Consumers, channels and communication: Online and offline communication in service consumption

ArticleinInteracting with Computers 19(1):7-19 · January 2007with 128 Reads
Abstract
This paper reports on a study that investigated consumer use of e-services in a multi-channel context. Many HCI studies on the use of e-services focus on the use of the online channel in relative isolation. This study attempts to develop a deeper understanding of what makes consumers decide to use the online channel in examining consumer channel-choice beyond the instances of internet use. The consumption behaviour of its participants was investigated across channels in an in-depth qualitative study. The analysis of the rich data produced specifically focused on the investigation of voluntary consumer movements between online and offline channels during the course of a consumption process. The results indicate that participants often use multiple channels in parallel and frequently switch between channels. Literature from marketing and consumer research was used as the perspective to explore the rationale for the complex and dynamic reported consumer behaviour.
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    The concept of service Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME) is an emerging interdisciplinary approach that combines fundamental management, and engineering theories. The objective is to help organizations improve their competiveness in a rapidly changing business environment by exploring the true requirements of their customers, and setting up an effective service process with the support of IT. Despite the significance of SSME, few studies have attempted to develop a methodology to guide and implement SSME research. To address this research gap, we discuss the interdisciplinary nature of the SSME approach. We review related literature and theories, and explore the tools used in various fields relevant to SSME. Then, we propose a systematic three-phase framework for SSME research. Our interdisciplinary review and the proposed framework are designed to help researchers and practitioners utilize available SSME tools and theories. We believe the framework will enable researchers and practitioners to implement their respective SSME processes more effectively and efficiently.
  • Chapter
    Accompanying with the Internet wave, a plethora of literature about online and offline information search behaviour has emerged, in particular in the domains of consumer and travel research. However, little scholarly attention falls into how tourism and hotel management college students search internship information. The current study attempts to investigate this under-researched context. Drawing on the findings from a self-administered survey with 146 tourism and hotel management college students in Hong Kong, this study confirms that the Internet is a major channel for students to search internship information whilst offline channel has not been abandoned. Moreover, students with internship experience exhibited a higher tendency to search internship information through company websites.
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    Full-text available
    We report on an evaluation of the Customer Journey Modelling Language (CJML) for documenting and visualizing a service process from the customer's perspective. The target group is employees in service organizations. We present a modelling toolkit and a scenario-based procedure that was used during the experiment with 48 target users. The purpose was to assess the applicability of CJML when introduced to new users. The participants were able to utilize CJML in a collaborative setting after a short training session. Overall, CJML was perceived as intuitive and useful by a large majority of the participants. A high precision level was obtained in more than 50% of the models produced during the experiment. Still, the analysis reveals the need for better guidance on delineation of process steps. We discuss validity of the results, and further work required to improve CJML.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework based on customer journeys for a structured portrayal of service delivery from the customer’s point of view. The paper also introduces customer journey analysis (CJA) for empirical investigation of individual service experiences in a multichannel environment. Design/methodology/approach The paper presents case studies for onboarding new customers on broadband services. CJA starts with modeling of the service process in terms of touchpoints. The individual customer journeys are reconstructed through methodological triangulation of interviews, diary studies, and process tracking. Findings The paper provides empirical insights into individual customer journeys. Four types of deviations during service delivery are identified: occurrence of ad hoc touchpoints, irregularities in the sequence of logically connected touchpoints, occurrence of failures in touchpoints, and missing touchpoints. CJA seems effective in revealing problematic and incoherent service delivery that may result in unfavorable customer experiences. Practical implications For a service company, the proposed framework may serve as a unifying language to ease cross-departmental communication and approach service quality in a systematic way. CJA discloses the gap between the planned and actual service delivery and can be used as a tool for service improvement. Originality/value The framework provides concepts, definitions, and a visual notation to structure and manage services in terms of customer journeys. CJA is a novel method for empirical studies of the service delivery process and the associated customer experience.
  • Article
    With the development and generalization of internet and information technology, airlines has tried to reduce their business expenses and commissions to travel agencies and enhance service qualities through service automation and simplification, such as internet booking and ticketing, self check-in, in-flight internet and RFID for checked baggage. The statistical techniques conducted for this empirical analysis are frequency analysis, reliability analysis, factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and multiple regression analysis. This research has tried to examine factors of airline e-services that influence on recommendation re-purchase intention and satisfaction. Results has found that only on-line reservation and ticketing factor had significant effect for recommendation and re-purchase intention and all e-service factors produced significant effect to total satisfaction. It was also recommend that airlines have to provide easy and more familiar e-service system to their passengers to deliver better services.
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    Full-text available
    Stress affects the gastrointestinal tract as part of the visceral response. Various stressors induce similar profiles of gut motor function alterations, including inhibition of gastric emptying, stimulation of colonic propulsive motility, and hypersensitivity to colorectal distension. In recent years, substantial progress has been made in our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of stress's impact on gut function. Activation of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) signaling pathways mediates both the inhibition of upper gastrointestinal (GI) and the stimulation of lower GI motor function through interaction with different CRF receptor subtypes. Here, we review how various stressors affect the gut, with special emphasis on the central and peripheral CRF signaling systems.
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    This paper integrates extant literature on retailing and consumer choice to develop an economic model of consumer choice in which a consumer self-selects between on-line and in-store shopping. Two important factors impacting consumer choice between on-line versus in-store shopping are identified: (1) the retail context utility and (2) the consumers' perceived product and service risks. Our model postulates that consumers derive utility from the shopping experience and are more likely to shop on-line for products/services that are low in purchase risks. They are also more likely to shop on-line for products with well-known brands than lesser-known ones. However, they are less likely to shop on-line from lesser-known retailers who carry well-known brands than from reputable retailers, even if the latter carry lesser-known brands. Empirical verification of the model is carried out using an experimental design setting and the results gave support to the postulations based on our theoretical model. Strategic implications for in-store and on-line retailers are discussed.
  • Planning the service encounter The Service Encounter: Managing Employee/Customer Interaction in Service Business Understanding the Customer
    • G L Shostack
    Shostack, G.L., 1985. Planning the service encounter. In: Czepiel, J.A., Solomon, M.R., Suprenant, J.F. (Eds.). The Service Encounter: Managing Employee/Customer Interaction in Service Business. Lex-ington Books, MA. Szmigin, I., 2003. Understanding the Customer. Sage Publications.
  • US eCommerce: The year in review. An overview of annual and Q4 US online retail sales
    • S Mulpuru
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    Mulpuru, S., Johnson, C.A., Tesch, B., 2006. 2005 US eCommerce: The year in review. An overview of annual and Q4 US online retail sales.
  • Technology-enabled service delivery
    • R H Walker
    • M Craig-Lees
    • R Hecker
    • H Francis
    Walker, R.H., Craig-Lees, M., Hecker, R., Francis, H., 2002. Technology-enabled service delivery. International Journal of Service Industry Management 13 (1), 91–106.
  • The Unmanageable Consumer
    • Y Gabriel
    • T Lang
    Gabriel, Y., Lang, T., 1995. The Unmanageable Consumer. Sage Publications Ltd, London.
  • A model of customer's behaviour with (B2C) e-commerce
    • S Minocha
    • L Dawson
    • N Millard
    • D Roberts
    Minocha, S., Dawson, L., Millard, N., Roberts, D., 2004. A model of customer's behaviour with (B2C) e-commerce. In: 18th British HCI Group Annual Conference, Design for life, Leeds, UK, 4.
  • Survival of the fattest: e-tail's evolution. In: website Times Online (www.timesonline.co.uk
    • R Blakely
    Blakely, R., 2005. Survival of the fattest: e-tail's evolution. In: website Times Online (www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9075-1426946,00.html).
  • Online holiday spending boosts e-commerce to record. Annaul sales over $143 billion
    • A Lipsman
    Lipsman, A., 2006. Online holiday spending boosts e-commerce to record. Annaul sales over $143 billion. In: website ComScore (www.comscore.com).
  • This research is being supported by the Open University's Research Development Fund We thank Dr Knowledge Media Institute, for his kind support and advice
    • Acknowledgements
    Acknowledgements: This research is being supported by the Open University's Research Development Fund (2003-2006). We thank Dr. Trevor Collins, Open University, Knowledge Media Institute, for his kind support and advice.
  • Understanding the customer
    • I Szmigin
    Szmigin, I., 2003. Understanding the customer. Sage Publications.
  • Accessing hidden and hard-to-reach populations: snowball research strategies. Social Research Update
    • Flint Atkinson
  • Survival of the fattest: e-tail's evolution
    • Blakely Blakely
  • Technology-enabled service delivery. International Journal of Service Industry Management. v13 i1
    • Walker
  • Planning the service encounter The Service Encounter: Managing Employee/Customer Interaction in Service Business
    • Shostack Shostack
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    Full-text available
    Firms must take full advantage of Net-based e-service opportunities, particularly in the transition of products to services, to garner long-term customer relationships and loyalty.
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    Full-text available
    Firms must take full advantage of Net-based e-service opportunities, particularly in the transition of products to services, to garner long-term customer relationships and loyalty.
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    Through the use of the critical incident technique one may collect specific and significant behavioral facts, providing "… a sound basis for making inferences as to requirements… " for measures of typical performance (criteria), measures of proficiency (standard samples), training, selection and classification, job design and purification, operating procedures, equipment design, motivation and leadership (attitudes), and counseling and psychotherapy. The development, fundamental principles, present status, and uses of the critical incident technique are discussed, along with a review of studies employing the technique and suggestions for further applications.
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    Full-text available
    As e-commerce grows, more attention must be paid to understanding how consumers shop in cyberspace and why they do what they do. A topic of interest to traditional, e-commerce, and hybrid businesses alike is why some consumers buy online and others don't. This paper describes a representative survey of 607 undergraduates at a large U.S. university, which asked them to report their attitudes toward the university bookstore and toward buying online, as well as their actual behaviors. The results showed that, compared with 439 non-buyers, the 168 students who had purchased online believe the internet is easy, quick, and safe to use. Further, buyers are confident that orders will be filled accurately and promptly, they feel online companies have good return policies, and that in general the Internet offers better value than the bricks-and-mortar alternative.
  • Article
    Analyzing data gathered by qualitative means-audio taped interviews, video taped focus groups, researcher field notes, and others-can be an overwhelming task. There are no established formulae for transforming the data into findings. The challenge of the process is to make sense of massive quantities of data. The process involves sifting through the data, filtering out the significant information, identifying patterns, and constructing a framework for communicating the essence of what is revealed. That process can be assisted by the use of computer software to facilitate the storage, coding, retrieval, comparison, and linking of that data. Software can ease the laborious task which would otherwise be performed manually. NVivo by Qualitative Solutions and Research Pty. Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia is one of the software packages designed for this purpose. The presenters discussed the use of NVivo in analyzing qualitative data collected in a research study.
  • Eliciting Hierarchical Knowledge Struc-tures: Laddering
    • G Rugg
    • P Mcgeorge
    Rugg, G., McGeorge, P., 2002. Eliciting Hierarchical Knowledge Struc-tures: Laddering. In: Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, vol. 71, supplement 34 Marcel Dekker Inc, New York, pp. 81–124.
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    Customer switching behavior damages market share and profitability of service firms yet has remained virtually unexplored in the marketing literature. The author reports results of a critical incident study conducted among more than 500 service customers. The research identifies more than 800 critical behaviors of service firms that caused customers to switch services. Customers' reasons for switching services were classified into eight general categories. The author then discusses implications for further model development and offers recommendations for managers of service firms.
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    A new literature is emerging around the role of self-service technologies (SSTs) such as airline ticketing machines, automatic teller machines, and computer-based shopping services in the strategic offering of service providers. SSTs allow (or force) consumers to help produce their own service encounters via machine interaction rather than by interacting with a firm’s service personnel. Firms which introduce SSTs wish to gain rapid acceptance and usage of these technologies by potential consumers. This study investigates whether the provision of more personal control to consumers can reduce their perceived risk, enhance the perceived value of the SST, and induce greater adoption intention associated with the innovation. Propositions are tested using an experiment. Multiple analysis of covariance and follow-up tests either fully or partially supported 11 out of 12 hypotheses. A set of managerial implications and recommendations is provided.
  • Article
    Technology-based self-service is growing at a tremendous rate all over the world, but a strong unifying theory to understand this form of service is lacking. Proposes a comprehensive conceptual framework that incorporates several well-known attitudinal theories to explain the pivotal role of attitudes in influencing intentions and behavior related to technology-based self-service. The framework makes it possible to understand and predict better consumer decisions related to using technology-based self-service by thoroughly examining underlying consumer attitudes. Uses the Internet to illustrate how our framework can be applied to study consumer behavior related to a specific technology-based self-service. Draws on insights from the extant literature on technology-based self-service and also incorporates the many unique characteristics of the Internet that have implications for theory. Discusses practical implications of our model for marketers and provides directions for future research on technology-based self-service in general and the Internet in particular. With its integrative approach to theory, also contributes to the attitudinal literature.
  • With the phenomenal growth of direct order marketing with the Internet and catalogs as alternative channels, customers increasingly face more choices of where to purchase goods and services. This paper develops a formal consumer model to explain channel switching behavior. Becker’s theory of time allocation is expanded to consumer decision making between distribution channels. The final model suggests that consumers face a tradeoff when deciding where to buy goods and services. From this tradeoff an indifference curve is developed where the consumer chooses between alternative distribution channels on the basis of the relative opportunity costs of time, costs of goods, pleasure derived from shopping, perceived value of goods, and relative risk of each channel. Strategies for direct and multi-channel marketers are developed using this model.
  • A major trend in US retailing is the increasingly diverse array of retail formats available to consumers. Owing to the emergence of new retail formats, competition between retailers of all types is heightening. Uses data from two consumer studies, to illustrate the pervasiveness and complexity of consumer cross-shopping patterns across various retail channels. Addresses the implications of this retail trend in terms of channel competition and competitiveness in the US market.
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    With channels of distribution changing rapidly and multi-channeling becoming increasingly widespread, studies of consumers will need to focus not just on understanding product choice, but also on understanding the reasons for channel choice. Although the choice of individual channels and the adoption of new channels has been researched, there is little to suggest that we have a more general understanding of why consumers, although purchasing essentially similar products, use some channels rather than others. Using the example of financial services, where multi-channeling has been the norm for some time, this paper reports on an exploratory study to identify those factors which influence channel choice. Based on the results of focus group discussions, the paper argues that channel choice in financial service can usefully be conceptualised as being determined by consumer, product channel and organisational characteristics, with product-channel interactions and consumer-channel interactions being particularly important.
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    Observes that traditional retail, catalog, and online-only businesses face a critical decision – to accept a new, yet unrefined business model that includes multiple channels or to retain their single channel model and risk becoming obsolete and left behind by new, multi-channel competitors. The decision process and implementation of a multi-channel strategy could be simplified if businesses understood what drives consumers to a single channel, multiple channels, and which channels are preferred. Outlines the key issues facing multi-channel marketers, and encourages multi-channel businesses to take a customer-centric view rather than a channel focused view to work through the challenges unique to the multi-channel marketer. A model of multi-channel buyer behavior is proposed to help the multi-channel marketer develop a customer-centric view. Presents a series of propositions which serve to encourage and direct future research in this area.
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    The service encounter is a central construct in services marketing theory. Conventionally the service encounter has been presented as a dyadic process of interaction between the consumer and the service provider. The paper argues that within an increasingly information and communication rich environment such a conceptualisation is no longer valid. Rather it is necessary to set the service encounter within a broader network of interactions with other service providers and consumers in which the consumer may engage while utilising a given service. Such parallel consumer interactions increasingly occur within the virtual environment of the Internet. The emergence of these "virtual parallel service encounters" has significant implications for the management of the primary service encounter and the marketing of professional services more generally
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    The objective of this work is to demonstrate the capabilities of a two-axes, three-dimensional particle image velocimetry (PIV) system for future use as a large-scale wind tunnel research tool. A two-axes PIV system provides the capability for camera placement virtually anywhere within three-dimensional space relative to the laser sheet plane of measurement. The Scheimpflug focusing method is applied in two orthogonal axes to achieve off-axis focusing. The two-axes, three-dimensional PIV system uses off-axis stereoscopic viewing to determine two perspective measurements of a three-dimensional velocity field within the laser sheet. A unique calibration procedure is used to determine the optical parameters that describe the position of the camera systems and which are necessary to perform the three-dimensional reconstruction of the displacements. This paper presents the calibration procedure as well as a method for reconstructing the three-dimensional particle displacements for this two-axes, three-dimensional PIV system. This two-axes, three-dimensional PIV system was demonstrated by measuring three-dimensional displacements of a target. Maximum instantaneous errors are estimated as 2% or less for all velocity components. These error estimates are for instantaneous displacements and include all error sources. The two-axes, three-dimensional PIV system was also used to make measurements of the freestream velocity within a wind tunnel. The out-of-plane freestream component of velocity measured by the PIV system differed from the expected value by less than 1.1{%}.
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    This research explores whether earlier findings on the economics of consumer information search still hold in the digital age. Through an Internet-based survey conducted with automobile shoppers and purchasers, we examine how individuals differ in the use of the Internet and in the patterns of substitution they exhibit across sources and media. Survey results show that basic economics continues to drive information search in general, measured in terms of amount (time) and breadth (number of sources). However, analysis of consumers' information search behavior suggests that an additional dimension of search—whether the source is offline or online—needs to be added to the traditional two dimensions of impersonal/personal and independent/seller-dominated sources. We also analyze trends in the use of the Internet as an information source based on recency of respondents' shopping experiences.
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    This article is the fifth installment of our series of articles on survey research. In it, we discuss what we mean by a population and a sample and the implications of each for survey research. We provide examples of correct and incorrect sampling techniques used in software engineering surveys.
  • Article
    The explosion of new technologies is revolutionizing the retail environment. Yet, not all consumers choose to use the new technologies nor do all consumers see these changes as improvements. In this research, we explore usage patterns and benefits of using self-service technologies (SSTs) based on a sample of 823 consumers. We also assess the influence of individual characteristics, specifically technology anxiety (TA) and particular demographics, on SST usage patterns and satisfaction levels. The findings indicate that respondents with higher levels of TA use fewer SSTs and that TA is a better, more consistent predictor of SST usage than are demographic variables. In addition, TA was found to influence overall levels of satisfaction, intentions to use the SST again and the likelihood of participating in positive word-of-mouth for those consumers who had an initially satisfying experience.
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    Internet shopping has become the fastest-growing use of the Internet; most online consumers, however, use information gathered online to make purchases off-line. A number of authors have attributed consumers' reluctance to purchase online to apparent barriers; however, such barriers have not been examined within a theoretical context. This study examined the nature of perceived risks associated with Internet shopping and the relationship between types of risk perceived by Internet shoppers and their online patronage behaviors within a perceived risk theoretical framework. The research examined four types of perceived risk that were of concern to Internet shoppers and browsers — financial, product performance, psychological, and time/convenience loss risk, the relationship between the types of risk perceived and selected demographics, and the effect of perceived risks on Internet patronage behaviors. Findings suggest that perceived risk is a useful context to explain barriers to online shopping. A model for examining Internet patronage behavior from a perceived risk framework is proposed; management implications and propositions for future research are also presented.
  • Article
    This paper integrates extant literature on retailing and consumer choice to develop an economic model of consumer choice in which a consumer self-selects between on-line and in-store shopping. Two important factors impacting consumer choice between on-line versus in-store shopping are identified: (1) the retail context utility and (2) the consumers' perceived product and service risks. Our model postulates that consumers derive utility from the shopping experience and are more likely to shop on-line for products/services that are low in purchase risks. They are also more likely to shop on-line for products with well-known brands than lesser-known ones. However, they are less likely to shop on-line from lesser-known retailers who carry well-known brands than from reputable retailers, even if the latter carry lesser-known brands. Empirical verification of the model is carried out using an experimental design setting and the results gave support to the postulations based on our theoretical model. Strategic implications for in-store and on-line retailers are discussed.
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    Web stores, where buyers place orders over the Internet, have emerged to become a prevalent sales channel. In this research, we developed neural network models, which are known for their capability of modeling noncompensatory decision processes, to predict and explain consumer choice between web and traditional stores. We conducted an empirical survey for the study. Specifically, in the survey, the purchases of six distinct products from web stores were contrasted with the corresponding purchases from traditional stores. The respondents' perceived attribute performance was then used to predict the customers' channel choice between web and traditional stores. We have provided statistical evidence that neural networks significantly outperform logistic regression models for most of the surveyed products in terms of the predicting power. To gain more insights from the models, we have identified the factors that have significant impact on customers' channel attitude through sensitivity analyses on the neural networks. The results indicate that the influential factors are different across product categories. The findings of the study offer a number of implications for channel management.
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    This paper develops an economic model that captures consumer shopping channel choices based on shopping channel characteristics and consumer risk profiles—risk-neutral or risk-averse. Analyses of results show that after making purchases through one channel, electronic or traditional, risk-averse consumers tend to be more loyal customers than risk-neutral consumers. Further, the two types of consumers may exhibit split channel behavior—risk-neutral consumers prefer one channel and risk-averse consumers prefer the other. However, risk-neutral consumers are not always more likely to prefer electronic channel than risk-averse consumers. Implications for retailer pricing strategies are discussed.
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    Full-text available
    Given the lack of unequivocal findings on person-career fit, this investigation aims to gain insight into the role of cognitive styles in understanding students’ career preferences by two complementary studies. In study 1, we examined whether students (n = 84) with different cognitive styles differ in their entrepreneurial attitudes. Results showed a strong positive correlation between the creating style and the overall occupational status choice index, which implies a preference to become self-employed. No significant correlations were found between this index and the knowing and the planning style respectively. A more detailed look at the occupational status choice sub-indexes showed a positive correlation for the knowing style with the ‘economic opportunity’ index, for the planning style with ‘security’ and ‘participation in the whole process’, and for the creating style with ‘career’, ‘challenge’, ‘economic opportunity’, ‘autonomy’, ‘authority’, and ‘self-realisation’. No significant differences in overall occupational status choice were found in terms of gender, degree option, or family background in entrepreneurship. Study 2 focused on the link between students’ career anchors and their cognitive styles and personality profile (n = 275). We found for the knowing style a positive correlation with ‘pure challenge’, for the planning style a positive correlation with ‘lifestyle’ and ‘security/stability’ and a negative one with ‘autonomy/independence’, and for the creating style a positive correlation with ‘entrepreneurial creativity’ and ‘pure challenge’ and a negative one with ‘security/stability’. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that cognitive styles and personality traits could predict people’s career anchors to a certain extent. These findings are particularly relevant for career counselling services of higher education institutions and for selection and recruitment policies of organ
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    Driven by technological developments, deregulation, and globalisation the service sector in post-industrial economies is facing unprecedented change. Utilising a scenario planning framework, the paper examines the impact of such changes on a cross-section of service categories. Acknowledging that the derivation of generic sector wide trends from the analysis of discrete service categories runs the risk of over simplification, three core trends were identified: the increasing importance of technological mediation; changing consumer and professional roles; and decreasing importance of relational factors in consumer decision making. These trends pose fundamental challenges to service providers and offer researchers a rich context in which to advance marketing theory.
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    Through the use of the critical incident technique one may collect specific and significant behavioral facts, providing " a sound basis for making inferences as to requirements " for measures of typical performance (criteria), measures of proficiency (standard samples), training, selection and classification, job design and purification, operating procedures, equipment design, motivation and leadership (attitudes), and counseling and psychotherapy. The development, fundamental principles, present status, and uses of the critical incident technique are discussed, along with a review of studies employing the technique and suggestions for further applications. 74-item bibliography.
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    With the penetration rate of the web approaching 70 percent, profiles of general web usage are less important. Web marketers must begin to focus on the profile of heavy web users and users by type of web usage. This article develops a demographic and lifestyle profile of heavy web users (those using the web for 20 hours a week or more) based on a survey of over 5,000 respondents. It also identifies six key web usage categories Web Generalists, Downloaders, Self-Improvers, Entertainment Seekers, Stock Traders, and Socializers and develops a profile of each.This may be the first study providing a detailed demographic and lifestyle description of both heavy users and web usage types. The profiles should be useful to web marketers for selecting media and setting the tone of their marketing effort in targeting these groups.The author would like to thank Dr. Joseph Plummer, executive vice president for research and insight development at McCann-Erickson for contributing the data for this article, as well as Susan Nathan and Karen Ring at McCann for their help in making the data accessible. He would also like to thank Caresse Sakagawa, his research assistant at the Stern School, for conducting the analyses in the article.
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    There is a need to understand the impact of technology fail- ures on work. In the studies reported here, subjects' plans at the start of each day were compared with their eventual accomplishments, and failures to carry out plans were investigated. A number of sources of disruption were identified; they included technology failures, which had a particular tendency to act as "agenda benders," preventing the completion of important activities. KEYWORDS: Diary studies, productivity, usability, technology failures. INTRODUCTION Working life is full of unexpected events, and as computer systems become more complex and pervasive, unexpected system failures have a tendency to become more common. Little is known or published about the impact of these failures except in the catastrophic cases that come to public attention [1]. Minor failures occur too, and appear likely to cause a loss of productivity that is difficult to measure. In an attempt to shed light on this issue we have conducted t...