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Happy people manage better in adverse services

Katarina Hellén (Department of Marketing, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)
Maria Sääksjärvi (Department of Product Innovation Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to focus on the formation of service perceptions in services that are stressful and unpleasant for customers, e.g. healthcare services. The authors set out to show that customers' happiness, here conceptualized as a stable perception of happiness one has towards one's life, predicts how customers manage adverse services.


The authors conducted a survey in a healthcare setting and analyzed the data with partial least square modeling.


The results show that happiness is indirectly linked, through mood, to perceived service quality, trust and service outcome. Thus, the results suggest that happy consumers are less vulnerable to distress in adverse services.

Practical implications

The findings indicate that, to enable service providers to offer adequate support in adverse service situations, service management would benefit from taking into account different customers' different levels of happiness. It is recommended that providers of adverse services segment their customer base according to the level of happiness and allocate resources to foster trust and expectations to less happy customers that would benefit from more support.


The paper contributes to the service literature by providing an understanding of how service perceptions are formed in adverse service situations. As happiness is relatively stable across time and situations, this study also contributes to understanding the role of personality traits on evaluation.



Hellén, K. and Sääksjärvi, M. (2011), "Happy people manage better in adverse services", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 319-336.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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