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Durham e-Theses
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Co-creating the Service Encounter: The Relational Dynamics of the Hair Salon

HARNESS, OONAGH,MCKENZIE (2020) Co-creating the Service Encounter: The Relational Dynamics of the Hair Salon. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The PhD thesis is empirically focused within the context of hairdressing, a highly affective, emotionally charged form of service work. Conceptually, the thesis seeks to unpack the service encounter by considering how the worker’s embodied and interpersonal skills coalesce with the material landscape to create a service experience that effectively engages the customer. To further illustrate the customer’s role, the notion of ‘co-creation’ is drawn upon. This marks a departure from a sociological depiction of the customer as either shrouded in mystery, entirely passive and/or disruptive. In exploring the relational skills required to engage customers, this thesis provides a far-reaching, trans-temporal narrative that illustrates how ‘soft skills’ flourish. I employ a qualitative methodology comprised of ethnographic observations and various types of interviews to obtain data that offers a rich and vivid insight into service work. I show how relational and embodied capacities flourish to allow a well-honed, fluid performance adapted to the nuances of each interaction. The thesis is also corporeally focused, as the nature of the work performed becomes inscribed upon the customer’s body. I therefore examine the body of the worker as part of the broader ‘servicescape’ that foregrounds both interaction and bodywork.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Co-creation, commercial friendships, emotional labour, hairdressing, service work.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business > Management and Marketing, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Dec 2020 15:01

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