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Title: An internal marketing study of service encounters between managers and caddies in the Chinese golf industry
Author: Yang, Hua
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 9088
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2009
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Golf does not have a long history in China, only being played in the last 20 years, and has been the subject of limited research. However, Chinese golf clubs have developed very fast and it is worthy of further research. The author worked in a Chinese golf club before she came to UK. She perceived there was a less than harmonious manager-employee interaction in the club, and the morale of employees was not high. It has been accepted the importance of enhancing the satisfaction of employees, especially customer-contact employees as they can significantly and positively influences customers' satisfaction. In order to improve satisfaction of customer contact employees—caddies, this research explores the role of caddy managers in internal service encounters between them and their caddies in the Chinese golf industry from an internal marketing perspective. The reason for adopting an internal marketing perspective is to create a service culture and help to establish customer consciousness. This research aims to explore the role of caddy managers in internal service encounters from an internal marketing perspective. This research is based on the following conceptual frameworks: internal marketing, service encounters, the symbolic interactionist perspective of role theory, and defining situation because a service encounter cannot take place in a vacuum, and must take place in a specific situation. From an internal marketing perspective, caddy managers are treated as their caddies' internal service providers, the process of constructing caddy managers' role is actually the process of constructing internal service quality. Thus it is vital to review literature on service quality. The two prominent models on service quality: the Nordic Model of service quality and the SERVQUAL model are adopted as the theoretical frameworks for this research. This research employs Crotty's four elements (epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodology and methods) to justify its soundness. Taking the social constructionist epistemology, this research seeks to understand the meaning constructed by manager-employee interactions and how these meanings have led to specific internal service encounter behaviour. The interpretivists' paradigm embedded in symbolic interactionism is adopted as the theoretical perspective. Qualitative case study methodology, critical incident technique and storytelling are used as the research methods to collect data. In order to make sense of the data, narrative analysis is used to interpret the constructions of managers and caddies from their interactions. This study included 23 participants (four caddy managers and 19 caddies) from two Chinese golf clubs. It has yielded 59 internal service encounters categorised into four types, covering most of the situations where interactions between caddies and their managers take place. The nine dimensions were found to construct the role of caddy mangers in internal service encounters between caddies and caddy managers. They are reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, communication, consideration, fairness, recognition, and flexibility. Due to the specific research context, they have some differences from and similarities to the five dimension of the SERQUAL model and the seven criteria of the Nordic model of service quality. Further, an onion model of the role of caddy managers in internal service encounters was developed that could help the manager to understand their role in interacting with caddies, and to improve their service quality to caddies. This research has contributed to professional practice. In that it could help to improve golfers' satisfaction by improvement of caddies' satisfaction; and it uses the internal marketing perspective to help organizations to develop service orientation culture. This research has also contributed to theory. That is, it explored service encounters from two perspectives (the view of service providers and of customers).
Supervisor: Coates, Nigel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N100 Business studies ; N200 Management studies ; N500 Marketing