Chapter

Differentiating consumers in professional services: information empowerment and the emergence of the fragmented consumer<sup>1</sup>

Angus Laing, Gill Hogg, Terry Newholm and Debbie Keeling

in The consumer in public services

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847421814
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303725 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847421814.003.0005
Differentiating consumers in professional services: information empowerment and the emergence of the fragmented consumer1

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This chapter suggests evidence that there is logic to the idea of the fragmentation of healthcare consumers. There is an evident move from a position in which consumers were characterised as passive and compliant, accepting the authority not only of medical science but also of the professional as decision maker. Expectations of the service encounter vary from compliant acceptance of both medical science and authority, to the active challenging of medical science as a paradigm and the medical professional as decision maker. The challenge lies in balancing the competing, and occasionally contradictory, perspectives of all the parties involved within a context in which the consumerist discourse has gained primacy. Given this trajectory of evolution, the retention of a unitary ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of service provision would seem unlikely to be effective in meeting these expectations and in ensuring consumer satisfaction.

Keywords: consumer empowerment; healthcare consumers; medical science; consumer satisfaction

Chapter.  7544 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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