Week 1: Introduction

Week 1: Introduction

“Introduction … Completion Checklist 1”
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  • Week 1 > Introduction > Part 1 | What Are Services?
  • Week 1 > Introduction > Part 2 | Social Issues
  • Week 1 > Introduction > Part 3 | An Example: Sushi
  • Week 1 > Introduction > Part 4 | Course Organization

Week 1 > Introduction > Part 1 | What Are Services?

  • In particular, I emphasize the cultural aspects of services.
  • To understand services, we need to understand the culture.
  • In this course, I will walk you through such cultural aspects of services.
  • Before starting that discussion, let’s review what services are in the first place.
  • You may think that services are only about shops, restaurants, etc.
  • To convince you, we can see how pervasive and important services are in our society.
  • Are also trying to transform themselves into service business.
  • Let’s delve into the first notion of the service sector.
  • Service is defined as “The non-material equivalent of a good.” We will come back to this definition later.
  • Ownership is not changed during service transactions.
  • I sorted the table by the ratio of service sector in GDP. France has the highest ratio of service sector at close to 80%. The second, the United States is very similar.
  • Japan is about 71%. The world average is 64%. We can see that the more developed the economy is, the bigger share the service sector occupies.
  • This is why governments of many countries try to invest in services so that they can stay competitive.
  • Other sectors, for example, agricultural and industrial sectors, also move into services.
  • A manufacturing company tries to develop service businesses using their manufactured products.
  • There is a notion of product-service systems, or PSS. This concept means that the products are integrated into services.
  • Now, they deliver services in which their shoes are integrated.
  • Are you now convinced that services are important for you? But, why do we need to research on services? Because services are categorically different from products, we need a completely new mindset.
  • This is because services are about people and their relationships.

Week 1 > Introduction > Part 2 | Social Issues

  • We have briefly touched on the fact that services are about people.
  • First, services cannot be stored somewhere before they are sold.
  • In the language of search marketing, services are said to be inseparable and perishable.
  • Inseparable because production and consumption of the service are done at the same time.
  • When you serve a customer at a restaurant, you are not selling the service that had been produced some time ago.
  • You need to construct the service right at the moment.
  • Services are perishable because once the service is over and the customer leaves, there is nothing that remains.
  • Second, services are tailored to individual customers.
  • In the language of service marketing, services are heterogeneous.
  • Each customer is different and each service is different.
  • Because services involve social interactions, they often become emotional.
  • Those who work in services face many difficult problems.
  • Other customers become upset when customers who arrive after them receive services sooner than they do.
  • Service workers need to control their emotions even in such a tense situation.
  • This is what Arlie Hochschild called “Emotional labor.” Emotional labor “Requires to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others.” In such services, emotions are sold.
  • Service companies try to develop systematic tools, training and programs to manage employees’ emotions and thereby customers’ emotions.
  • Companies say that their service workers are professional.
  • “The trouble is, when the guests get nasty with you, you can’t tell them off. You have to keep it all inside you. That’s what makes it so nerve-wracking. It would be easier for us if we could talk back.” For service workers, controlling customers is the most important thing.
  • They are now in the position to evaluate the service.
  • Many service workers blame the tipping system for their inferior position in relation to customers.
  • In this session, we have seen some social issues of services.
  • In this course, we will discuss the social relationships in services in more depth.

Week 1 > Introduction > Part 3 | An Example: Sushi

  • In this session, we will go further and see that the contentious relationship is an inherent part of the services and not simply exceptional events.
  • Before discussing sushi let’s review what services are like.
  • I will soon argue that services are not that simple.
  • Let’s look at a few scenes from the film, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
  • He runs a Michelin three star sushi bar called Sukiyabashi Jiro.
  • In this service, there is no smile and even no reaction.
  • In this context, services are about “Making customers nervous,” “No friendliness and smiles,” “Little information for customers.” There is something wrong in the existing discourses on services.
  • Why? Is sushi wrong? Is sushi just exceptional? As a scholar, I could not take such an easy exit.
  • In this course, you will learn why services can be organized in this manner.
  • How is this service organized? We will analyze these services in detail.
  • Why do people pay for this kind of service? We will discuss cultural explanations to it.
  • How can we design services then? We will learn a cultural approach to service design.

Week 1 > Introduction > Part 4 | Course Organization

  • We have taken a glimpse at the cultural aspects of services.
  • This course puts emphasis on both empirical analysis of actual services and theoretical perspectives to explain them.
  • By learning the theoretical concepts, you will be able to discern what is going on in seemingly mundane services.
  • We will look at actual examples of service encounters at Italian and French restaurants.
  • In the fifth week, we will examine the concept of hospitality, which is a basic concept that characterizes services.
  • In the sixth week, we will discuss “Service as a struggle” thesis based on dialectical framework.
  • In the seventh week, we will broaden our view and look at various kinds of services through the lens we will have discussed.
  • In the last week, we will apply this understanding to service design.
  • You will be observing two services in your own culture and analyze them.
  • Because there are people from various cultural backgrounds, it will be interesting to discuss online how each culture conceives of services and hospitality.

Return to Summaries List.

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