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The role of intimacy in service relationships: an exploration

Beetles, Andrea Clare and Harris, Lloyd Cameron 2010. The role of intimacy in service relationships: an exploration. Journal of Services Marketing 24 (5) , pp. 347-358. 10.1108/08876041011060459

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Purpose – Relationship marketing is now commonly acknowledged as an alternative marketing paradigm. However, despite the use of the relationship metaphor in marketing contexts for many years, recently there have been criticisms of this cross-fertilization of theory into consumer marketing contexts. The objectives of this paper are twofold. First, it attempts to explore and elucidate how consumers' assessments of the extent of intimacy between themselves and their service providers affect their interpretation of relational ties. A second aim is that it will generate insights into consumer attitudes towards relationship marketing. Design/methodology/approach – Taking an exploratory approach and using qualitative methods to allow for depth of research, this paper uses 30 semi-structured interviews with consumers to investigate the role of intimacy in service relationships. Findings – The findings reveal five forms of intimacy; no relationship, social intimacy, physical intimacy, emotional/psychological intimacy and sexual intimacy. Research limitations/implications – This is a qualitative study, now that some insight of the relevance of intimacy in relationship marketing has been gained, testing a model of the framework using quantitative analysis in order to make wider assertions would be beneficial. Practical implications – This paper demonstrates that organizations need to be able to facilitate multiple approaches to customers. They need to be able to allow customers to engage with them, should the customers wish to do so but also allow the customers to opt out of relational interactions. Originality/value – Scant research has explored the role of intimacy in service relationships; this study addresses that gap in the literature.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Uncontrolled Keywords: Customer orientation ; Relationship marketing ; Services marketing
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0887-6045
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2020 05:38

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