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Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the Department of Computer & Information Sciences, including those researching information retrieval, information behaviour, user behaviour and ubiquitous computing.

The Department of Computer & Information Sciences hosts The Mobiquitous Lab, which investigates user behaviour on mobile devices and emerging ubiquitous computing paradigms. The Strathclyde iSchool Research Group specialises in understanding how people search for information and explores interactive search tools that support their information seeking and retrieval tasks, this also includes research into information behaviour and engagement.

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Service nepotism in the marketplace

Rosenbaum, Mark S. and Walsh, Gianfranco (2012) Service nepotism in the marketplace. British Journal of Management, 23 (2). pp. 241-256. ISSN 1045-3172

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Abstract

This study represents the first empirical examination of a neglected phenomenon – namely, service nepotism. We propose a framework that explains a process in which customers cue service providers of potential shared commonalities, such as sexual orientation and ethnicity, in service settings in which they also represent distinct, alienated or marginalized minorities. By drawing on qualitative evidence from American gay men and ethnic Turks residing in Germany, this research proposes that customers may signal commonalities to like employees by deploying similarity-to-self cues or group markers during exchanges. Driven by ethnocentric ‘tribal’ biases, employees may respond to these cues by providing like customers with relational resources, such as upgrades, monetary discounts and enhanced service quality. We explain how these relational resources influence customers' behaviours and discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of our findings.