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Marketing/management: examining both the scope and management of customer-to-customer interaction in service organisations


   Worcester Business School

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  Dr R Nicholls  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully-funded, full-time, PhD studentship at the University of Worcester which will focus on customer-to-customer interaction (CCI) in service organisations.

The proposed project will examine both the scope and management of customer-to-customer interaction in one (or more) service organisations, through a case study, case studies, or other appropriate methodology.

Since Martin and Pranter’s (1989) seminal article there has been increasing realisation of the relevance of the interactions taking place between customers to the service experience, and of the need to effectively manage these interactions. The early 1990s saw a trickle of papers in this area (Arnould and Price 1993; Clark and Martin 1994; Harris, Baron and Ratcliffe 1995), but over the last couple of decades CCI has become increasingly mainstream within the field of services marketing. There is now a significant body of research into CCI (Nicholls 2010; Martin 2016). Research contributions can be divided into three types: models and frameworks which accommodate CCI; conceptual contributions and empirically-based studies. The majority of empirical studies have, however, adopted a consumer-perception perspective, and relatively little research has sought to gain insights into CCI based on an employee or managerial perspective.

Using qualitative research methods, this studentship will explore CCI occurring in a specific service industry in which CCI is considered intensive. In particular, the study will focus on how employees perceive, experience and manage CCI which occurs in their workplace. This may include CCI which is related to the social diversity of customers (Nicholls and Gad Mohsen 2015).

Some expected outcomes and contributions of the study include:
• Categorisation of types of CCI in the chosen industry
• Identification of the range of strategies employees use to manage CCI episodes
• The implications and contribution of CCI management to the organisation’s performance
• Recommendations for the service industry in terms of managing CCI

Applicants are invited to submit a proposal in this area.

This research is funded by the University of Worcester. The studentship will be based at the University of Worcester. The student will be expected to carry out their individual research study under the direction of Dr Richard Nicholls (Director of Studies, University of Worcester). The remainder of the supervisory team will be drawn from the Complex Customer Interactions Research Group depending on the specific design of the project.

Applicants should have a First or Upper Second (2.1) Honours Degree, or expect to receive one by October 2016. Education to Masters Degree level in a relevant subject area would be advantageous. A sound understanding of, and interest in services marketing/management is also essential. Excellent oral and written English are a must, as are a commitment and enthusiastic approach to completing a higher research degree.

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will receive a tax free bursary of £ 13863.00 per annum from the University of Worcester plus access to a research fund to support their research. Fees will be paid in full at the UK/EU rate for home and EU citizens. Overseas students are welcome to apply but will need to fund the balance of fees for Overseas Research Students (approx. £8000 per annum).
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