Disciplining customers at the Grand Seaside Hotel

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Journal Article
Journal of Management and Organization, 2002, 8 (2), pp. 1 - 13
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The Grand Seaside Hotel is a large five-star hotel in an Australian Coastal town. It is a place that not only aspires to provide excellent service but that also seeks to reconcile two apparently divergent demands: the need for customized service and the efficient management of business operations. To commit staff to the provision of service excellence, management has introduced a customer service programme that relies on various forms of training and rewards, as well as a guest response system. The customer service programme, particularly the use of guest questionnaires, appear as disciplinary strategies that aim to produce service encounters in which both staff and guests are 'normalized'. The main loci of ethnographic data collection for this paper are regular Management Briefings. Through data collected from these, the paper investigates the use of the 'imaginary' in constituting service encounters and guest expectations. It interprets these in terms of Foucault's Panoptic analysis to identify the immanent mechanisms of discipline in these customer service programmes.
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