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Mediation effects of service features on rapport–dependency link in emerging market

Johra Kayeser Fatima (Canberra Business School, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Rita di Mascio (School of Marketing, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Raechel Johns (Canberra Business School, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Ali Quazi (Canberra Business School, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 15 November 2019

Issue publication date: 29 November 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore the mediation impacts of core, relational and tangible service-quality features on the relationship between customer–frontline employee rapport and customer dependency in an emerging market context. The study examines the moderating effects of relationship age and frequency of customers’ physical visits.


Partial least squares-based structural equation modelling was used to analyse data from a survey of 290 financial services customers in Dhaka, Bangladesh using the convenience sampling technique.


Results show that relational service-quality features had the largest mediation impact on the rapport–dependency relationship, followed by core and tangible service-quality features. Relationship age was not found to be a significant moderator for any relationship. However, the moderation effect of the frequency of customers’ physical visits to the service premises was significant, but only for the link between relational service-quality features and customer dependency and not for the other two types of service-quality features.

Research limitations/implications

Data collected from several other emerging markets would provide more rigorous findings: this is recommended as an avenue for further research.

Practical implications

Practitioners can manipulate specific relational or tangible service-quality features to increase customer dependency on their firms, thus ensuring longer-term customer retention.


This study is the first one to examine the relative significance of the impacts of relational features vs tangible features of services on customer dependency in the emerging market context, with rapport serving as an antecedent.



Fatima, J.K., di Mascio, R., Johns, R. and Quazi, A. (2019), "Mediation effects of service features on rapport–dependency link in emerging market", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 29 No. 5/6, pp. 639-660.



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