The Emergent Field of Organizational Frontlines
Journal of Service Research, vol.
Advances in frontline interface technologies and devices are profoundly disrupting how organizations and customers interact to
create and exchange value. Where once customer interactions were limited in variety, multiplicity, and complexity, today’s
broadband Internet and wireless connection technologies defy limitations to enable organization-customer interactions of everincreasing
diversity and consistency across multiple points of customer contact. No longer are the frontlines inert backgrounds
for organizational action involving customers; rather, they are evolving as sites of vibrant innovations and interventions that
engage customers, enhance customer experiences, and motivate value (co)creation. To anchor this emergent field, we define
organizational frontlines at the intersection of interfaces and interactions that connect organizations and their customers. We
historically trace the use of ‘‘organizational frontlines’’ from its initial application in military and management domains through its
current and proposed position in both academic and practitioner contexts. We illustrate our definition to highlight research
opportunities and underscore the strategic implications for effectively managing organizational frontlines to secure competitive
advantage. We conclude with a discussion of special issue articles and the exciting agenda they collectively engage.