Picture of two heads

Open Access research that challenges the mind...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

Discover more...

Lingua franca

Harker, M.J. (2002) Lingua franca. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 1 (2). pp. 195-214. ISSN 1475-3928

Full text not available in this repository. (Request a copy from the Strathclyde author)

Abstract

After briefly reviewing the origins of Relationship Marketing, and highlighting the prevalence of studies taking a practitioner viewpoint, this paper justifies the benefits in adopting a customer perspective for further RM fieldwork. Acknowledging the low level of conceptual and theoretical development in RM, it argues in favour of the application of qualitative methods in general and focus groups in particular. The main body of the paper discusses customer-respondent usage of metaphor and anthropomorphisms, drawing on the data from 20 focus groups with customers of 10 prominent firms operating in the East Midlands region of the UK. The paper presents a typology of the metaphors used, and analyses customer anthropomorphism of the firm's gender, distinguishing features and most importantly, their analogies of its relationship to them. The paper concludes that the majority of the metaphors imply a customer perspective on relationships with firms as being confrontational and competitive, rather than mutually beneficial and finishes by discussing the implications of this and the customer perception of their relationships with firms for the academy and practitioners.