Commentary: vulnerable consumers in service settings

Mark Scott Rosenbaum, Tali Seger-Guttmann, Mario Giraldo

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


Purpose: This commentary aims to introduce a collection of articles that highlights the experiences, needs and challenges of vulnerable consumers within a variety of service contexts. As a research collection, the investigations reveal that service researchers have overlooked how service design and processes affect vulnerable consumers. Design/methodology/approach: The commentary is a conceptual perspective based on the investigations put forward in this special issue, extant literature and the editors’ perspectives. Findings: Many consumers enter service contexts in some type of vulnerable condition. These conditions may include those relating to deafness, hearing impairments, older age, sexual orientation, immigration status and acculturation, participation in sexual exploitation, geographical remoteness, mental health challenges, obesity, natural disasters, language barriers and being the brunt of service provider discrimination. Research limitations/implications: Service researchers are encouraged to consider how the service marketing’s foundational theories, frameworks, concepts and axioms generalize among vulnerable consumers. Practical implications: Service practitioners need to realize customers often enter service contexts owing to some type of vulnerable condition that influences their expectations and perceptions of service quality. Originality/value: This special issue expands the discipline’s understanding of vulnerable consumers and exposes an array of conditions that affect their experiences and journeys within service settings. Service organizations dedicated to enhancing consumer well-being must understand how they can help remedy, or lessen, the consequences associated with vulnerable conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-312
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Consumer vulnerabilities
  • Disabilities
  • Discrimination
  • Quality of life
  • Transformative service research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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