Emergence of the High Reliability Service Organization

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Digitalization and online trends have led to an increased market transparency across much of the service sector. Online marketplaces, review sites, and social media platforms have made it easy for customers to share perceived service errors with large audiences, instantly and in a way that the service provider cannot control. Based on the study of eight firms in different parts of the service sector, we speculate that we are seeing the emergence of what we tentatively term the high reliability service organization (HRSO). By exploring how service company executives perceive modern service and cope with errors and unexpected events in a digitalized and transparent world, we identify links between the way these executives try to organize their firms to deliver customer satisfaction, and the way scholars typically describe HROs in non-service contexts. We identify six themes pointing out organizational tendencies in service organizations showing similarities to HROs as well as some indications that further research might find HRO concepts in use in frontline service. We provide suggestions for further research that could open a new path for studying the emerging phenomenon of organizing for high reliability in the service sector.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event79th annual meeting of the Academy of Management Annual Meeting : Understanding the Inclusive Organization. - Boston , United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019
Conference number: 79


Conference79th annual meeting of the Academy of Management Annual Meeting
CountryUnited States

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