Service Failure and Recovery at the Crossroads: Recommendations to Revitalize the Field and its Influence

Yany Grégoire, Anna S. Mattila

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

46 Scopus citations


In this editorial, we offer a critical assessment of the service failure and recovery (SFR) literature and suggest that the field is at a crossroads in terms of growth and relevance. Specifically, we address two key questions: (1) What is the current state of the field? (2) What avenues should SFR researchers pursue to promote a new stage of success? To answer the first question, we tracked the evolution of SFR articles over the last 15 years by using Web of Science. Our analysis suggests that the recent growth of SFR research is mainly attributable to articles published in specialized journals; the number of articles published in leading journals remains stable and relatively low for the last 10 years. This situation reflects the poor integration of two core SFR domains: Behavioral-subjective research tends to be published in specialized journals, whereas quantitative-objective articles have been in high demand in leading journals. To answer the second question, we propose a dozen research avenues to help the integration of the two domains, so that the whole field can regain prominence. These research avenues are organized in four categories: (1) expanding the static “customer-firm” dyad, (2) studying new contexts that challenge the assumption of recovery, (3) collecting better data and using stronger analytics, and (4) building on the synthetic knowledge base already created. By making such changes, the SFR domain will reclaim its rightful place as an important subfield of service science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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