Making sense of service dynamics: the honeybee metaphor
2015 (English)In: Journal of Services Marketing, ISSN 0887-6045, E-ISSN 0887-6045, Vol. 29, no 6-7, 634-644 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the honeybee colony metaphor as a tool to make sense of the dynamics of service systems surrounding a service relationship. Design/methodology/approach - Based on qualitative case research, this study develops and applies the metaphor of honeybee colonies as a tool to analytically and discursively draw parallels between different aspects of honeybees and service systems surrounding a service relationship, focusing on the dynamic nature of both. Findings - The honeybee colony metaphor can serve as an analytical tool, helping managers to make sense of the dynamics of service interactions and, as a discursive tool, giving sense to the strategic implications of service providers' everyday activities. Research limitations/implications - Few metaphors, no matter how complex, can wholly capture reality. The honeybee colony metaphor describes the dynamics surrounding a service relationship at a comprehensive level. Further research can focus on the metaphor's particular aspects (the changing role of honeybees in the system, for example) or distortions (e.g. parasitic relationships). Practical implications - The honeybee colony metaphor illustrates the strategic importance of part-time marketers; they "pollinate" and "fertilize" the customers and properly assessed information that they report represents a basis for strategic decisions. Originality/value - The introduction of the honeybee colony metaphor in this paper provides a new lens for capturing the dynamic aspects of service systems surrounding a service relationship and the strategic implications derived from adopting a systemic outlook on service.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 29, no 6-7, 634-644 p.
Metaphor, Service, Honeybees, Service dynamics, Service relationship, Service systems
Research subject Business Administration
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122197DOI: 10.1108/JSM-01-2015-0046ISI: 000369386100022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-122197DiVA: diva2:865497