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The consumer's expectation formation process over time

Jane W. Licata (Department of Management and Marketing, John Massey School of Business, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, Oklahoma, USA)
Goutam Chakraborty (Department of Marketing, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA)
Balaji C. Krishnan (Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, Fogelman College of Business and Economics, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 23 May 2008




This research seeks to examine how the expectation process and its components evolve over time and purchase experience.


A longitudinal study was conducted over the period of one year using a sample of university students who were purchasing an undergraduate education. The sample was surveyed three times over the year. Structural equation analyses and regression were used to test various research hypotheses.


Key findings include confirming two significantly different levels of expectations: a lower, predictive “will” level and a higher normative “should” level. Expectation antecedents change in their degree of influence on expectations, weakening over time and service purchase experience.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need to extend the results to other service contexts.

Practical implications

The consumer's expectation formation process changes over service purchase experience, thus indicating a need to segment on experience with the service firm.


The application of an expectation formation process to a longitudinal study provides the first partnership of the theoretically‐based model and longitudinal methodology.



Licata, J.W., Chakraborty, G. and Krishnan, B.C. (2008), "The consumer's expectation formation process over time", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 176-187.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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