The quality of healthcare may soon be improved, thanks to award-winning research from faculty members at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. Two members of the faculty in the marketing department at have won the 2008 Journal of Service Research (JSR) Best Article Award. Co-authors Janet Parish, clinical associate professor and assistant department head, and Distinguished Professor and Zale Chair Len Berry received the award at the American Marketing Association Frontiers in Service Conference held at the University of Maryland in October 2008.

Leonard Berry

Presented annually to the best article in the previous volume of JSR, the award is sponsored by IBM, the world’s largest service company and leader of the Services Science, Management, and Engineering Initiative, a challenge for academics to be more systematic in service sector innovations. As winners, Parish, Berry, and their coauthor Shun Yin Lam of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, were presented with plaques and a $2,000 cash prize.

Their article, “The effect of the servicescape on service workers,” appeared in the Journal of Service Research, Volume 10, in February 2008. The research focuses on three elements (pleasantness, safety, and convenience) of the physical environment of the workplace, or “servicescape,” upon service workers’ job stress and job satisfaction, and subsequently, their commitment to the organization and referral intentions. Part of their study focused on healthcare.

“Nurse retention is one of the major healthcare issues today,” said Parish. “Our research shows that the hospital facilities in which nurses work influence their job satisfaction, loyalty to the hospital, and willingness to refer the hospital to prospective employees and patients. Hospital administrators must consider the needs of nurses and other caregivers as well as patients and their families when designing hospitals. Nursing is physically and emotionally stressful work and the design of the facilities in which the work occurs is critical.”

Janet Parish

Both Berry and Parish are highly respected researchers in their field. Parish holds BSBA and MBA degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a PhD in marketing from the University of Alabama. Parish’s research interests include relationship marketing, services marketing, customer service and satisfaction, and the role of frontline employees in service encounters. Parish teaches a variety of marketing courses including principles of marketing and services marketing. Her research has appeared in Journal of Organizational Change Management, Annals of Family Medicine, Health Environments Research and Design Journal, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Interactive Marketing, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Parish serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for several publications.

In addition to teaching in the marketing department, Berry is also a professor of humanities in medicine in the College of Medicine at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center. During the 2001-2002 academic term he served as a visiting scientist at Mayo Clinic studying healthcare service. He is the founder of Texas A&M’s Center for Retailing Studies and served as its director from 1982 through June 2000. He is also a former national president of the American Marketing Association. Berry has published widely, and has been identified as the most frequent contributor to the English-language services marketing literature in the world.

Among other accolades, Berry has been recognized with the highest honor Texas A&M bestows on a faculty member three times: the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching and the Distinguished Achievement Award in Research (twice). He is also a member of the board of directors of several major public companies and national not-for-profit organizations.