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Reducing perceived vulnerability to increase utilization of nonprofit services

Emily C. Tanner (Department of Marketing, West Virginia University , Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Lixun Su ( West Virginia University , Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 31 May 2019

Issue publication date: 8 July 2019

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411

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand how perceived vulnerability reduces consumers’ willingness to utilize services offered by nonprofit organizations (NPOs).

Design/methodology/approach

Three online surveys were conducted across two research contexts to test the proposed model. Hayes’ PROCESS was used to analyze the data.

Findings

Perceived vulnerability decreases the perception of relational benefits, which in turn decrease consumers’ commitment to NPOs. Reduced commitment lessens consumers’ willingness to cooperate and acquiesce to organizations’ recommendations. Risk aversion and cognitive ability mediate the relationship between perceived vulnerability and perceived relational benefits.

Research limitations/implications

The findings uncover mechanisms through which perceived vulnerability influences perceived relational benefits, contributing to the understanding of behaviors of consumers that perceive vulnerable. This paper does not manipulate consumers’ perceived vulnerability but only measures their perceived vulnerability, limiting the explanatory power of causal relationships between perceived vulnerability and perceived relational benefits.

Practical implications

This study can provide some insight for NPOs about how to better serve their target population. To increase willingness to utilize service offerings, NPOs should decrease their perceived risks of new services.

Originality/value

This paper clarifies why consumers that perceive vulnerability are not willing to deploy the NPOs’ services which could improve their situation by demonstrating that cognitive ability and risk aversion mediate the relationship between perceived vulnerability and perceived relational benefits.

Keywords

Citation

Tanner, E.C. and Su, L. (2019), "Reducing perceived vulnerability to increase utilization of nonprofit services", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 344-355. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-12-2017-0434

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

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