chapter  1
20 Pages

Defining encounter theory

This chapter introduces the attribution theory and proposes its appropriateness as a model to examine the customer-provider relationship and the interactions necessary to achieve a mutually satisfactory experience. The channels of interaction take place through the use of verbal and nonverbal (gestural) expressions of communication in real time. The process of exchange takes place not only between the actors – the customer and service provider – but also within each actor as they weigh and imagine different outcomes. This exchange is a kind of test case to be played out later in real time. Thus the relationship between persons stays in flux as information on expectations is shared. The second part of the chapter describes the importance of the social situations and identifies those observable attributes which help define the inter-subjective act.