Characteristics of services – a new approach uncovers their value

Characteristics of services – a new approach uncovers their value Purpose – Four characteristics have been regularly applied to services: intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, perishability (IHIP). More and more exceptions occur which have resulted in substantial criticism. This paper aims to show that each characteristic is valid and useful when related to an individual aspect of services instead of being assigned to services as a single entity. Design/methodology/approach – Based on customer integration, a framework (FTU framework) and a resource typology are developed. These approaches are the theoretical foundation of the analysis. Findings – The FTU framework and a resource typology reveal different aspects of services and allow the assignment of the IHIP characteristics to them. Intangibility is assigned to the service offering, heterogeneity and inseparability to customer resources, and perishability to the facilities of the provider. Research limitations/implications – The paper is based on a theoretical analysis. Researchers may want to empirically test the approach. Practical implications – Assigning the IHIP characteristics more clearly to certain aspects of services reveals their origin and makes them more tractable. For example knowing that heterogeneity of services is due to customers resources makes it more predictable and manageable. Originality/value – Although the IHIP characteristics are both widely cited and criticized, existing research has only tried to find and establish new characteristic(s). The approach of this paper is original because it takes a more trenchant look at them in order to develop a framework identifying aspects of services for which they apply. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Services Marketing Emerald Publishing

Characteristics of services – a new approach uncovers their value

Journal of Services Marketing, Volume 24 (5): 10 – Aug 3, 2010

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0887-6045
D.O.I.
10.1108/08876041011060468
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Four characteristics have been regularly applied to services: intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, perishability (IHIP). More and more exceptions occur which have resulted in substantial criticism. This paper aims to show that each characteristic is valid and useful when related to an individual aspect of services instead of being assigned to services as a single entity. Design/methodology/approach – Based on customer integration, a framework (FTU framework) and a resource typology are developed. These approaches are the theoretical foundation of the analysis. Findings – The FTU framework and a resource typology reveal different aspects of services and allow the assignment of the IHIP characteristics to them. Intangibility is assigned to the service offering, heterogeneity and inseparability to customer resources, and perishability to the facilities of the provider. Research limitations/implications – The paper is based on a theoretical analysis. Researchers may want to empirically test the approach. Practical implications – Assigning the IHIP characteristics more clearly to certain aspects of services reveals their origin and makes them more tractable. For example knowing that heterogeneity of services is due to customers resources makes it more predictable and manageable. Originality/value – Although the IHIP characteristics are both widely cited and criticized, existing research has only tried to find and establish new characteristic(s). The approach of this paper is original because it takes a more trenchant look at them in order to develop a framework identifying aspects of services for which they apply.

Journal

Journal of Services MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 3, 2010

Keywords: Services; Intangible assets; Customers; Integration

References

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