Requests and *responses in calls for service
This dissertation examines the sequential structures of requesting and responding to requests in airline and emergency service contexts. Using the methodology of conversation analysis, this dissertation explicates the methodic procedures through which the parties produce and understand requests and responses. The focus is on various ways in which the parties employ and orient to adjacency pair structures in constructing their action and do so in the context of both for-profit and not-for-profit services.
First, the dissertation examines the construction of a request-response adjacency pair into a two-part sequence of sequences in airline service contexts. Each action of requesting and responding involves several components and is accomplished over complex courses of action that process those components. Sequences are used to realize each action, and the request-response sequence is organized into a two-part sequence of sequences.
Second, the dissertation compares ways in which service agents organize and implement sequences in two different types of service contexts, for-profit and not-for-profit service contexts. Airline service agents pursue the maximization of serviceability in managing customers' requests. They structure and shape a customer's request in an acceptable direction so that it is constructed as one that can be fulfilled. In contrast, call takers in emergency services are oriented to restricting the provision of service only to eligible (and priority) requests. They strive to establish the need for service by pursuing lines of questioning that are geared away from providing the service. These two alternative ways in which agents implement sequences realize the two types of services at the level of turn-by-turn talk.
Finally, the dissertation analyzes a set of sequences in which airline service agents request customers' identifying information. Customers conduct their responses in different ways depending on their knowledgeability about the institutional system. Knowledgeable customers, for example, may provide an alternative to what was requested and accelerate an accomplishment of the activity in institutionally relevant ways.
These findings contribute to an understanding of sequential structures of social action and their relationship to the organizational work at its interface with clientele, the nature of bureaucratic interactions, and knowledge and power.