Drawing the line: how inspectors enact deviant behaviors

Abstract : Purpose: the article seeks to show frontline employee sensemaking in service encounters. The purpose is to reveal the processual nature of the dysfunctional behaviour category and to point out the dilemmas that organizations face when drawing the line between what is acceptable and what is not. Methodology: the article focuses on fare evasion management in urban bus transport, and more specifically on control interactions between ticket inspectors and passengers. Thanks to an ethnographic study of inspection work and to a dramaturgical approach to control interactions, the article accounts for the process of fraud enactment. Findings: the article gives insight into a specialized service related activity: frontline inspection. It shows how different types of fare evasion behaviours are identified, qualified and eventually enacted. In addition, it points out three types of dilemmas in deviant behaviour management: service / sanction; offense focused perspective / dysfunctional behaviour management perspective and control outcome effectiveness / control outcome visibility. Research limitations / implications: further research is needed to generalize the results. Moreover this original enactment perspective may not be restricted to service encounters, and future research work should address other aspects of the dysfunctional behaviour enactment process. Practical implications: Originality: the paper contributes to the theory of deviant client’s behaviours and brings a processual and social-constructive perspective.
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Jean-Baptiste Suquet. Drawing the line: how inspectors enact deviant behaviors. Journal of Services Marketing, Emerald, 2010, The dark side of customer service 24 (6), pp.468-475. ⟨hal-01133097⟩

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