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Title: The order of ordering : analysing customer-bartender service encounters in public bars
Author: Richardson, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 5338
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis will explore how customers and bartenders accomplish the service encounter in a public house, or bar. Whilst there is a body of existing literature on service encounters, this mainly investigates customer satisfaction and ignores the mundane activities that comprise the service encounter itself. In an attempt to fill this gap, I will examine how the activities unfold sequentially by examining the spoken and embodied conduct of the participants, over the course of the encounter. The data comprise audio -and video- recorded, dyadic and multi-party interactions between customer(s) and bartender(s), occurring at the bar counter. The data were analyzed using conversation analysis (CA) to investigate the talk and embodied conduct of participants, as these unfold sequentially. The first analytic chapter investigates how interactions between customers and bartenders are opened. The analysis reveals practices for communicating availability to enter into a service encounter; with customers being found to do this primarily through embodied conduct, and bartenders primarily through spoken turns. The second analytic chapter investigates the role of objects in the ordering sequence. Specifically, the analysis reveals how the Cash Till and the seating tables in the bar are mobilized by participants to accomplish action. In the third analytic chapter, multi-party interactions are investigated, focusing on the organization of turn-taking when two or more customers interact with one or more bartenders. Here, customers are found to engage in activities where they align as a unit, with a lead speaker, who interacts with the bartender on behalf of the party. In the final analytic chapter, the payment sequence of the service encounter is explored to investigate at what sequential position in the interaction payment, as an action, is oriented to. Analysis reveals that a wallet, purse, or bag, may be displayed and money or a payment card retrieved, in a variety of sequential slots, with each contributing differentially to the efficiency of the interaction. I also find that payment may be prematurely proffered due to the preference for efficiency. Overall, the thesis makes innovative contributions to our understanding of customer and bartender practices for accomplishing core activities in what members come to recognize as a service encounter It also contributes substantially to basic conversation analytic research on openings , which has traditionally been founded on telephone interactions, as well as the action of requesting. I enhance our knowledge of face-to-face opening practices, by revealing that the canonical opening sequence (see Schegloff, 1968; 1979; 1986) is not present, at least in this context. From the findings, I also develop our understanding of how objects constrain, or further, progressivity in interaction; while arguing for the importance of analysing the participants semiotic field in aggregate with talk and embodied conduct. The thesis also contributes to existing literature on multi-party interactions, identifying a new turn-taking practice with a directional flow that works effectively to accomplish ordering. Finally, I contribute to knowledge on the provision of payment, an under-researched yet prominent action in the service encounter. This thesis will show the applicability of CA to service providers; by analysing the talk and embodied conduct in aggregate, effective practices for accomplishing a successful service encounter are revealed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Conversation analysis ; Video data analysis ; Interaction ; Service encounters