Editorial: bringing socially unacceptable services into services marketing

Mark Scott Rosenbaum, Rebekah Russell-Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to define the term “socially unacceptable services” and call for novel research in these under-researched service industries. Design/methodology/approach: Personal reflections. Findings: Service offerings exist that, despite their ability to create value for customers, clients or partners, many in society at large deem to be offensive, inappropriate or harmful for a variety of reasons. Service researchers have ignored the existence and impact of socially unacceptable services on consumers and society for too long. Research limitations/implications: Given the expanding role of the transformative service research (TSR) paradigm in the services marketing domain, especially given its emphasis on exchanges that influence consumer and societal well-being and the reality that many socially unacceptable services profoundly influence consumer and societal welfare in both positive and negative manners, the time is opportune for service researchers to begin exploring socially unacceptable services from a TSR perspective. Practical implications: Given that buyers and sellers who enter socially unacceptable exchanges often seem satisfied by doing so, the authors encourage researchers to unearth how consumers obtain value from these exchanges and to explore whether consumers enter these exchanges with full information to make informed decisions. Originality/value: This viewpoint is one of the first to provide authors with an impetus to begin research program in socially unacceptable services and offers researchers a list of potential research topics in this new area. The authors believe that socially unacceptable service research may emerge as a separate research paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-887
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


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