Customer Work Practices and the Productive Third Place

Mimoun, Laetitia and Gruen, Adele. 2021. Customer Work Practices and the Productive Third Place. Journal of Service Research, ISSN 1094-6705 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

Third places – communal or socializing places such as coffee shops – are confronted with a rising customer segment: customers who use them for work. Prior research is divided on this trend: customer-workers are seen either as a source of added value or a major threat to third places. Relying on a multi-method, qualitative study, we investigate the strategic implications of the rise of customer-workers in third places. We extend prior research by considering customer-workers as a new and valuable segment, with its specific motivations and practices. Building on the co-constitution of practices and places, we show that the rise of the customer- worker segment has fostered market differentiation. We identify four types of third places (archetypal, status quo, compromise, and productive) depending on their targeting strategy and their servicescape adaptation. We delineate how customer-workers transform third places’ value proposition and bring challenges to each type. Specifically, we show that status quo third places are most prone to customer conflicts while compromise third places generate managerial struggles. In contrast, productive third places adapt their servicescape to become work accelerators and a source of professional identity for customer-workers. We provide recommendations for managers to overcome conflicts and benefit from this growing customer base.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1177/10946705211014278

Keywords:

third place, productive third place, customer work, servicescape, market differentiation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies

Dates:

DateEvent
13 April 2021Accepted
13 May 2021Published Online

Item ID:

30014

Date Deposited:

05 May 2021 10:33

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 09:40

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/30014

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