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Mary Jo Bitner
The Servicescapes: Impact of on Physical Surroundings Customers and Employees A typology of service organizations is presented and a conceptual framework is advanced for exploring the impact of physical surroundings on the behaviors of both customers and employees. The ability of the physical surroundings to facilitate achievement of organizational as well as marketing goals is explored. Literature from diverse disciplines provides theoretical grounding for the framework, which serves as a base for focused propositions. By examining the multiple strategic roles that physical surroundings can exert in service organizations, the author highlights key managerial and research implications.
effect of atmospherics, or physical design and decor elements, on consumers and workers is recognized by managers and mentioned in virtually all marketing, retailing, and organizational behavior texts. Yet, particularly in marketing, there is a surprising lack of empirical research or theoretically based frameworks addressing the role of physical surroundings in consumption settings. Managers continually plan, build, change, and control an organization's physical surroundings, but frequently the impact of a specific design or design change on ultimate users of the facility is not fully understood. The ability of the physical environment to influence behaviors and to create an image is particularly apparent for service businesses such as hotels, restaurants, professional offices, banks, retail stores, and hospitals (Baker 1987; Bitner 1986; Booms and Bitner 1982; Kotler 1973; Shostack 1977; Upah and Fulton 1985; Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry 1985). Be-
Jo is Professor Marketing, of Arizona UniState Mary Bitner Assistant The the of Interstate Center versity. author acknowledges support theFirst forServices Arizona University, conducting reState in the Marketing, search. extensive The assistance Michael andthecomments of Hutt of Lawrence Beth and are Brown, Walker, SusanKleine Crosby, Stephen as of anongratefully acknowledged,arethe helpful suggestions three JM ymous reviewers.
cause the service generally is produced and consumed simultaneously, the consumer is "in the factory," often experiencing the total service within the firm's physical facility. The factory (or the place where the service is produced) cannot be hidden and may in fact have a strong impact on customers' perceptions of the service experience. Even before purchase, consumers commonly look for cues about the firm's capabilities and quality (Berry and Clark 1986; Shostack 1977). The physical environment is rich in such cues (Rapoport 1982) and may be very influential in communicating the firm's image and purpose to its customers. Research suggests that the physical setting may also influence the customer's ultimate satisfaction with the service (Bitner 1990; Harrell, Hutt, and...