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Service marketing control as practice: a case study

Per Skålén (Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




Service marketing research has developed practices for managing and controlling the human resources. However, the role of these control practices in organizations has neither been empirically studied in a systematic way nor been analyzed in relation to control theory. This paper seeks to address these gaps in previous research.


Single case study of a Swedish financial service firm referred to as the Financial Institute which has drawn on service marketing practices to manage the organization and control the employees.


The empirical findings suggest that control practices are associated with service marketing discourse controls for the customer orientation of the human resources.


In order to analyze the empirical findings the paper draws on the control theory of organization studies. More particularly labor process theory and Foucauldian organization theory (FOT) are invoked. The analysis suggests that mainly FOT explains how service marketing practices control the customer orientation of the human resources.



Skålén, P. (2011), "Service marketing control as practice: a case study", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 374-390.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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