Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Jarvis, Cheryl

Abstract

Because service failures are inevitable, marketing researchers have devoted considerable attention to the negative consequences of service failure and corresponding service recovery strategies. Previous research has overwhelmingly focused on customers' cognitive, coping, and behavioral reactions to failures. However, more recently, researchers have suggested that emotions may underlie the effects of customers' cognitive responses on their coping and behavioral responses. Despite the increased attention paid to the emotional dimension of customers' responses, the literature has not differentiated between different types of negative emotions. However, the appropriateness of service recovery strategies may rely on differentiating between similarly valenced emotions, because distinct emotions may require different recovery strategies. From a perspective of self-congruence theory, this dissertation contributes to the extant literature by investigating why customers experience distinct negative emotions - basic emotions (e.g., anger) and self-conscious emotions (e.g., shame) - in the context of service failure. Since emotions may influence coping and behavioral responses, distinct sets of coping responses (problem-solving vs. vindictive complaining and support-seeking vs. vindictive negative word of mouth) and behavioral intentions are also explored. Through two experiments, this dissertation provides support for the proposition that different forms of self-congruence evoke different sets of emotional and coping responses. Furthermore, drawing on self-awareness theory, this dissertation provides evidence for the proposition that the mechanisms underlying these observed patterns are distinct. Specifically, when service failures are involved, actual self-congruence and ideal self-congruence differentially trigger public self-awareness and private self-awareness and the different forms of self-awareness mediate the effect of self-congruence on customers' emotions.

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