of service research which refers to the process of “incorporating the context in describing, understanding, and theorizing about phenomena within it” (Tsui, 2006, p. 2)

The overarching goal of this special issue is to address the richness, complexities, and challenges of the MEA region context and contribute to our understanding of service. In line with the Journal of Services Marketing commitment to advancing services marketing theory and practice, we welcome contributions from across a wide range of service topics – as long as the central focus and context is the MEA region. The following service themes are encouraged, and related service research topics applied to the MEA will be considered:
-    Service innovation in MEA
-    Digital transformation in MEA
-    Service experience and consumption in MEA
-    Transformation Service Research (TSR) in MEA
-    Healthcare services in MEA
-    Collaborative Service and Sharing Economy in MEA
-    Service at the "Bottom of the Pyramid" in MEA
-    Service Design in MEA
-    Service Human Resources in MEA
-    Servitization and B2B services in MEA

Submissions Procedures

The process will have two steps:

Step 1. Submission of Initial proposal
Documents should be submitted via email to the Guest Editors: Wafa Hammedi ([email protected]) and Linda Alkire ([email protected]) with a copy (cc’d) to the JSM co-editors Mark Rosenbaum ([email protected]) and Rebekah Russell-Bennett ([email protected]) by September 30, 2019. The proposal document must contain:
-    A cover page, incorporating the article title, author names and affiliations, and contact information (not for peer review).
-    A 5-page extended abstract of the proposed article, which clearly states the intended contribution of the article to the field.
-    A reference list, containing the key references that will form the basis of the article.
The pages following the cover page should begin by repeating the title of the proposed article. The entire proposal (excluding the cover page) should not exceed 5 double spaced pages, in 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins surrounding each page of text.

Potentially suitable proposals will be reviewed by at least two anonymous reviewers, who are blind to the identity of the author(s). All submissions will be handled by the Special Issue Guest Editors and a decision will be sent to the corresponding author as to whether the proposal can proceed to development into a full-length article for further consideration. Once contributors have been informed that their proposal has been accepted to be developed into a full-length article for further consideration, a timeline of approximately six months for completion will be given by the Guest Editors. Full-length manuscripts should not be submitted unless invited after receiving a favorable editorial decision based on a previously submitted proposal document. Any uninvited full-length manuscripts will not be reviewed by the Guest Editors.

Step 2. Submission of full manuscripts
-    The full manuscript must be submitted electronically to the Special Issue tab by 31 May 2020 (please note that the scholarone system will not be open for submission until 1 May 2020). To be considered for publication, the article must be prepared according to the requirements on the Emerald website. Articles invited for revision must not exceed 40 double spaced pages (9,000 words), including the abstract, references, tables and/or figures. As with initial proposals, full-length manuscripts should use Times New Roman 12-point font, with 1-inch margins surrounding each page of text.

-    The final manuscript will be sent out to the same reviewers who have reviewed the initial submission. The reviewers will be asked to decide on the conversion of the initial idea and the final contribution of the manuscript. Their recommendations and the Special Issue Editors decision will be final.

-    All submissions must be original material not under consideration by any other journal or outlet. Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission to reproduce copyright material from other sources. Potential contributors can contact the Special Issue editors to discuss their ideas for a paper prior to submitting a formal proposal.

Guest Editors

Wafa Hammedi
Associate Professor of Service Innovation
University of Namur
[email protected]

Linda Alkire
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Texas State University
[email protected]


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