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A Service Science Perspective on Higher Education

A Service Science Perspective on Higher Education

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Robert Lusch and Christopher Wu explain how we can achieve higher education reform through the use of service-dominant logic.
Robert Lusch and Christopher Wu explain how we can achieve higher education reform through the use of service-dominant logic.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Aug 10, 2012
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1Center or American Progress | A Service Science Perspective on Higher Education
A Service Science Perspectiveon Higher Education
Linking Service Productivity Theory and HigherEducation Reform
Robert Lusch and Christopher Wu August 2012
 Policymakers are currently wrestling with undamental but complex questions about the uture o higher education, including how to hold colleges responsible or the billions o dollarsin ederal nancial aid money they receive and how to encourage lower tuition to increaseaordability or low- and middle-income amilies. Answering these questions requires a bet-ter understanding o how colleges operate and how we can measure their productivity andefciency. Marketing and education experts Robert Lusch and Christopher Wu explain howthinking about college education as a service can begin to answer some o these questions.
Le’s sar wih he basics and answer his quesion: Wha is a service and how impor-an is service in sociey?Sandard economic heory holds ha he economy is divided ino hree major indus-ry secors: exracive (primary); manuacuring (secondary); and services (eriary).Te exracive secor includes agriculure, mining, imber, and sheries—basically heexracion o naural resources. Te nex major indusry secor is manuacuring o  boh durable and nondurable goods or eiher he indusrial, governmen, or consumermarke. Manuacuring is called a secondary secor because i relies upon he primary producion o he exracive secor or many o he raw maerial inpus.Te hird or eriary secor, services, alhough oen hough o as an inangible oupu, isessenially, or naional accouning purposes, viewed as a residual o he oher wo indusry secors—in essence, wha is no exracive or manuacuring is services. I includes many public (governmen employees) and privae organizaions across many indusries such asnance, insurance, ransporaion, wholesaling and reailing, healh care, enerainmen,proessional services such as legal and archiecure, and lierally hundreds o ohers.
2Center or American Progress | A Service Science Perspective on Higher Education
Employmen in advanced economies and hose wih high average household incomeusually have more han 65 percen o heir employmen and gross domesic produc,or GDP—he larges measure o growh in an economy—atribued o he eriary orservices secor, wih some economies being as high as 80 percen. And while he world’spoores counries coninue o rely heavily on employmen in exracive indusries, heservices secor is growing rapidly in developing naions as well.
 Because o he rise in ascendance o he services secor, here has been an increasedineres by indusry, governmen, and academia on undersanding he deerminanso produciviy in service indusries as well as service innovaion. During he agricul-ural and indusrial revoluions, economiss ocused a lo o heir research and innova-ion eors on hese secors and services were largely ignored. Tis began o change,however, around 15 o 25 years ago. Arizona Sae Universiy was a he oreron o his change wih he esablishmen in 1985 o an academic cener ocused on servicesresearch (co-auhor Rober Lusch was one o he cener’s ounding aculy members), which laer became known as he Arizona Sae Universiy W.P. Carey School o Business Cener or Services Leadership
.Laer in 1998, Roland Rus, he disinguished Universiy Proessor David BruceSmih chair in markeing a he Universiy o Maryland, launched he
 Journal o ServiceResearch,
which oday is undoubedly he leading scholarly journal in he world in ser- vice research. Shorly aer 2000, eors a IBM Corp. acceleraed around undersandingservices and Paul Maglio and Jim Spohrer a he IBM Almaden Research Cener
led upan eor o advance he research and eaching o service, which was idenied as servicescience, managemen, and engineering, or SSME.Following IBM’s lead, in 2007 he Universiy o Caliornia, Berkeley, developed a ormalservice science, managemen, and engineering program around inormaion and servicedesign.
In 2008 a special issue o he
 IBM Systems Journal
was released wih 14 ariclesrom hough leaders across various disciplines ha inersec wih service science, manage-men, and engineering. In March 2009, 104 paricipans, represening 68 insiuions rom31 counries, gahered in Helsinki, Finland, or a program ocused on he developmen o SSME. Tis seminal even resuled in he publicaion o “Making Service Mainsream: A  Whie Paper Based on he 2009 Service Science Summi.
oday universiies and counriesaround he world are acceleraing heir eors o undersand service and service sysems. An ineresing developmen arising ou o service science, managemen, and engineer-ing is a broadened and more sophisicaed view o service—one ha moves beyondmerely viewing services as a residual o he exracive and manuacuring indusries.More broadly and absracly, service is being viewed as he process o doing somehingor anoher person (or eniy) ha is benecial. Tink o i as he ac o helping anoher.Services (plural) oen reer o inangible unis o oupu ha a rm produces.
3Center or American Progress | A Service Science Perspective on Higher Education
For a universiy, or example, ha could be he number o credi hours o educaion pro-duced or number o degrees awarded. In wha has become known as service-dominanlogic,
or S-D logic, service (singular) is he ocus. oo many universiies are overly ocused on producing credi hours or degrees ecienly (unis o oupu) raher hanoering and providing a se o services—insrucion, credenialing, career suppor,ood services—ha lead o hese oupus (credi hours and degrees) as an end resul. oexplain his beter, le us discuss he dieren ways a service can be provided. A service can be provided
by doing somehing or he bene o anoher personas in he case o a nurse or physician reaing your illness or a resauran che preparing you a nuriious meal. Service, however, is also provided
hrough a good. Tusa pharmaceuical drug provides healh recovery service, while a pre-packaged nuri-ious meal ha you can microwave provides nuriion service, and a exbook provides aknowledge-enhancing service.In brie, service-dominan logic views goods as appliances or hings you use o obain aservice. Tis may seem a bi exreme o he nonresearcher; however, in he global economy many manuacuring companies hink o heir oerings in his way. Te American mulina-ional conglomerae General Elecric Inc., or example, measures he oupu o is airplaneengine business in hours o hrus service or is airline indusry cusomers and no jus inerms o he number o urbines coming o he producion line. For GE his is a compei-ive necessiy as i allows or a ar beter undersanding o how is cusomers acually usehe manuacured good in he service delivery o heir own businesses. In ac GE now ocuses no on selling je engines bu on charging cusomers or hours o hrus service.Le’s examine how his all s in wih approaching educaion as a service.
Higher education seen through a service science lens
Tis expanded view o business oupu allows or a much more holisic view o how, when,and where educaion acually happens and how individual suden preerences and char-acerisics can drive he experience. No longer would we jus view he eacher as he eniy providing he service o educaion. Te classroom and all o is angible ariacs such asseaing, lighing, and whieboards are all par o he service provision. Tus he insrucionisel combined wih oher supporing services (or example, uoring, library assisance)consiue he
bundle o oerings that make up the service o education
. Tinking o educaionin hese erms, a chair ha is uncomorable or a sifing ho and unvenilaed classroomcan all become barriers o receiving he bene o educaion. A chair can be viewed as aplace o si bu i can also be viewed as a learning enhancemen service.For his reason, in service-dominan logic, all individuals and eniies are viewed asresource inegraors or service bundlers. Te suden in he classroom lisening o a lecureis bundling many resources such as oher sudens in he classroom, heir noepad (elec-

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