Date of Award

12-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Pearson, John

Second Advisor

Clark, Terry

Abstract

An apology is a standard expression often articulated by someone who has wronged another. Prior service failure and recovery literature has explored the impact uncivil acts and subsequent recovery efforts in a service environment, although this research has been focused on the involved customer’s perceptions and retaliatory intentions. In a service environment, third party customers are often able to observe the interactions (both positive and negative) of others. Prior literature has yet to examine the influence of each characteristic of an apology on an observing customer’s retaliatory intentions. To address this gap in the literature, the present research examines how apologies influence observing customers’ negative word-of-mouth and return intentions. Four apology components (timeliness, accepting responsibility, initiation, and remorse) were examined. In addition, three blocking variables (gender, moral identity, and self-construal) are included in order to empirically examine whether any of the apology components had a unique effect on specific groups of individuals compared to others.

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