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Situational influences on service quality evaluations

Stephen D. Strombeck (School of Business and Management, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California, USA)
Kirk L. Wakefield (Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 1 August 2008




This study seeks to illustrate empirically how person‐situation variants influence customer assessments of service quality across multiple stages in the service drama.


Using surveys that were systematically distributed to 3,000 passengers boarding 30 different flights (with 432 complete responses), the effects of consumption motive (hedonic versus utilitarian) and service duration (shorter versus longer service encounters) were examined in relationship to perceived time pressure within a multiple‐sequence service encounter.


The results indicate that the consumption motives (utilitarian‐hedonic) of passengers do influence perceptions of service quality, as well as altering perceived time pressure resulting from service delays. Also, the length of the service duration moderates the negative effects of time pressure on perceived service quality.

Research limitations/implications

Extrapolating the findings from this research to other service industries should be done with care given that consumption motives and perceived time pressures may vary greatly across different service industries.

Practical implications

This study suggests that managers must develop systemic solutions to service delays during early stages of the encounter as such delays may prompt a “domino effect” that transcends all subsequent stages in the service encounter. Service encounters that are longer in duration may also be more susceptible to critical service evaluations if these delays are not rectified.


This study demonstrates the critical issue of measuring service quality during each successive stage of a service encounter.



Strombeck, S.D. and Wakefield, K.L. (2008), "Situational influences on service quality evaluations", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 409-419.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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