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Over the last 20 years, the service sector has grown in most developed as well as developing countries, to the point that the world economy can today be defined as a service economy. Compared to 20 years ago, to date services account for a higher percentage of OECD member countries' GDP and represent a key source of employment for populations.
In response to this increased importance of services, ad hoc strategies able to effectively manage the challenges posed by services' intrinsic characteristics have been developed by scholars over the years.
One of the major challenges organizations have to face is related to the intangible nature of services - a characteristic which can cause managerial problems for firms but can be minimized by including in the service setting specific "tangible" cues that are easily recognizable and understandable by customers. Accordingly, the environment in which the service processes take
place (i.e. the servicescape) plays a crucial role.
Stemming from these considerations, this book analyses the role of the servicescape - both physical and virtual - that can be considered a core component in a firm's value proposition and to which customers often refer as an important quality signal that is able to shape their perceptions of a firm's image and positioning strategy. In doing so, the study initially provides an updated and in-depth analysis of the latest academic thinking about the role both of the physical and virtual servicescape. Subsequently, it empirically sheds light on the effects that the servicescape exerts on customers' behaviour, suggesting possible future research directions as well as intriguing practical managerial implications.
Cap. 1 - Understanding the role of the service setting: back to basics
Cap. 2 - How is servicescape literature evolving? A review of the latest trends
Cap. 3 - The virtual servicescape: new frontiers in service setting research
Cap. 4 - Physical and virtual servicescape effects on customers' behaviour: an empirical investigation
Michela Mari, Sara Poggesi
Michela Mari is Assistant Professor in Management at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Italy, where she teaches post-graduate courses on service management and real estate management. Her main research interests lie in the fields of service
management, real estate management and female entrepreneurship.
Sara Poggesi is Associate Professor in Management at the University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Italy. She currently teaches undergraduate and post-graduate courses on management and marketing, serves as a faculty member of the PhD programme and is Coordinator of the "Marketing & Sales Management" track in the Master of Science in Business Administration. Her main research interests lie in the fields of service management and female entrepreneurship.