Article | Journal of Service Management | 2014

Notes from the Search for Deep Indicators in Services

by James L. Heskett


Much of the research in the service sector over the last four decades has concerned itself with the search for deep indicators that explain service performance. This paper provides a brief retrospective of some of this research and illustrates the directions that this work will take in the future through the vehicle of a field study conducted by the author. The study concluded that culture—based on measures, among other things, of trust, employee commitment, and "ownership" behaviors of both employees and clients—could explain and be used to predict up to half of the difference in operating income between agency offices of a global service provider. The paper calls for care but less caution if research in service management is to be advanced more rapidly and made more relevant for practitioners.

Keywords: Service Delivery; Organizational Culture; Performance; Service Industry;


Heskett, James L. "Notes from the Search for Deep Indicators in Services." Journal of Service Management 25, no. 3 (2014): 298–309.