It takes two to tango: a multidisciplinary bibliometric review across six decades of dyadic service encounter research

David D. Walker, Su Kyung (Irene) Kim, Danielle D. van Jaarsveld, Simon Lloyd D. Restubog, Mauricio Marrone, Constantin Lagios, Arman Michael Mehdipour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The authors systematically review empirical dyadic service encounter research published in top-tier journals between 1972 and 2022. Design/methodology/approach: The authors employed bibliometric techniques, co-citation analysis and bibliographic coupling analysis to map schools of thought and research frontiers within the dyadic service encounter literature. In total, the authors analyzed 155 articles. To ensure inclusion of high-quality research, the authors screened articles from 139 journals with “4” or “4*” ratings on the 2021 Chartered Association of Business Schools (ABS) journal list, in addition to articles published in three service sector-specific journals: Journal of Service Management, Journal of Services Marketing and Journal of Service Theory and Practice. Findings: The authors' co-citation analysis identified four distinct clusters within the dyadic service encounter literature: (1) shaping and explaining service encounters; (2) emotions in service work; (3) modeling, manipulating and measuring encounter service quality and (4) emotional labor and regulation in dyadic service encounters. Furthermore, the authors' bibliographic coupling analysis generated three research clusters: (1) service encounter characteristics; (2) emotions and emotional labor and (3) service encounter interaction content. Originality/value: The authors' comprehensive review synthesizes knowledge, summarizing similarities among research clusters within the service encounter realm. Noteworthy are research clusters that clarify the emotion-based underpinnings and reciprocal nature of behaviors and emotions within dyadic encounters. By conducting complementary bibliometric analyses, the authors trace the evolution of the service encounter literature, providing an overview of the present state of dyadic service encounter research. These analyses offer valuable insights into the current landscape of the field, identifying future dyadic service encounter research opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-994
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Service Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023


  • Bibliographic coupling analysis
  • Bibliometric methods
  • Co-citation analysis
  • Dyadic service encounters
  • Moments of truth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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