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Type: Thesis
Title: Actor engagement with service providers
Author: Sim, Max MD
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: Adelaide Business School
Abstract: Actor engagement has received significant scholarly and practitioner attention in recent years due to its anticipated outcomes and relevance for organisational success. Yet, despite significant interest in the concept, several theoretical gaps remain. Particularly, the literature has largely overlooked actor engagement with focal objects beyond the brand. Similarly, extant discourse lacks a comprehensive understanding of how actors engage differently. Thus, to better understand the nuances and intricacies of actor engagement beyond the existing focus of brands, and to discover how actors engage differently, this thesis centres on actor engagement with a service provider and delves into actor dispositions to engage. The service provider was chosen as a focal object due to their critical role in service organisations and the paucity of research specifically focused on service providers in an engagement context. The importance of service providers is well recognised, given that the success of service organisations largely depends upon their performance. Yet, engagement scholars have given scant attention to these crucial focal objects in the examination of the engagement concept. To address these knowledge gaps, this research presents three distinct but interrelated papers. The first paper examines actor engagement with service providers within a service system and extends the focus of engagement to multiple engagement foci. Specifically, the paper investigates how the individual dimensions of engagement with a service provider and brand combine to lead to engagement with the broader context. In brief, this paper contributes to an increased understanding of the integrated nature of engagement with a range of focal objects across different levels within a service system. The results suggest that engagement with the service provider facilitates engagement with other focal objects, which further validates the importance of examining actor engagement with service providers across the subsequent two papers. Paper two explores the factors that constitute an actor’s disposition to engage and responds to calls by numerous scholars to shed light on the nature of engagement dispositions. The findings of a series of in-depth interviews reveal three dimensions of engagement dispositions, namely individual actor traits, context-related actor characteristics, and focal object-related actor characteristics, with each dimension consisting of a unique make up of attributes. In total, 14 attributes were identified as constituents of an actor’s disposition to engage with a service provider. This paper contributes to the engagement literature by being the first to empirically consider what constitutes an actor’s disposition to engage and provides a conceptual framework that depicts the impact of engagement dispositions on actor engagement activities. Building on these insights, the third paper employs a survey methodology to empirically examine the impact of engagement dispositions on actor engagement activities. Specifically, it investigates the direct effects of individual attributes on affective, behavioural and cognitive engagement with the service provider. The findings illustrate that the dimensions of engagement dispositions and their constituent attributes have varied impacts on the dimensions of engagement. In particular, actor characteristics related to the focal object and context emerged as relevant for engagement activity, whereas no significant associations between individual actor traits and engagement activity were found. This provides insights into how each actor engages in a unique way. In summary, this research offers unique and meaningful theoretical and practical implications by emphasising the importance of the service provider as a focal object of engagement, providing a framework to consider an actor’s engagement disposition, as well as an understanding of the impact of engagement dispositions on specific engagement activities.
Advisor: Plewa, Carolin
Conduit, Jodie
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Adelaide Business School, 2019
Keywords: Actor engagement
service provider
engagement dispositions
actor charactoristics
complex services
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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