n Journal of Contemporary Management - Managing the services encounter : the moment of truth

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1815-7440



The client assumes centre stage in managing the services encounter, both in terms of service expectations and the service experience itself, aspects that in practice are complex to manage as they entail a human dimension of subjectivity. The literature tends to adopt a more traditional recipe-based "scientific management" approach, while in practice it would appear that a complex adaptive systems (CAS) approach may be more effective in managing the services encounter. It is an approach that embodies a multidisciplinary systems perspective that focuses not only on the on-stage encounters but also on the backstage support systems that play a key role in ensuring client satisfaction. The research consequently adopts a multi-disciplinary review of the literature relating to the management of service encounters to gain an insight into the two contrasting approaches. An important finding that emerges from the research is that the service encounter is emergent in nature and thus extremely complex to manage in practice, while the back and front stage systemic integration and management appear to adopt a more contemporary management approach.

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