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Steve Baron Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Service Research Community

The service research community is a global network of service academics who are interested in topics ranging from co-creation of value, the customer experience, transforming lives through service, service innovation and service systems.

This community started from a few academics in the 1970s to become a thriving group of thousands of researchers in over 100 countries. Part of the success of the service field of research can be attributed to the efforts by senior scholars in nurturing junior colleagues and students, providing critical advice on manuscripts, editorial roles and hosting events and conferences.

It is this effort that we seek to recognise through this award as further development of the field relies on these dedicated scholars. Steve Baron retired in 2018 from Liverpool University, UK and was a leading scholar in the field of services with contributions made over a 25 year period and who exemplifies the type of scholar all fields need to progress. In particular Steve is a gentleman and a scholar who supports and nurtures others to be the best version of themselves.  It is this characteristic that has shaped the nature of this award.

The award

The award is bi-annual commencing in 2018 and is awarded to the recipient at the AMA ServSig conference.  The nomination process and criteria for the award will be made available in January 2020 for the2020 conference. The ethos of the award is to recognise the altruistic behaviour of service scholars that may go un-noticed in the quest for journal rankings and output but that is essential for the wellbeing of our community.

Steve’s perspective on contribution to the service community.

I believe that contributions to the service research community do go beyond what is immediately visible, such as research publications and teaching innovations. The less visible contributions tend to get less recognition, but are the mainstay of the community, and deserve to be awarded. Over the years, I have benefited enormously from being a member of the service research community for 25 years, and have made an effort, during this time, to try to repay this support.

My main efforts have been in supporting the academic publishing process, and managing conferences and workshops which give fellow academics the opportunity to present their research to peers. In the former capacity, I have had roles of Co-Editor (Journal of Services Marketing), Deputy Editor (Journal of Customer Behaviour), Associate Editor (Journal of Marketing Management), and Editorial Review Board Member (Journal of Service Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Service Science, Service Business). I have Co-Guest Edited Issues for European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management and Journal of Services Marketing. I have been really reluctant to decline invitations to review, as I know how much the system relies on the review process. In the latter capacity, I have chaired the Servsig Research conference, chaired the academic committee of the Academy of Marketing Conference (twice) and co-chaired four UK Services Marketing Workshops. I have also been the Chair of the UK Academy of Marketing Services Marketing Special Interest Group.

However, contributions to the service community take many other forms: willingness to examine PhDs internationally, and to provide an ear to early career researchers; efforts to publicise the work of the community, and provide information more generally; developing and maintaining research centres to foster links with other communities; creating international networks; fostering an awareness of original service research directions.

If you seek to contribute to your service community my suggestions are: seek out volunteer roles on the major service groups such as AMA ServSig; host events and conferences; write blogs and newsletter content; make short videos for the service groups; pro-actively seek initiatives that benefit the whole community; always consider practical and social implications of your work; and maintain a sense of humour throughout.

Award winners

2018 – Inaugural recipient, Professor Steve Baron, Liverpool University UK.

Steve Baron is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Liverpool, and commenced his research in service in 1992.  Over his career he has published 54 journal papers and mentored 14 research students to completion. Steve’s contribution to the service contribution was in a variety of roles including co-Editor of Journal of Services Marketing (2014-2018), where the impact factor went from 0.6 to 2.4, chair of multiple services conference and special interest groups, and mentor of many academics in developing their service careers.