Dramaturgical perspective[ edit ] Dramaturgical perspective is one of several sociological paradigms separated from other sociological theories because it does not examine the cause of human behavior but it analyzes the context.
Nearly 70 percent of the Gross National Product of the United States and other industrial nations can be traced to services Lovelockwhile up to three-quarters of those employed in some countries labor in service sector occupations Bateson Scholars and researchers have given significant attention to how the marketing of services differs from the marketing of goods Berry ; Sasser ; Zeithaml, Berry and Parasuraman ; etc.
One key characteristic that distinguishes services marketing is the simultaneity of production and consumption of the service product Bateson ; Berry ; Zeithaml, Berry and Parasuraman Services exist only in the time in which they are rendered and are living processes that cannot be disassembled Shostack and Kingman-Brundagep.
These various aspects of service delivery underscore the notion that services are complex, behavioral phenomena that can be quite difficult to understand or describe.
A review of the services marketing literature compiled by Fisk, Tansuhaj and Crosby reveals that less than fifteen percent of the total service literature to attempts to conceptualize the service experience. In short, conceptual frameworks are needed Bowen ; Upah, Berry and Shostack ; Lovelock that demonstrate common characteristics of services, capture the processual nature of services, and address the "descriptive language problems" Shostack plaguing the services literature.
In an effort to satisfy this need for conceptual frameworks, the discussion that follows posits a general framework for services marketing based upon the metaphor of behavior as drama.
The underpinnings of the drama metaphor are presented, along with several key concepts that it offers for the description of services marketing.
The service experience as theater is further developed and implications ensuing from the framework are given. Finally, some research issues are examined and concluding comments are given. As such, it is particularly relevant as a means to describe service encounters.
As a sociological school of thought born from the symbolic interactionist paradigm, the behavior as drama metaphor has generated wide attention. Perinbanayagam,have contributed much to the development of the dramaturgical perspective. Underlying their observations is the tacit understanding that people are symbol users who interact with each other based upon the meanings they assign to the sundry elements present at any behavioral setting.
Dramaturgy, then, is greatly concerned with the broad issue of communication, both discursive speech and language and nondiscursive gestures, clothing, and other objectsand the connection between the two Brissett and Edgley Definitions of reality emerge as action occurs and those present strive to make sense of behavior situations.
Social reality, then, is not simply like drama, it is drama in so far as it a discourse involving articulation, definition and interaction Perinbanayagamp. The application of the drama metaphor to behavior is probably best represented in the scholarly efforts of Goffman,and most readily in his work, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.
Goffman describes social behavior as theatrical "performances" in which "actors" present themselves and their actions in such a manner as to fashion desired "impressions" before an "audience.
Here critical aspects of actors' presentations are planned and practiced to arrive at a general coherence among the dramaturgical elements necessary to staging a believable performance.
Through it all, however, is the realization that performances are fragile processes that are easily undermined by the most minor of mishaps.
The role of the audience in developing and maintaining a definition of an interactive situation cannot be ignored. The audience's evolving expectations and continuous communication verbal and nonverbal of its responses to a performance as it unfolds provide the actors with needed information to guide their behavior toward a desired outcome.
While the meanings and interpretations that an audience assigns to a behavioral encounter may be partially a function of previous learning, their validation occurs during or following the interaction. In other words, meanings are not absolute or static characteristics of the world, but are the result of a continuous social process Burke Further, it is important to note that this negotiation of a definition of the situation occurs, whether or not it is by design, since all behavior is ostensibly expressive in nature Zicklin The metaphor that behavior is drama and the various principles that it engenders provide a framework for describing, understanding, and communicating about services experiences.
Based upon the metaphor and, to a significant degree, some of Goffman's observations, we develop a view of services experiences that unifies and extends beyond much of the extant services principles.
In essence, our contention is that services themselves are drama and may be understood as theatrical performances. Both are concerned with the tactics and strategies employed by people to create and sustain desirable impressions before an audience. Both, also, suggest that one way to achieve this is by careful and prudent management of the actors' expressive behavior and the physical setting in which it occurs.
Reflecting observations of services scholars, Goffman notes that in their performance " Clearly, Goffman recognized that services issues are resplendent with dramatic character.
Many of the drama concepts and principles may be used to capture the service experience. Their appearance and their actions are central to the audience's service experience.
Consequently, just as theatrical performers must commit themselves to a plethora of considerations to stage a believable performance, the service "actors" must subscribe to a variety of concerns to foster a desired impression before their audience.
Among these are the actors' manner and appearance, their "personal front" in Goffman's terminologytheir ability to enact their service role properly, and their overall dedication to the service performance.
The actors' skill may be reflected in their knowledge, courtesy, competence and communication abilities, each of which represents an aspect of service quality Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry Diligence in learning and performing one's service roles contributes quality to the consuming audience's overall impression of service excellence Shostack ; Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry The various dimension of the actors' service performance are most critical in service encounters that rely on a high degree of personal contact with the customer, such as restaurants, hospitals, cruises, etc.
Among these industries there exists the opportunity to create a competitive advantage through service actors, a notion discussed by Berry, Parasuraman, and Zeithaml as the "people factor. The audience plays a critical role in the determination of a service production across many diverse services.
In many services, the audience customer must be present for the service to occur e. This is a circumstance recognized by services scholars as inseparability of production and consumption Berry ; Lovelock; Shostack Erving Goffman Dramaturgical Analysis Face Work Stigma Well known Sociologist who was a student of Herbert Blumer.
Not a Symbolic Interactionist.
Wrote, amongst other works, Presentation of Everyday Life, Asylums, and. Erving Goffman Dramaturgical Analysis Face Work Stigma Well known Sociologist who was a student of Herbert Blumer.
Not a Symbolic Interactionist. Wrote, amongst other works, Presentation of Everyday Life, Asylums, and. Advances in Consumer Research Volume 19, Pages THE SERVICE EXPERIENCE AS THEATER.
Stephen J. Grove, Clemson University. Raymond P. Fisk, University of Central Florida. INTRODUCTION. The increased interest in services marketing during the past decade reflects a growing appreciation of the role services play in the economies of the United States and the world.
Dramaturgical Analysis Erving Goffman suggested that day-to-day interactions have much in common with being on stage or in a dramatic production. Dramaturgical analysis is the study of social interaction that compares everyday life to a theatrical presentation. Dramaturgical analysis is a theory first developed by a man named Erving Goffman and sociologists have used this theory of social interaction to try and explain why we do what we do by means of comparing us to actors in a theatrical presentation.
Goffman’s Dramaturgical Sociology Personal Sales and Service in a Commodified World Peter Kivisto and Dan Pittman Peter Kivisto is the Richard Swanson Professor of Social Thought and Chair of Sociology at Augustana College, in Rock Island, Illinois, where he has taught continuously since.