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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Customer Ideals, Organizational Realities and Misbehaving Customers in Frontline Work
University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business. (Sustainable Consumption Research Group)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9159-4593
Centrum för tjänsteforskning, Karlstads universitet.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Being able (and willing) to adapt to the needs and wants of the customer is pivotal to organizational success in most contemporary theories of marketing. Today’s customers are also increasingly expecting to be treated if not as kings so at least as free, independent individuals entitled to be heard, obeyed and exclusively attended to. However, in practice, the actual room for such customer sovereignty is often quite limited. Instead the customer is subjected to an often repressive operational logic, driven not least by the ever increasing complexity of the technological and administrative systems characteristic of contemporary service offerings. The result is a potential, often unspoken and surprisingly under-researched conflict between the customer role and organizational realities. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the customer role in relation to concrete service encounters. We especially focus on situations where the customer, in the role of being a customer, acts in a manner which is not acceptable according to general norms and values. Empirically, the study builds on interviews with frontline employees in retail and public transportation - two industries which both have embraced various forms of customer-orientation and which display a high level of problems related to customer misbehavior. The study contributes with an understanding of how the concepts of customer authority and autonomy, play an important role in explaining the underlying causes of customer misbehavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
Customer role, Customer orientation, Customer misbehavior, Frontline personnel, Public transportation, Retail, Service marketing
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Bussiness and IT
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-7011Local ID: 2320/12597OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-7011DiVA: diva2:887718
Conference
20th International Conference on Recent Advances in Retailing and Consumer Service Sciences (EIRASS), July 7-10, 2013, Philadelphia, USA.
Projects
Att jobba med jobbiga kunder
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-0741
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2016-10-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf