Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


By attending the online course, participants will acquire a conceptual toolbox enabling them to better understand the core concepts of service management and to embrace recent developments in service business. In particular, after having attended the course, participants will be better able to measure and manage (electronic) service excellence, to initiate and lead customer co-creation, to integrate digital technologies in service design and delivery, and to address sustainability and wellbeing aspects in service contexts. Overall, the course aims at providing students with a solid foundation for managing service businesses as well as conducting scientific research in this domain.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 08.01.2019 - 14.02.2019

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Tomas Falk

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Tomas Falk

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The module is designed as an hybrid online course that consists of various forms of independent self-learning and online group work. The course is built around four thematic study packages, incorporating seminal service research articles, case studies, online videos and other material offered by the teacher. In addition, an accompanying text book will provide additional guidance.

    The course starts with approaching the emergence of service industry and foundations of service business value creation. Next, to understand evaluation of service excellence, key issues concerning the management and measurement of service performance and customer satisfaction are introduced. After that, we turn our gaze towards the recent developments in the service field. Digital service encounters, ranging from self-service technologies to AI, and service design as a basis of innovation strategy are presented as new fundamentals of service viability in the complex service networks of today. In addition, services are approached from ecosystem perspective and service strategies oriented to environmental and societal impact are discussed.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Individual reflection notes 
    Case and group work
    Take home exam

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    6 credits, 160 hours:

    Independent work (Pre-assignment & self-study of four thematic study packages) 96 h
    Group work (Lean Service Creation – project including three online workshop sessions) 64 h

    The online course does not include weekly lectures and the students may conduct the independent work part at their own pace, in compliance with the given course deadlines. To successfully complete the group work (Lean service creation – project), students are expected to participate on three workshop sessions (approximately 2-4 hours each), organized in Zoom-online platform. Workshop schedules will be communicated three weeks before the course start.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Overview on course assignments and grading criteria

    The course encompasses
    the following grading elements, which are explained in more detail in following:

    1.      Pre-assignment:
    reflection on a current service innovation and PechaKucha presentation (20%)

    2.      Class
    participation (10%)

    3.      Individual
    reflection notes (10%)

    4.      Group
    presentations (20%)

    5.      Take
    home exam (40%)


    1. Pre-assignment

    1.1 Idea:

    Please reflect on an innovative service that you have
    recently started to use on a regular base (note that you are free to determine
    the service you want to relate your answer to. The service might relate to your
    private consumption or might be business related) and answer the following

    1. Shortly
    describe the service you reflect on. What are the main features of the service?

    2. Why
    did you start to use the service? Try to depict the main drivers of your
    initial decision to start using the service.

    3. What
    (if anything) may other companies learn from the service provider you are
    referring to?


    1.2 Format and timeline:

    Please prepare a written, max. 800
    word report
    on the three questions indicated above.

    2. Please also prepare a PechaKucha presentation based on your written report. PechaKucha
    refers to a presentation style in which a specific number of slides are shown
    for a specified time (more information on PechaKucha in general can be found at For this lecture, a maximum of 10 slides can be
    shown for 30 seconds each (i.e., the maximal total presentation time is 5
    minutes. Shorter submissions are possible.). The format should keep
    presentations concise and fast-paced. You might use graphical illustrations and
    textual elements in your presentation.

    3. Please
    submit both, your written report and the PechaKucha presentation. Grading of
    the pre-assignment will be based on the written report and the submitted

    4. The
    task is designed as an individual work.

    5. Grading
    of the pre-assignment will be based on a scale from 1-20 points.

    6. The
    lecturer will ask selected participants to present their ideas on one of the
    lecture days. Selection of presentations is based on the types of services
    introduced in the submissions and aims at covering a diverse set of different
    services. Given time constraints, not all students will have the chance to
    present their work. Presentations are thought to trigger in-class discussions
    on current trends in service management. Feedback on the submissions (report
    and presentation) might be provided during the lecture days.

    7. The deadline
    for submitting your pre-task is Jan. 4, 2019, 01.00 pm Finnish time to On-time submission of the pre-task is mandatory to
    participate in and to pass the course! Clearly indicate your name on the
    submission and the respective file.


    2. Class participation

    A student whose class participation is excellent is
    someone who is physically and cognitively present during the lectures, contributes
    consistently to class discussions, and indicates thorough preparation and
    analytic insight. The student also consistently builds on conceptual models
    discussed in class or presented in the reading package, on empirical evidence
    on a topic, and on contributions of others in order to craft a more complete
    understanding of the issues being discussed. The student’s responses when cold
    called are also of high quality. Class participation excellence typically
    requires physical presence in at least 90% of the lectures.


    3. Individual
    reflection notes (10%):

    3.1 Idea:

    In order to assure high quality learning outcomes,
    students are kindly asked to prepare an individual reflection note on one out of two topics. The
    reflection note discusses two guiding questions on the selected topic. Each
    topic features a set of seminal articles in the field, with which the students
    should familiarize themselves.


    3.2 Format and

    1. Please select one out of three topics listed below.

    2. Prepare a max. 1000
    word reflection note
    on one of the topics presented below by answering the
    respective guiding questions.

    3. Submit your reflection note by February, 3, 2019
    (midnight) to

    4. Clearly
    indicate your name on the submission and the respective file.


    3.3 Topics

    A. Service and Technology


    M. D., S. G. Robinson, N. J. Sirianni, and M. K. Brady (2014), “Touch Versus
    Tech: When Technology Functions as a Barrier or a Benefit to Service
    Encounters,” Journal of Marketing, 78
    (4), 113-124.

    M.-H. and R. T. Rust (2017), “Technology-Driven Service Strategy,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,
    45 (6), 906-924.

    M.-H. and R. T. Rust (2018), “Artificial Intelligence in Service”, Journal of Service Research, 21 (2), 155–172.

    D., K. de Ruyter, M.-H. Huang, M. Meuter, and G. Challagalla (2017), “Getting
    Smart: Learning from Technology Empowered Frontline Interactions,” Journal of Service Research, 20 (1),

    M.L., M. J. Bitner, A. Ostrom, and S. W. Brown (2005), “Choosing Among
    Alternative Service Delivery Modes: An Investigation of Customer Trial of
    Self-Service Technologies,” Journal of
    , 69 (2), 61-83.

    D.G. and S. Fournier (1998), “Paradoxes of Technology: Consumer Cognizance,
    Emotions, and Coping Strategies,” Journal of Consumer Research, 25 (2),


    A. Literature proposes that many service encounters have
    been transforming away from a “high-touch, low-tech” paradigm to a “low-touch,
    high-tech” paradigm. Do you agree? Please debate. (max. 400 words)

    B. To what extent may artificial intelligence replace
    human service labor? Please discuss. (max. 600 words)


    B. Services in B2B-Settings


    G., Venkatesh, R., A. K. Kohli (2009), ”P
    roactive Postsales
    Service: When and Why Does it Pay Off?,” Journal
    of Marketing
    , 73 (2), 70-87.

    M. A., Kahl, S. J., and F. F. Suarez (2015),”
    Services, Industry,
    Evolution, and the Competitive Strategies of Product Firms,“ Strategic Management Journal, 36 (4),

    E., Palmatier, R. W., and J.-B. E. M. Steenkamp, (2008), ”
    of Service Transition Strategies on Firm Value, Journal of Marketing, 72 (5), 1–14.

    K. R., Kohli, A. K., and S. G. Bharadwaj, S. G. (2007),”Rethinking Customer
    Solutions: From Product Bundles to Relational Processes, “Journal of Marketing, 71(3), 1-17.

    Ulaga, W. and W.
    J. Reinartz (2011), “Hybrid
    Offerings: How Manufacturing Firms Combine Goods and Services Successfully,” Journal of Marketing, 75 (6), 5-23.

    S., Bharadwaj, S.G., Ulaga, W., and W. J. Reinartz (2017), “When and Why Do
    Customer Solutions Pay Off in Business Markets?,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45(4), 490-512.


    A. Define the concept of customer solutions in your
    own words. (max. 400 words)

    B. Are customer solutions the holy grail towards more
    profitable business operations? (max. 600 words)


    4. Group presentations

    4.1 Idea:

    1. Please
    organize yourselves into groups of max. five members. The group allocation will
    be facilitated during the first lectures on Tuesday, Jan. 8 and finalized on
    Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

    2. Select
    one Finnish subject company to focus on during the group work. Appropriate
    subject companies might include well-known brands such as Amer Sports, Finnair,
    Fiskars, Kone, Marimekko, Rovio, Viking Line to name a few. Please decide upon
    the target company by Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 (name of the company to be
    indicated during the lecture).

    3. Your
    task is to come up with a relevant business objective for your target company
    that can be solved by designing a new service for a particular segment of
    customers. You are encouraged to consider the following aspects when designing
    the service:

    A. What
    is the business objective of your organization that the service will address?

    B. Describe
    the customer group you are designing the service for. What is the need, want, problem,
    or desire you are addressing for your customer group with your service

    C. Describe
    your service concept as a value proposition as well as the basic features of
    the service (i.e., what is the service?).

    Depict your service based on a blueprint.

    E. Develop
    a fake ad promoting your service offer.

    F. How
    will you know that you have succeeded in reaching that business objective?


    4.2 Format and timeline:

    1. Each
    group will present its suggestion for an innovative service offering on
    Tuesday, Feb. 12 or Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Presentations should not exceed 10
    min in length in order to leave enough room for discussion. We will try to
    invite target company representatives to attend the group presentations.

    2. Please submit your presentation in pdf-format
    latest by Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at 12.00 (noon) Finnish time to

    3. Clearly
    indicate your group members on the submitted file.


    5. Take home
    exam (40%)

    5.1 Idea

    Students prepare an individual reflection note
    on selected articles exploring topical issues in service business. The article
    package will be communicated during the lecture on Feb. 7, 2019 latest.

    5.2 Format and

    1. Please apply the following format for your

    Word or pdf-file; font Arial 12; line spacing 1,3.

    Maximum of 1500 words plus a separate reference list
    if needed (note that references are not explicitly required). Other appendices
    will not be graded.

    Please stick to the defined word count; only content
    provided within the maximum word count including a 10% buffer will be graded.

    indicate the correct word count along with your student number on the front
    page of your submission.

    2. Timeline:

    Instructions for the Take Home Exam and the respective
    articles will be provided latest during the session on Feb. 7, 2019 and a
    respective document will be uploaded to MyCourses after that session.

    Please pay special attention to the guiding questions,
    which should be addressed in your reflection note.

    in your written statement by March 07, 2019 (midnight) via e-mail to

    Make sure to clearly indicate your name and student
    number on the submitted document.

    3. Material:

    You are free to use any material for preparing your
    statement. References should be cited properly according to the American
    Psychological Association (APA) citation guidelines:

    4. Grading:

    Please get acquainted with the following grading

    Take home exams will be graded on a scale from 0 to 40

    Carefully consider the guiding questions when
    preparing your answers. Try tackle the essence of the question and pay
    attention to signal words used in the question (e.g., describe, depict,
    discuss, explain etc.).

    Precisely define the concepts you are referring to in
    your answer.

    Build a logical flow of argumentation in order to
    develop a convincing storyline.

    You may use examples to illustrate and support your
    line of reasoning.

    Try to provide convincing rationale for suggestions or
    evaluations that you may give.

    Excellent answers typically precisely cover the core
    of the questions, define relevant concepts in a clear manner using
    easy-to-understand language, develop a coherent line of argumentation, and
    offer concrete implications which are meaningfully substantiated (i.e., do not
    strike the reader out of the blue). Most importantly, writers should show their
    ability to critically deal with the subject of interest by including their own
    grounded, personal assessment of the matter (e.g., by discussing pros and cons
    of an issue).

    We will check
    for plagiarism; in extreme cases of plagiarism, the submission might be
    declared as invalid and the candidate fails this part of the course.


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Coursebook: Lovelock, C.H., Wirtz, J., & Chew, P (2012). Essentials of services marketing, 2nd edition.


    Collection of articles and other material provided by the lecturer.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    8 Decent Work and Economic Growth


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation: