Servicescape: Natural Environment and Physical Surroundings

Managers continually plan, build, change, and control an organization’s physical surroundings, but frequently the impact of a specific design or design change on ultimate users of the facility is not fully understood. The ability of the physical environment to influence behaviors ND to create an image is particularly apparent for service businesses such as hotels, restaurants, professional offices, banks, retail stores, and hospitals. Be THE Joy is Professor Marketing of Arizona Instate Mary Bitter Assistant The the of Interstate Center varsity.

Author acknowledges support thefts overprices Arizona University, conducting restate in the Marketing, search. Extensive The assistance Michael enthronements of Hut of Lawrence Beth and are Brown, Walker, Snakelike Crosby, Stephen as of ungratefully acknowledged,aerate helpful suggestions three JAM humus reviewers.

Cause the service generally is produced and consumed simultaneously, the consumer is “in the factory,” often experiencing the total service within the firm’s physical facility. The factory (or the place where the service is produced) cannot be hidden and may in fact have a strong impact on customers’ perceptions of the service experience.

Even before purchase, consumers commonly look for cues about the firm’s capabilities and quality. The physical environment is rich In such cues and may be very influential in communicating the firm’s image and purpose to its customers. Research suggests that the physical setting may also influence the customer’s ultimate satisfaction with the service.

Interestingly, in service organizations the same physical setting that communicates with and influences customers may affect employees of the firm.

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Research in organizational behavior suggests that the physical setting can influence employee satisfaction, productivity, and titivation. The customer is left out of that research stream, however, just as Journal of Marketing Volvo. 6  the employee typically is ignored in the limited tenderheartedness’s marketing. Performable,in the Implementation’s, music tempo was varied and the effect on a variety of consumer behaviors measured;however, the effects on employee satisfaction and productivity were not explored. Because services generally are purchased sanctimoniousness’s,and typically requirement humanistic, customers employees interacting each other within the irreconcilability’s facility.

Ideally, therefore, the organization’s environment should supported needs and preferences both service employees and customers simultaneously. The purpose of this article to take a first step toward intergenerational and imperialistically from diversedisciplinesinto a framework describes that the built environment (I. E. , the manmade, physical surroundings opposed to the natural social environment), or what is referred here as the “serviceable,” affects both consumers employees in service organizations. First, a typology of service organizations is presented that illuminates important variations form and usage of the serviceable. Next, in a conceptual frameworks offered for explaining environment-user relationships service organizations, and specific researchpropositionsare advanced. The frameworks anchored the environmentalpsychology research traditional also draws together relevant literature marketingorganizationalbehavior, humanists/ergonomics, and architecture.

Finally, the linkages between the service organizationtypology and the framework examined, and key managerial and researchimplicationsare discussed. A Typology of Serviceable “The way the physical setting is created in organizations has barely been tapped as a tangible organizational resource” (Becker 1 981, p. 130). Management of the physical setting typically is viewed as tangential in comparison with other organizational variables that can motivate employees, such as pay scales, promotions, benefits, and supervisory relationships. Similarly, on the consumer side, variables such as pricing, advertising,added treasures, and special promotions are given much more attention than the physical setting as ways in which customers can be attracted and/or satisfied by a firm’s services.

A clear implication’s model presenters is that the physical setting can aid or hindered accomplishment of both antidisestablishmentarianism and external marketing’s. As is true Of any organizational Americanization able, the importance physical setting depends on the nature the job and the nature the consume- Weatherpersons, employees, or both are present within the serviceable also determines types of objectives firm mightiest to accomplish wrought use of its physical environment. In self-service settings, the creative use of physical design could support particular positioning Congregationalist’s and enhance specific marketing objectives, such as customer satisfaction and attraction.

At the other extreme, for remote services, organizationalobjectives such as employee satisfaction, motivation, and operational efficiency could be the primordially in physical setting design, because few southernwood ever see or experience the firm’s physical setting. For internationalism’s, both organizational marketing objectives could potentially be targeted through careful design of the serviceable. Even marketing goals such as relationshipbuilding could be influenced by the design of the physical setting.

The harmoniousness’s of Figure 1 captures complexity of the serviceable. Some service environments are very simple, with few elements, few spaces, and few forms. They are termed “lean” en- between and among customers and employees. Zion experience. The position advancers is that the are, in general, more important physical surroundings in service settings because customers as ell as employees often experience firm’s facility. However, not all service firms and industries alike (Lovelace 1983; Senescence 1986), nor do they face the same strategic issues in planning and designing their serviceable.

Figure 1 is a typology categorizing service organizations two dimensional experimentation differences in the management of the serviceable. Firms that share a cell within the matrix face similar issues related the design of their physical spaces. The vertical dimension relates to who is performing actions within the serviceable;the customer, or the employee, or both. One extreme is represented by the “self-service” organization in which few if any employees are present and the level of customer activity is high.

At the tiresomeness the “remonstrative” where there is little or no extemporaneousness in the serviceable and sometimes even little employee involvement, such as in fully automatedvoicemessaging services. Note from Figure 1 that “internationalism’s” are positioned between the two extremes. In those organizations, both customers and employees are present and personifications within the serviceable. The relative level of involvement customers and employees determines whose deeds should be consulted in the design of the environment.

Splash ATM Ticketing Post office kiosk Movie theater Express mail dropped Dry cleaner Hot dog stand Hair salon Interpersonal services (both customer and employee) Hotels Restaurants Health clinic Hospital Bank Airline School Telephone company Insurance company Utility Many professional services Remote service (employee only) Telephone mail order desk Automated voice-messaging-based services firmaments. Ticketing outlets and Federal Express dropped kiosks would qualify as lean environments, as both provide service from one simple structure.

For lean serviceable, design decisions are relatively draughtswoman, especially in self-service or remote service situations in which there is no interaction between customers and employees. Other serviceable are very complicated, with many elements and many forms. They are termed “elaborate”environments. An example is a hospital with its many floors, rooms, sophisticated equipment, and complex variability in functions performed within the physical facility.

In such an elaborate environment, the full range of marketing and organizational objectives theoretically can be approached through careful management of the serviceable. For example, a patient’s hospital room can be designed to enhance patient comfort and satisfaction while simultaneously facilitating employee productivity. Figure 1 suggests that firms such as hospitals that are positioned in the elaborate interpersonal service cell face the most complex serviceable decisions. By both customers and employees and that both groups may respond cognitively, emotionally, and physiologically to the environment.

Those internal responses to the environment influence the behavior Of individual customers and employees in the serviceable and affect social interactions between and among customers and employees. Though the model shares similarities with other models (e. . , Meridian and Russell 1974), it is unique in its breadth of synthesis (for example, Meridian and Russell focus on emotional responses only), the incorporation of both customers and employees and their interactions, and its application to commercial settings. In the following sections, each of the components of the framework is defined and developed.

Attention centers first on the behaviors that may be influenced by the serviceable and then on the internal responses and the controllable dimensions that constitute the serviceable. Propositions based on the framework are highlighted, and implications for firms within specific ells of the service typology are discussed. Conceptual Framework Though the typology in Figure 1 highlights the relative complexity of environmental decisions across different types of service organizations, it does not explain what behaviors are influenced, or why, or how one would go about planning and designing an environment to achieve particular objectives.

Figure 2 is a rich framework for addressing those questions and for exploring the role of physical environment in service organizations. The framework suggests that a variety of objective environmental factors are perceived Behaviors in the Serviceable That human behavior is influenced by the physical setting in which it occurs is essentially a truism. Interestingly, however, until the 1 sass psychologists largely ignored the effects of physical setting in their attempts to predict and explain behavior.

The types of behaviors that are influenced are identified and discussed next. Individual Behaviors Environmental psychologists suggest that individuals react to places with two general, and opposite, forms of behavior: approach and avoidance. Approach behaviors include all positive behaviors that might be directed at a particular place, such as desire to stay, explore, work, and affiliate. Avoidance breaches on the built environment is only one aspect of environmental psychology.

The field also encompasses the study of human beings and their relationships with the natural social environment. What distinguishes environmental psychology from other areas of inquiry is its concern “with the reciprocal and interactive influences that take place between the thinking and behavior of an organism and the environment surrounding that organism”. Heavier reflect the opposite, in other words, a desire not to stay, explore, work, and affiliate.

In a study of consumers in retail environments, Donovan and Roister (1982) found that approach behaviors in that setting (including hopping enjoyment, returning attraction and friendliness toward others, spending money, time spent browsing and exploration of the store) were influenced by perceptions of the environment. Mailman (1 982, 1 986) found that the tempo Of background music can affect traffic flow and gross receipts in both supermarket and restaurant settings. In actual service settings, examples of environmental cues being used to change behavior are abundant.

At one 7-11 store, the owners played “elevator music” to drive away a youthful market segment that was detracting from the store’s image. Cinnamon roll bakeries commonly pump the wonderful fragrance of their freshly baked products out into mall traffic areas to entice customers into the store. In addition to attracting or deterring entry’, the serviceable can actually influence the degree of success 60 / Journal Marketing, April 1 992 This content downloaded from 149. 171. 237. 87 on wed, 3 Par 2013 consumers experience in executing their plans once inside (Darrel and Gilbert 1 985; Russell and Snodgrass 1987).

Each individual comes to a particular service organization with a goal or purpose that may be aided or hindered by the setting. For example, assume that a traveler enters an airport and (1 ) is confused because he or she cannot find signage giving directions to the assigned gate and (2) is emotionally distressed because of crowds, poor acoustics, and high temperature. The traveler is unable to carry out the purpose for entering the environment, at least not very easily. Here the serviceable directly inn bits the accomplishment of the customer’s goal.

Similarly, physical surroundings and conditions could constrain an employee’s ability to do his or her work and thereby detract from the purpose for being in the serviceable. Clearly, firms want to encourage approach behaviors and the ability of customers and employees to carry out their plans while at the same time discouraging avoidance behaviors. As Figure 2 shows, the approach/avoidance behaviors of employees and customers are determined largely by individual internal responses (cognitive, emotional, and physiological) to the environment. The three types of internal responses are discussed in greater detail subsequently.

The basic assumption is that positive (negative) internal responses lead to approach (avoidance) behaviors. P,: Positive (negative) internal responses to the someplace lead to approach avoidance) behaviors.  For employees, approach includes such behaviors as affiliation, exploration, staying longer, expressions of commitment, and carrying out the purpose for being in the organization. Avoidance is represented by the opposite behaviors.  For customers, approach includes such behaviors as coming in, staying, spending money, loyalty, and carrying out the purpose for being in the organization.

Avoidance is represented by the opposite behaviors. Social Interactions In addition to its effects on their individual behaviors, the serviceable influences the nature and quality of customer and employee interactions, cost directly in interpersonal services. Bennett and Bennett (1970) state that “all social interaction is affected by the physical container in which it occurs. ” They go on to suggest that the physical container affects the nature of social interaction in terms of the duration of interaction and the actual progression of events.

In many service situations, a firm may want to ensure a particular progression of events (I. E. , a “standard script”) and limit the duration of the service. Forges (1979) suggests that environmental variables such as propinquity, seating arrangements, size, and flexibility can define the capabilities and limits of social episodes, such as those between and among customers and employees. He also suggests that physical environments represent a subset of social rules, conventions, and expectations in force in a given behavior setting, serving to define the nature of social interaction.

In developing the concept of behavior settings, Barker (1968) implies that recurring social behavior patterns are associated with particular physical settings and that when people encounter typical settings, their social behaviors can be predicted. Empirical studies confirm the impact of physical setting on the nature of social interaction. Behaviors such as small group interaction, friendship formation, participation, aggression, withdrawal, and helping have all been shown to be influenced by environmental conditions.

Similarly, in studies of workplace design, researchers have found that communication patterns, group cohesion, and the formation of friendships and small groups can be influenced by the physical setting. By implication, those findings suggest that the serviceable influences the nature of social interactions between and among customers and employees. Examples are again abundant in actual service settings. Even casual observation of a Club Med facility confirms that the highly complex setting is designed to encourage social interaction among and between guests and employees.

Seating arrangements and the food preparation process at Behindhand restaurants similarly encourage interactions among total strangers, as well as contact between patrons and the Japanese chef who prepares their meals in full view. In most airports, in contrast, research suggests that the arrangement of seating typical discourages comfortable conversation among travelers and their companion. One of the challenges in designing environments to enhance individual approach behaviors and encourage the appropriate social interactions is that optimal design for one person or group may not be the optimal design for others.

Research in a bank setting suggests, for example, that employees and customers have different needs and desires for their physical surroundings (Baker, Berry, and paranormal 1988). Similarly, an environment that is conducive to an employee’s individual work needs may not enhance the employee’s ability to converse and interact interpersonally with customers. UP: For interpersonal services, positive (negative) internal responses to the serviceable enhance (detract from) the nature and quality of social interactions between and among customers and employees.

UP: Optimal design for encouraging employee (customer) approach behavior may be incompatible with the design required to meet customer (employee) needs and/ or facilitate positive employee-customer interactions. Serviceable 61 / Service Topology and Behavior The research tradition in environmental psychology strongly suggests that the physical environment can influence behaviors in several ways. Therefore the first step in the purposeful design of the serviceable is to identify desirable customer and/or employee behaviors and the strategic goals that the organization hopes to advance through its physical facility.

For example, in designing their corporate headquarters offices, Scandinavian Airline Systems first identified particular goals that it wanted to achieve, among them teamwork and open and frequent communication among managers. The employee behaviors associated with those goals were identified and architects were commissioned to propose designs that would be conducive to he behaviors and ultimately support the strategic goals. The typology  provides a structure for isolating the relevant behavioral issues.

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Servicescape: Natural Environment and Physical Surroundings. (2018, Feb 19). Retrieved from

Servicescape: Natural Environment and Physical Surroundings
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