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The linguistic servicescape: speaking their language may not be enough

Touchstone, EE, Koslow, S, Shamdasani, PN and D'Alessandro, S ORCID: 0000-0001-7480-232X 2017 , 'The linguistic servicescape: speaking their language may not be enough' , The Journal of Business Research, vol. 72 , pp. 147-157 , doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.10.008.

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Abstract

This paper explores Hispanic immigrants' reactions to linguistic servicescapes in retail banking in SouthernCalifornia. This fertile area of enquiry combines the sociolinguistic theory of linguistic landscape with researchinto multilingual service encounters describing what happens in the retail servicescape before the serviceencounter which sets up expectations for what happens during the service encounter. This new term describesthe use of language in and around a service encounter including signage and promotional materials as well asbilingual personnel. In multilingual areas such as Southern California where the use of a minority language ispolitically charged, effective encoding of symbolic language by the service provider is crucial for the success ofa service encounter. The results of this study indicate that management's actual or perceived lack of sensitivityto appropriate linguistic symbols leads to both confusion and an attribution of discrimination towards thetargeted ethnic group—even if none were intended. What is written or said in the service encounter is important,but this research illustrates that the context is also significant. The wider symbolic use of language is key indetermining the success of service encounters.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Touchstone, EE and Koslow, S and Shamdasani, PN and D'Alessandro, S
Keywords: servicescape, linguistic landscape, language use in service encounters, banking, experiment, Hispanic consumers
Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Business Research
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
ISSN: 0148-2963
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.10.008
Copyright Information:

© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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