With Professor Christian Grönroos as its prominent figure, CERS has been influential in developing an internationally accepted school of marketing thought, referred to as the Nordic School of Service Marketing and Management.
Researchers at CERS have edited The Nordic School book about the Nordic School. In addition to Professor Grönroos, Lars-Johan Lindqvist, Veronica Liljander, Annika Ravald, Inger Roos, Kaj Storbacka and Tore Strandvik were among the first researchers at CERS who represented this view.
Created in 1994, the centre was primarily established as a vehicle for concentrating on and developing the research within the department, and its goal was to achieve and maintain an influential position internationally. Another objective was to create a collaborative forum between the academic community and industry representatives. The main outcome has been articles published in high-ranked international academic journals. The spin-off effects include novel insights into teaching, the development of postgraduate studies and management education, increased opportunities for external funding and corporate funding, and a positive image for Hanken. In addition to externally funded research projects, the CERS Award for Excellence in Relationship Marketing and Management is a prime example of the work that CERS has done in order to create connections and disseminate knowledge to the industry in Finland. The award was initiated in 1999, and among the recipients have been such companies as Fazer Bakeries, UPM Kymmene, Ålandsbanken, Diacor, and Nordea Corporate Merchant Banking.
CERS was also influential in establishing the national graduate school in service and relationship management in 1994. The Finnish Center for Service and Relationship Management (FCSRM) was established as a multidisciplinary graduate school covering, for example, marketing, organization studies, management, information technology, and financial and accounting disciplines.
Known for its research in the areas of service and relationship management, CERS produces research on topics such as customer relationships, service, value, and customer experiences. The researchers at CERS have always sought original and thought-provoking ways to look at the world and challenge the current knowledge in the service discipline. In the 1990s, when relationship marketing started to emerge as a service-based and business network-based perspective, CERS was a leader in the field with its first doctoral thesis in 1994.