Varley, Peter and Crowther, Geoff (1998) Performance and the service encounter: an exploration of narrative expectations and relationship management in the outdoor leisure market. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 16 (5). pp. 311-317. ISSN 0263-4503

This study of rockclimbers and outdoor leisure consumers, manufacturers and retailers, sets out to discover the nature and outcomes of the consumer/producer relationship centred around the retail setting. Initial theoretical views on the self, participant role, performance and communitas are explored as a background to the discussion. Data collection involved participant observation, in-depth interviews and a study of both commercially and consumer generated secondary materials (climbing club literature for example). The researchers identified an environment in which temporary leisure identities were supported and at times modified by the retail relationships and were embedded in a rich sub-cultural narrative. Postmodern concepts pertaining to the consumption of place and space corresponded with the observational data, to the extent that recommendations for retailers are less overtly managerial, and more about facilitating the consumer’s ownership of the spaces and relationships within them.

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