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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Kjetil G. Lundberg and Liv Johanne Syltevik

– The purpose of this paper is to provide a sociological analysis of everyday interaction on the physical front line of the Norwegian welfare state.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a sociological analysis of everyday interaction on the physical front line of the Norwegian welfare state.

Design/methodology/approach

The data are from a short-term ethnographic study in the reception/waiting rooms of three local welfare offices. These are important sites for access to benefits and services. The focus is on the situational and interactional aspects: how do people behave and interact with fellow visitors as well as with front line staff in this institutional context? For the analysis, Goffman’s conceptual framework on behaviour in public places is combined with concepts from a theory of access to welfare benefits.

Findings

The analysis shows how people fill these spaces with different activities, and how they are characterized by a particular type of welfare “officialdom”, boundary work and the handling of welfare stigma. Everyday interaction on the front line gives insights into the tensions in an all-in-one welfare bureaucracy and into the implementation of digitalization. The paper concludes that “old” and “new” tensions are expressed and managed at the front line, and suggests that more attention be paid to the new barriers that are developing.

Originality/value

The study contributes an ethnographic approach to a seldom studied part of welfare administration. The waiting rooms in the Norwegian welfare organization are actualized as a social arena influenced by new trends in public administration: one-stop shops, a new heterogeneity, activation policies and digitalization processes.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2002

Anita L. Tucker, Amy C. Edmondson and Steven Spear

We propose that research on problem‐solving behavior can provide critical insight into mechanisms through which organizations resist learning and change. In this paper, we…

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7967

Abstract

We propose that research on problem‐solving behavior can provide critical insight into mechanisms through which organizations resist learning and change. In this paper, we describe typical frontline responses to obstacles that hinder workers’ effectiveness and argue that this pattern of behavior creates an important and overlooked barrier to organizational change. Past research on quality improvement and problem solving has found that the type of approach used affects the results of problem‐solving efforts but has not considered constraints that may limit the ability of frontline workers to use preferred approaches. To investigate actual problem‐solving behavior of frontline workers, we conducted 197 hours of observation of hospital nurses, whose jobs present many problem‐solving opportunities. We identify implicit heuristics that govern the problem‐solving behaviors of these frontline workers, and suggest cognitive, social, and organizational factors that may reinforce these heuristics and thereby prevent organizational change and improvement.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2011

Leroy Robinson, Sue E. Neeley and Kathleen Williamson

This study seeks to combine components of service failure recovery and customer relationship management. It aims to develop a model of the antecedents of successful…

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4858

Abstract

Purpose

This study seeks to combine components of service failure recovery and customer relationship management. It aims to develop a model of the antecedents of successful service recovery that proposes relationships between employee empowerment, job satisfaction, self‐efficacy, employee ratings of the service firm's service recovery practices, and service technology usage.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey tool was used to collect data. The hypothesized model was tested utilizing structural equation modeling.

Findings

Results support the hypothesized relationships between the empowerment of employees and their job satisfaction and perceived self‐efficacy, as well as the relationships between job satisfaction and self‐efficacy and service recovery.

Practical implications

Managers may improve the implementation of service technology and service recovery strategies by increasing employee empowerment.

Originality/value

The paper addresses a significant gap in the current literature by linking the well‐established constructs of employee empowerment, job‐satisfaction, self‐efficacy and adaptability with measures of service failure recovery and service technology usage.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2013

Lloyd C. Harris and Emmanuel Ogbonna

The aim of this article is to supply grounded empirical insights into the forms of negative word‐of‐mouth by frontline, customer contact employees.

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4189

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this article is to supply grounded empirical insights into the forms of negative word‐of‐mouth by frontline, customer contact employees.

Design/methodology/approach

The article adopts a qualitative approach through interviews with 54 frontline employees in three retail organizations: food, clothing and electronic goods.

Findings

The paper finds four different forms of negative word‐of‐mouth behaviours which are labelled customer‐oriented, anti‐management/firm, employee‐oriented and anti‐competitor word‐of‐mouth. The paper shows how each of these behaviours varied in terms of the target audience (the intended listeners), the focus of attention (the focal point of comments), the motivation (the perceived rationale for the behaviour) and the extent to which employees perceived their own comments to be truthful.

Research limitations/implications

The article calls for an expansion of research horizon to incorporate a fuller understanding of the dynamics of employee (mis)behaviour in the workplace in relation to resistance, subjectivity, instrumentality and clandestine control of certain aspects of workplace dynamics.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that managers should be concerned with frontline employee negative word‐of‐mouth especially because some of the examples which were uncovered are potentially damaging to both financial and non financial performance measures.

Originality/value

The article contributes insights into the neglected area of employee negative word‐of‐mouth. The article argues that the identification of the forms of employee negative word‐of‐mouth is an important step towards developing a theory of employee negative word‐of‐mouth that is especially pertinent to frontline service work. The article develops a series of propositions which future researchers may find useful in advancing research in this area.

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Spiros Gounaris and Achilleas Boukis

– The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of front line employee job satisfaction in customers ' behavioral intentions.

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5277

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of front line employee job satisfaction in customers ' behavioral intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

Research design is nested with data collected from both first line employees and customers. Data are collected from multiple branches of a single bank to eliminate the possibility of other parameters such as design of operations and physical evidence from masking the true effects of the variables under investigation.

Findings

Employee job satisfaction influences a customer ' s perception of quality, customer satisfaction and the development of high relational switching cost. Hence the effect on repurchase intention is indirect but significant and strong while moderated by branch size and age of the employee.

Research limitations/implications

The degree of employee job satisfaction is a resource of strategic nature for these companies aiming to improve customer retention rates. Such companies should protect their ability to build employee job satisfaction and restrain themselves from policies that threaten to slim down the satisfaction their employees derive from their job.

Originality/value

Using a hierarchical research design, this is the first study that manages to establish the relationship between employee job satisfaction and customers ' behavioral intentions while eliminating the effect of complementary marketing mix parameters such as operations design effectiveness and aesthetics.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2018

Per Echeverri and Maria Åkesson

The purpose of this paper is to identify the key elements of professional identity in service work in order to provide more in-depth theoretical explanations as to why…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the key elements of professional identity in service work in order to provide more in-depth theoretical explanations as to why service workers do as they do while co-creating service.

Design/methodology/approach

This study takes a multi-perspective on professional identity, i.e. using both an employee and a customer perspective, arguing that the phenomenon mainly consists of what these interactants jointly do during the service interaction and of the meanings that are attributed to it. The authors draw on a detailed empirical study of professionals working at a customer centre. Methodologically, the study is based on practice theory, which helps us to illuminate and analyse both the micro practices and the meaning attributed to the professional identity of service workers.

Findings

The key elements of professional identity in service work are outlined within a framework that describes and explains three different facets of the service workers’ professional identity, i.e. as a core (i.e. individual resources, cognitive understanding, interaction), as conditions (i.e. service prerequisites), and as contour (i.e. demeanour and functions).

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based on an empirical data set from a public transport customer centre. As the results are limited to one context, they do not provide statistical generalizability. Although limited to one service industry, the findings may still be of high relevance to a wide range of service organisations.

Practical implications

The study shows the significance of managers not just talking about the importance of being service-minded; more exactly, a wide range of service prerequisites, beyond cognitive understanding, needs to be in place. It is crucial that service workers are given the time to develop their contextual knowledge of their customers, and of other parts of the service organisation.

Originality/value

This study offers original empirical contributions concerning the key elements of professional identity. An alternative conceptualization of professional identity is provided, through which the paper adds to service research, explaining more specifically what kinds of knowledge and skills are in use during the co-creation of services.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Patrice Rosenthal and Riccardo Peccei

The purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual and empirical analysis of the rationale and enactment of consumer discourses in reformed British welfare…

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1176

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual and empirical analysis of the rationale and enactment of consumer discourses in reformed British welfare administration, through a focus on consumption and the service interaction. The paper aims to explore how administrators use these discourses to manage consumption in particular ways in order to promote individual enterprise and employability, and analyse the pivotal role of frontline workers in these efforts.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws from range of data sources collected in a case study of Jobcentre Plus, including analysis of public and internal documents, observation of six public offices and interviews with 13 frontline staff.

Findings

Images of customer sovereignty are used alongside heightened control to try to shape claimants' motivation and capacity for work. Frontline staff, mainly endorse reformed structures, but their view of claimants is complex, departing from the images fostered by administrators.

Research limitations/implications

The paper highlights the importance of context‐specific understanding of deployment of consumer discourses in public sector, but interview data are exploratory and further research is needed.

Practical implications

The paper highlights complexities inherent in customer orientation in welfare administration and the pivotal role of frontline in reforms.

Originality/value

The paper provides a distinctive approach to analysis of customer concept in public sector reform, through focus on consumption and the service interaction.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 19 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Farag Edghiem and Yusra Mouzughi

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and implications of knowledge advanced through service employees’ innovative behaviour and leading to initiating…

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1022

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and implications of knowledge advanced through service employees’ innovative behaviour and leading to initiating innovation within the hotel service subsector.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study research method was applied to achieve the research objectives, which investigated two hotel properties resembling two personal–interactive service systems. In total, 52 semi-structured interviews were conducted along with other qualitative research methods, including the direct observation of employees, review of management archives/literature and the assessment of “micro cases”.

Findings

The research outcome highlights the role of knowledge as supplementary to the interlinked process of idea generation and development. A novel classification of two types of knowledge is revealed as pre-encounter and encounter-dependent knowledge, implicating four patterns of service employees’ innovative behaviour.

Practical implications

This paper recommends practical measures to nurture service employees’ innovative behaviour, leading to innovation.

Originality/value

This study contributes to service innovation research by providing an in-depth assessment at the micro level, overlooked to date, of the nature of knowledge and the service employees’ role in initiating innovation within the hotel service subsector.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2015

Tobias Giesbrecht, Birgit Schenk and Gerhard Schwabe

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the face-to-face citizen service encounter in public administrations’ front offices, and present a novel qualification approach…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the face-to-face citizen service encounter in public administrations’ front offices, and present a novel qualification approach to empower service personnel on-the-job, and thereby deepen the knowledge on the role of information and communication technology for advancing governmental reforms.

Design/methodology/approach

The presented study follows a design science research methodology, conducted in collaboration with the public administration of a major German city. Data were collected using multiple quantitative and qualitative methods, including questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and video analysis.

Findings

A novel on-the-job qualification approach for empowering public employees in their job-related skills, building on the concept of affordances, is developed. Thereto, six design principles for equipping artifacts with counseling affordances are presented. Evaluations in real-world environments provide first evidence that “learning with counseling affordances” constitutes an effective qualification measure to initiate experiential learning on-the-job, helping employees in the resource-restricted work environment of public front offices to obtain the skills to provide superior advisory services.

Research limitations/implications

The “learning with counseling affordances” approach was developed in collaboration with an individual major German city and the paper provides first evidence of its effectiveness and suitability. Hence, the study’s insights should be approved by further research to strengthen generalizability.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the previously neglected aspects of employee’s skills and qualification for promoting governmental transformation. By highlighting the beneficial relationship between affordances and on-the-job learning, the paper provides novel insights on the role of information and communication technology to promote governmental transformation.

Details

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6166

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2000

Frederick A. Frost and Mukesh Kumar

Explores the extent to which the construct service quality plays in an internal marketing setting. A conceptual model known as the “Internal Service Quality Model” was…

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14060

Abstract

Explores the extent to which the construct service quality plays in an internal marketing setting. A conceptual model known as the “Internal Service Quality Model” was designed based on the original “GAP Model” developed by Parasuraman. The model evaluated the dimensions, and their relationships, that determine service quality among internal customers (frontline staff) and internal suppliers (support staff) within a large service organisation, namely, Singapore Airlines. The dependent variable in this study was internal service quality (ISQ), while the independent variables were tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. The results suggest that the perceptions and expectations of internal customers and internal suppliers play a major role in recognising the level of internal service quality perceived. The acceptance of the postulated hypotheses has confirmed the importance of the internal service quality construct, thus acknowledging the usefulness of the INTSERVQUAL instrument and the conceptualised Internal Service Quality Model proposed in this research study.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 14 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

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