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World class computing and information science research at Strathclyde...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Lingua franca

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

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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.