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Contamination fear and ABS during COVID-19

K.R. Jayasimha (Indian Institute of Management, Indore, India)
Himanshu Shekhar Srivastava (Indian Institute of Management, Raipur, India)
Sivaraman Manoharan (Department of MBA, BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, India)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 2 June 2021

Issue publication date: 1 September 2021




Access-based services (ABS) have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to validate customer barriers to ABS focusing on the contamination barrier. As service employees’ presence violates the COVID-19 physical distancing norms and heightens contamination fear, this paper tests its effects on continued use intentions of ABS. This study also empirically examines the role of conspicuous virtue signaling and organizational response.


The study was conducted in the context of scooter sharing and uses a mixed-method to explore the relatively under-researched problem of contamination fear in ABS. Study one uses the survey method and study two uses a 2 × 2 matrix between-subject design.


The results reveal that perceptions of resource sufficiency positively affect continued use intentions of ABS. The presence of a service employee hurts continued use intentions. Further, there are a three-way interaction between ABS type (service employee presence/absence), organizational response (solution-oriented/general information) and resource sufficiency perceptions. Organizational response mitigates the negative effect of service employee presence on the link between resource adequacy perceptions and ABS continued use intentions.


In contrast with prior research, this study shows that contamination fear invokes protection motivation, resulting in better preparedness and continued use intentions of ABS. The predicted difference is primarily between customers who attribute responsibility and ABS type differently (presence/absence of service employee). This study also explores the role of organizational response to COVID-19.



The authors are thankful to the associate editor and the three reviewers for their insightful comments. Their sincere thanks to Rajendra Nargundkar, Krishnan Iyer, Srinivasa Raghavan for their support in conducting this study.


Jayasimha, K.R., Srivastava, H.S. and Manoharan, S. (2021), "Contamination fear and ABS during COVID-19", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 657-670.



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