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Customers behaving badly: a state of the art review, research agenda and implications for practitioners

Ray Fisk (Texas State University, San Marco, Texas, USA)
Stephen Grove (Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)
Lloyd C. Harris (Warwick University, Coventry, UK)
Dominique A. Keeffe (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Kate L. Daunt (Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Rebekah Russell‐Bennett (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Jochen Wirtz (National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 14 September 2010




The purpose of this paper is to highlight important issues in the study of dysfunctional customer behavior and to provide a research agenda to inspire, guide, and enthuse. Through a critical evaluation of existing research, the aim is to highlight key issues and to present potentially worthy avenues for future study.


In reviewing recent and past advances in the study of customers behaving badly, an overview of existing research into customers behaving badly and addressing issues of terminology and definition is provided. Thereafter, three perspectives that provide the most opportunity and insight in studying the darker side of service dynamics are outlined. This leads to a review of some of the research design and methodological problems and issues that are faced when rigorously studying these issues. Subsequently, the paper devotes a section to the provocative idea that while dysfunctional customer behavior has many negative influences on customers, employees, and service firms, there are actually some positive functions of customers behaving badly.


A research agenda is provided that is believed to identify and discuss a range of projects that comprises not only insightful theoretical contributions but is also practically relevant.


The paper identifies a range of issues about which managers should be aware and proactively manage.



Fisk, R., Grove, S., Harris, L.C., Keeffe, D.A., Daunt, K.L., Russell‐Bennett, R. and Wirtz, J. (2010), "Customers behaving badly: a state of the art review, research agenda and implications for practitioners", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 417-429.



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