Service as Intersubjective Struggle

  • Yutaka YamauchiEmail author
Part of the Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy book series (SSRI)


As long as service is characterized as value co-creation achieved jointly by multiple participants, service lies between the participants rather than reduced to any single one. This intersubjective nature of service forces us to break with subject-object dualism. That is to say, the customer and the service provider—subject—cannot judge the value of the service—object—from a distance. The customer as well as the provider is implicated in the service. When the value of service is concerned, the value of the participants, who are inseparable from the service, is also at issue. Specifically, they need to present who they are. An ethnomethodological study of videotaped customer-provider interactions at traditional sushi bars in Tokyo reveals that while engaging in service interactions, customers present how familiar and qualified they are in relation to the service and providers present how special their service is. By bringing this intersubjectivity to the fore, this chapter proposes a new theoretical perspective portraying service as dialectical struggle in which involved parties seek to demonstrate their own selves in relation to others. This perspective helps move beyond the notion of subjective customer satisfaction and explain some counterintuitive facts of services such as service providers who do not appear to care about customers’ satisfaction.


Value co-creation Intersubjectivity Service interactions Dialectic Ethnomethodology 



This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP17K03875, JP15KK0086.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of ManagementKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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