This paper investigates organizational and territorial culture jointly, and recognizes them as the building blocks of service culture. In addition it aims at understanding how the interplay between the two constructs shapes different typologies of service culture. A theory building logic is followed and a grounded theory approach based on qualitative inquiry is adopted, drawing from in-depth interviews and using case vignettes to identify different service culture typologies. Findings show that a firm’s service culture is built through its organizational culture leveraging on the territorial culture of origin (of the company itself) and of destination (where the company is going to provide its services). This interplay can take place in three different ways, which represent different typologies of service culture: a roots-based, an integrative and an adaptive service culture. Results are also relevant for service managers, for better understanding and formalizing their own service culture, and to develop future strategies, for entering new countries or approaching different cultural contexts.
Keywords: Service culture, services marketing, territorial culture, organizational culture, qualitative research, theory building