To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Too much of a good thing: curvilinear effects in the evaluation of services and the mediating role of trust

Pavlos A. Vlachos (Graduate School of Deree, The American College of Greece, Aghia Paraskevi, Greece)
Adam P. Vrechopoulos (Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
K. Pramatari (Department of Management Science and Technology, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 13 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The satisfaction‐trust paradigm has been recently criticized regarding its ability to deliver positive consumer behavioral outcomes. This study aims to argue that – amongst others – a reason for this unpleasant situation may be the failure of service managers to account for non‐linearities in the satisfaction‐trust paradigm.

Design/methodology/approach

The setting for this study was the supermarket retail channel. A total of 942 respondents were “intercepted” in supermarket stores, employing a face‐to‐face personal interviewing method. For the detection of curvilinear effects the study employed the two‐step single indicant method of Ping.

Findings

It is posited that consumer trust is an important intervening variable through which non‐linear service evaluation effects translate into word‐of‐mouth. Findings imply that investing resources in satisfaction programs do not do a good job in building positive word‐of‐mouth from a point on. Economic value evaluations and trust judgments seem to be both necessary and sufficient conditions for building consumer relationships.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretically, the work extends the relationship marketing research stream suggesting that curvilinear mechanisms are likely present in the well accepted satisfaction‐trust paradigm. Limitations of the study relate to the generalization of the findings in other sectors besides grocery retailing and its cross‐sectional nature.

Practical implications

The findings of this study suggest that relationship marketing managers would be ill‐advised in their investment decisions should they use a linear‐only terms trust model.

Originality/value

This article extends the trust literature in that it investigates whether consumer trust suffers from diminishing returns. Service providers who strive to build long‐term relationships with their customers may not do a good job if they continue to invest in trust determinants that present diminishing returns to scale.

Keywords

Citation

Vlachos, P.A., Vrechopoulos, A.P. and Pramatari, K. (2011), "Too much of a good thing: curvilinear effects in the evaluation of services and the mediating role of trust", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 440-450. https://doi.org/10.1108/08876041111161032

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited