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Service marketing and subjectivity: the shaping of customer-oriented employees

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Abstract:

The present paper focuses on how and to what extent service marketing practices contribute toward customer-orienting employee subjectivity. It reports a case study of a service firm – the FI – which has been drawing on service marketing practices in order to manage the organisation. By analysing the case of the FI, based on Foucault's notions of disciplinary and pastoral power, the paper suggests that service marketing practices contribute toward making the subjectivity of front-line employees (FLEs) more proactive. More specifically, the paper suggests that the disciplinary power of service marketing practices generates knowledge of the FLEs – in the present case, that they are reactive but need to be proactive – and that the pastoral power of service marketing practices draw on that knowledge, making the subjectivity of the FLEs more proactive. The paper concludes that service marketing practices are translated when they encounter organisational practice. Based on this conclusion, the ideal that marketing research is able, and meant, to formulate general managerial practices, which organisations should strive to mirror, is found to be unachievable.

Keywords: CRITICAL MARKETING; DISCIPLINARY POWER; FOUCAULT; PASTORAL POWER; SERVICE MARKETING; SUBJECTIVITY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725709X471631

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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