Culture in service design: How service designers, professional literature and service users view the role of national, regional and ethnic cultures in services
Published inJYU dissertations
© The Author & University of Jyväskylä
Societies and economies are increasingly based on services. Service design is a human centric and participatory approach to develop services into value creating service experiences. Services are predominantly based on human interaction, and since no human interaction takes place in a cultural vacuum the purpose of this study is to explore how culture is approached in service design. The focus is on large cultures such as national, regional or ethnic cultures and what kind of a role cultural factors are given during service design activities and interactions. Additionally, the study explores the service user perspective, i.e. how do they perceive cultural factors and backgrounds to matter in service situations in general. The research joins a timely discussion on how culture is conceptualized and made relevant in professional contexts. The interdisciplinary study draws on the recent advances in service research and explores how the new service marketing perspectives emphasizing service stakeholders as joint value creators have contributed to service design in activities related to cultural issues. The study follows a three-pronged methodological approach. First, professional service designers were thematically interviewed about their understanding of culture and how cultural issues are addressed during service design processes. Secondly, professional service design literature was analyzed to shed light on how cultural issues are approached in the professional service design discourse. While the results from the first two sub-studies indicated that cultures are addressed only in cursory ways during design processes, the third sub-study explored on service users’ perceptions of cultures’ role in service situations. These multiple interviewer, structured interviews imply that service users think in more varied ways about cultural issues than how the topic is discussed by service designers and in the domain’s professional literature. Service designers seem to approach culture with caution. Although claiming its relative importance they seem to lack ways to approach it. Thus, more knowledge is needed about how to suitably operationalize culture in various service design contexts. Furthermore, new models are needed to apply a dynamic and socio-constructionist understanding of intercultural communication in the design processes. ...
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