Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Delivering Bad News" Presentation at SERVSIG Research Conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Months ago I decided that I would end my sabbatical travels in Maastricht, one of my favorite places to visit and live. The 2016 edition of the SERVSIG Service Research Conference was hosted by my friends at the University of Maastricht. Cecile Delcourt and I presented some early findings of our project that focuses on employees who must delivery bad news to customers. (We were the last paper in the last session of the conference...but still had a nice turnout.)
One of us is not too happy!
The previous evening my two co-workers on this project, Cecile Delcourt and Dominique Greer, met for the first time.  (My daughter Samantha actually introduced them to each other.)
The first time all three of us (Dominique, Dwayne, and Cecile) have been together in one location. 
June 19 was also Father's Day (both in The Netherlands and in the U.S.), and so Samantha purchased me some chocolate and we had dinner to celebrate the occasion in the caves in Kanne, Belgium with other conference attendees. (We had visited there when we lived in Maastricht in 2006.)
Samantha with her new leather jacket (purchased in Florence, Italy) and Dwayne in his BGSU (and Dutch) orange shirt in the Kanne caves.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Opponent for Ph.D. Defense, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

I was asked by Jos Lemmink, the "promoter" (advisor) for Maastricht University Ph.D. student Alex Henkel, to be one of the "opponents" for his defense. The ceremony is quite elaborate and includes full gowns and a very specifically controlled (timed) ceremony. As part of the process, 6-8 "opponents" (professors from various universities) are charged with assessing the written dissertation and asking the Ph.D. candidate any questions they see fit.
The newly appointed Dr. Alex Henkel and Dr. Dwayne Gremler.
Alex did a great job in presenting his research (within a strict 15 minute time limit) and answering questions from the opponents (for exactly 45 minutes). Generally they are technical or theoretical questions. I actually think he struggled with my question more than any of the others. It was: "Since you have now completed the work required for getting a Ph.D., what have you learned about yourself, doing a Ph.D., and life?"
Dr. Gremler and Dr. Lemmink
I first met Alex and his fellow Ph.D. candidate Robert Ciuchita (and one of Alex's paranymphs) when I conducted a day-long seminar entitled "Becoming a Successful Marketing Professor"at HEC-Liege in November 2011 (two days after I attended Cecile Delcourt's Ph.D. defense in Nijmegen).  Alex had only been in the Ph.D. program for about 2 months when he attended it, and told me at his party on Friday evening that he found it to be very valuable and inspirational. Then he told me that ever since they attended the seminar that he and Robert had wanted to rub my (bald) head for good luck. After having had a few beers at the party and feeling more confident since he had successfully defended his dissertation earlier in the day, Alex asked me if he and Robert could rub my head for good luck...
Perhaps this will be good luck for Robert (on left) and Alex?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Surprise Celebration in Wittenberg, Germany

I grew up about 5 miles from the Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Thus, I had always wanted to visit Wittenberg, Germany. So, Samantha and I decided we would visit and have what we anticipated would be a low-key evening in a quiet town.  Instead, there were an estimated 100,000 people there to celebrate Martin Luther's wedding (in 1525). (Probably explains why we had such a hard time finding a parking spot.) We managed to find the "Schloss (Castle) Church" where Luther tacked his 95 Theses to the door.
The Wittenberg Door
The Schloss Church in Wittenberg.

Visiting More Grem(m)ler Relatives in Peine, Germany

In 2012 I met about 120 members of the Gremler family at a meeting organized by Detlef Gremler and Dr. Uwe Gremmler. (Yes, their names are spelled differently. The priests in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s generally decided how many Ms to put in the last name.) Samantha and I were invited by  Uwe and Beate Gremmler to a wonderful barbeque at their house.

Beate and Uwe Gremmler, and Samantha and Dwayne Gremler
We spent the night in their home, and the next morning they took us on a tour of the area where Uwe grew up.

On the front step of the Gremmler house in Peine, Germany

Schloss Wolfenbuttel

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Final Day of Teaching during My Sabbatical, University of Muenster, Germany

We finished the Service Management course at the University of Muenster today. As has been my practice throughout the sabbatical year, I took the class out for a drink to celebrate the final class meeting. 18 of the 19 students took advantage of the opportunity to have their professor buy them a drink.
"Prost!" with Service Management students at Cafe Extrablatt in Muenster

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sebastian and Karen Gremler's Wedding in Gernrode, Germany

For the first time in my life, I attended a wedding that included a Gremler (not me) that was getting married!  A (very) distant cousin Sebastian Gremler, son of Detlef and Mechtilde Gremler, was married on Saturday, June 4, in Gernrode. (This was my sixth visit to Gernrode since 2002, when Detlef and his family invited us to visit him. Detlef has spent more than 25 years doing a Gremler family genealogy.) The weather cooperated quite nicely with the event.
Sebastian and Karen Gremler and their wedding in Gernrode.
One of many German wedding traditions...a sheet-cutting ceremony.
Afterwards there was a nice, long celebration at a nice place about 20 minutes from Gernrode.  The reception started at 4:00 p.m.; Samantha and I lasted until was still going strong when we left!
Karen, Sebastian, Dwayne, and Samantha Gremler
Proud parents Mechtilde and Detlef Gremler

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Service Management MBA Class at University of Muenster, Germany

Because of apparently high demand for the class, I was invited by Thorsten Hennig-Thurau to return to the University of Muenster to teach the same class (Service Management) I taught in January.  The major team project is a service blueprint, and students practiced using this tool during an in-class activity.
Creating a blueprint for a Chicago service provider, Revive, to learn how to use the tool.
We formed 4 teams...check out these smiling faces!
Team 1: Benedikt E., Lisa K., Laura G., Teresa J., and Nico E.
Team 2; Laura V., Aileen L., Verena  V,, Pia J., and Claudia R.
Team 3: David F., Silja W., Thales T., Juliane K., and Tjorben G
Team 4: Kathrin B, Dorothee K., Julia R., and Marie K.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Surprise Appearance in Thorsten Hennig-Thurau's Services Marketing Course, Muenster, Germany

I was asked to briefly stop by Thorsten Hennig-Thurau's Services Marketing course today at the University of Muenster. I was introduced as one of the co-authors on the textbook they use for the class. It was quite a surprise to many of them. After sharing some brief thoughts, I asked if the students would be willing to have their picture taken for my blog.  They somewhat reluctantly agreed...
Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, Dwayne in his BGSU gear, and the students in the Services Marketing course. (Notice the Gaps Model of Service Quality on the screen!)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thought Leaders in Service Marketing Strategy Conference, HEC-Paris, France

The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science sponsored a "Thought Leaders in Service Marketing Strategy" Conference hosted by HEC-Paris.  Cecile Delcourt and I were invited to present preliminary findings of our "Delivering Bad News" research.
Cecile and Dwayne discussing the presentation

Monday, May 30, 2016

Travel Challenges in Going from Paris to Muenster via Belgium

At 4:00 p.m. today, I received the following text regarding my train trip via the Thalys service tomorrow (31 of May) afternoon from Paris to Muenster, Germany. No explanation is apparently needed according to Thalys. (Turns out the Belgian railway workers are on strike today and tomorrow.)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Quick Tour in Paris, France

Jens Hogreve and I flew from Munich to Paris via Air France...happily with no travel issues to report. We got to our hotel at 4:00 p.m. and decided to see what we could in 90 minutes.  So, we walked past the Arc de Triomphe...
A selfie at the Arc!
We then headed to the Eiffel Tower...and then the rain came.  So much for the tour of Paris.
Second stop....the Eiffel Tower

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Acting as a City Tour Guide for the Class Family, Ingolstadt, Germany

Today was a holiday in this part of Germany (Bavaria), so our former exchange daughter, Anja Class, and her parents (Dieter and Helga) drove to Ingolstadt. They had never been to Ingolstadt, so I took them on a tour. Ha! (In many cases, though, they had to translate the German on the signs and buildings for me.)
The best stop of the tour of Ingolstadt...with Anja, Dieter, and Helga Class
At the "new castle" Dieter spotted a garden where the sign suggests anyone who wants to can help themselves to whatever is growing.  Anja was suggesting to me all of the things I could fix in my Ingolstadt apartment...
The soon-to-be gymnasium graduate...who seemed to be a garden expert!

Coffee and Conversation with Bernd Stauss in Ingolstadt, Germany

I had the good fortune to spend almost two hours this morning (a holiday here in Germany) with Bernd Stauss, a retired Professor of Service Management at WFI Ingolstadt School of Management. As I understand it, Bernd was the first chair of Service Management in all of Germany, and he was one of the Founding Fathers of WFI when it began back in 1989.
Bernd Stauss and I having coffee in Ingolstadt
We had a great conversation on many topics, including his activities since retiring, our children (his two boys, my two girls, and my exchange daughter), the WFI Ingolstadt School of Management, story telling, our mutual friend Steve Brown, the critical incident technique, my German (family) roots, how well life has treated us, and many other things.  A very nice morning!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tapas with WFI Service Management Ph.D. Students in Ingolstadt, Germany

As my time in Ingolstadt is nearing an end, the Ph.D. Students in the Service Management Chair invited me to dinner at a Spanish restaurant, Mas Tapas, in Ingolstadt.
Dwayne, Hannes Fleischer, Mirjam Dobmeier, and Leo Mandl enjoying Spanish food!

They order several different dishes (tapas), including a "spicy" (at least by German standards) meat...chorizo.  (I often use this meat when making my Super Bowl Chili.)  But, I don't cook my chorizo in the same manner they did at Mas Tapas...
Cooking chorizo right at our table...the pig doesn't look to happy...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Servicescape Video Case Study Presentations, WFI Ingolstadt School of Management, Germany

For the "final exam" in the Servicescape course I was teaching at the Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt, student teams created videos (see links below) of different aspects of the servicescape for the Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakult├Ąt of Ingolstadt (WFI) School of Management. Several invited guests representing some of the administration at the university (at the left of the picture below) were present to hear the students' thoughts on various servicescape issues and to consider their recommendations on making improvements.
One team who studied and made recommendations regarding the WFI cafeteria.
After the six teams presented their 8-9 minute videos, we went on our fifth and final (and optional) field trip to Schutterhof Beer Garden. It is probably not too difficult to imagine what we did there...  (Students had challenged me to "be better than their German professors." So, I treated them to a beverage of their choice. But, I am not sure that made me "better" in their eyes.)
A nice way to end the "final exam."
The six servicescape videos the students created can be found on YouTube. To view any of them, click on the topic for each team below:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Weekend as a Tourist in Roma, Italy

Samantha had planned several trips while in Italy, but did not have Roma on her schedule, so we took the train from Firenze to Roma and were there for about 50 hours. We tried to pack as much as possible into that time, including a city bus tour (one of the worst organized service experiences I have ever had), trips to Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps (under construction), Piazza Navona, and the Forum, and visits to many other spots.
Trevi Fountain...I first visited this with Candy (our second date ever) 32 years ago!
We did the Colosseum tour in the rain...the next day it was PACKED with visitors!
Dinner in Roma (my first dinner here was 32 years ago...on my second date with Candy!)
Gelato in Roma after two days of walking (34,000 steps each day for you FitBit fans!) 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Visit to See Samantha in Study Abroad Program in Firenze (Florence), Italy

My oldest daughter, Samantha, is spending the month of May in Florence, Italy, as part of the University of Pittsburgh's Study Abroad Program.  (Interestingly, business students and a professor from Pitt were in Augsburg at the Management School when I was there on Monday.)  She just completed her junior year at Pitt at the end of April.
Samantha outside of her classroom building in Firenze (Florence).
I awoke at 4:00 a.m. to begin my journey by bus, plane, and then taxi from Ingolstadt to Firenze. After I arrived at the Firenze train station at 9;30 a.m., Samantha took me on a quick tour of Firenze. We saw "The Duomo" (the Cathedral) and the Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge).
Just down the street from "The Duomo"
I was last at the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence 32 years ago!
Photo taken from the restaurant we ate at on Monday evening...from the other side of the Ponte Vecchio bridge!  The tower is part of Palazzo Vecchio.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Employee Emotional Competence" Research Presentation at University of Augsburg, Germany

After wrapping up the "Publishing Scholarly Research" seminar, I gave a presentation on one of the papers we discussed during the seminar on Employee Emotional Competence to both faculty and students at the University of Augsburg.  I was invited to Augsburg by Dr. Michael Paul, whom I have known for about 12 years.  We initially worked together on a paper on Emotional Contagion that appeared in the Journal of Marketing in 2006.
Michael Paul and I after my research presentation.
I did not really have much of a chance to explore Augsburg (named after the Roman Emperor Augustus), the third oldest German city, on this trip. Perhaps I will return some day...
Something is not quite right with this picture of the Rathaus Augsburg (building on the right)...can you spot it?

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Servicescape Design" Teams at WFI Ingolstadt School of Management, Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt, Germany

22 students have committed to the course, and each team will be focusing on examining different aspects of the WFI Ingolstadt School of Management servicescape.

Team 2: Anne S., Lena N., Pol A.-C.(not in picture), and Lukas S.
Team 4: Anita H., Wayne K., Lilian V., and Johannes K.
Team 5: Veronica M. , Laura H., Finn H., and Elena L.
Team 1: Fabian H, Thu K., Julia A.,and Isabelle M. (not in picture
Team 6: Lucas W., Sarah S.
Team 3: Arthur H., Julia B., Max G., and Jakob P.