The waitress-diner relationship: an examination of subordinate influence

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Virginia Tech


Although many interactional situations are manifestly of a super-subordinate variety; upon closer examination there would appear to be certain mechanisms operating which enable the subordinate to exert influence over the superordinate. The problem structuring this investigation focuses on the issue of waitress subordinate influence. Data analysis is based on a six week period of participant observation. During observation the waitress-researcher recorded information concerning three variables. These variables structured two hypotheses which were employed to test for subordinate influence. The major independent variable was identified as the waitress treatment variable. This variable was dichotomized as waitress manipulative treatment, and waitress non-manipulative treatment. It served as the basis of an experimental test. That is, two separate groups were subject to two different waitress treatment styles. One treatment style performed waitress was characterized by waitress "product promotional activity." While performing this treatment the waitress attempted to selling the maximum amount of food and liquor to dining groups. The contrasting treatment performed by waitress was characterized by an absence of "product promotional activity."

The dependent variable was identified as consumption patterns practiced by diners.. This variable was measured in terms of tab size. To be determined was, what effect, if any, waitress treatment of dining group had in determining the amount of food and liquor consumed by diners. A significant relationship was established between waitress treatment style and size of tab. The findings suggest that the waitress does assert influence over the consumption patterns practiced by diners.



consumption, dining