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!)