An analysis of potentially problematic client-clerk interactions using contextualism, social judgment theory, and Brunswick's lens model



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Contextualism, social judgment theory, and Brunswikian lens model analysis were used to study the structure of potentially problematic client-clerk interactions in a university security department clientservice-window ecology in which the interrelationships among a quality (e.g., interaction effectiveness), textures (e.g., client and clerk distal states), and strands (e.g., client and clerk nonverbal cues) could be appropriately studied using level I and level II analyses. Several formal predictor and formal criterion variables of social judgment theory were used in conjunction with variables which had interaction-relevant substantive content (i.e., the postulated quality, textures, and strands). The level I analysis studied the interrelationships among (a) interaction effectiveness as a quality and (b) the client and clerk distal states as textures and contextual components of the interaction. It was hypothesized that in all level I lens analyses both policy efficiency (r ) and modeled policy similarity (£) would equal or exceed agreement, and that modeled policy similarity (G^) would be higher in the client-clerk lens analyses than in either the client-observer or clerk-observer lens analyses. The level II analysis studied the relationships among each distal state (i.e., texture) and the 13 nonverbal cues (i.e., strands). Hypothesized levels on the formal criterion variables of social judgment theory were generated through combining (a) the postulated ecological levels on the formal predictor variables with (b) the empirically established direction of relationship between each formal predictor and formal criterion variable The sample consisted of 57 clients, 6 clerks, and 4 observers. All three groups (a) rated the effectiveness of the interaction, and (b) rated both the client and clerk, as appropriate, on the six distal states of client anger, nervousness, and satisfaction, and clerk friendliness, informativeness, and interest. In addition, the observers rated the clients and clerks on the 13 nonverbal cues. The first and second level I hypotheses were supported, but the third was not. Policy efficiency (r ) and modeled policy similarity (G^) both exceeded agreement (r ) in a highly significant majority of the 21 level I lens analyses (jd < .001). Modeled policy similarity (G) between clients and clerks, however, did not exceed G between (a) clients and observers and (b) clerks and observers in a significant majority of comparisons (jd = .5). It was concluded that interaction effectiveness and five of the six distal states appeared to represent a quality and interrelated textures of the interaction as a contextualist event. The general level II hypothesis was supported. The hypothesized distribution of values on four formal criterion variables was significantly correlated with the obtained values on the same four variables across the six level II lens model analyses (rho = .602, £. < .01). It was concluded that the judgment systems of the clients and clerks were structured in accordance with social judgment theory.