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Article

Taeshik Gong and Chen-Ya Wang

This paper introduces the concept of dysfunctional customer behavior toward a brand and argues that when customers perceive that a brand has failed to fulfill its…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces the concept of dysfunctional customer behavior toward a brand and argues that when customers perceive that a brand has failed to fulfill its promises, a psychological brand contract breach occurs, which in turn leads to a psychological brand contract violation, which evokes dysfunctional customer behavior toward the brand. In addition, this study investigates whether the impact of a breach of this contract is dependent on brand relationship quality, brand apology and restitution.

Design/methodology/approach

Study 1 conducted the online survey and 224 respondents were used for data analysis and the moderating role of brand relationship quality was examined. Study 2 conducted an experiment with 201 participants to test the moderating role of brand apology and restitution.

Findings

This study found the moderating role of brand relationship quality, brand apology and brand restitution on the relationship between a psychological brand contract breach and dysfunctional customer behavior toward a brand (i.e. brand-negative word-of-mouth, brand retaliation and brand boycott), which is mediated by psychological brand contract violation.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the theoretical understanding of dysfunctional customer behavior toward a brand by integrating the literature on brand management with the organizational literature on psychological contracts between organizations and their employees. Furthermore, this study sheds light on the effectiveness of reparative actions by the firm after occurrence of the psychological brand contract breach.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article

Taeshik Gong and Chen-Ya Wang

Dysfunctional customer behavior is believed to engender employee stress and, in turn, fuel employee turnover. However, little research has examined the moderating role of…

Abstract

Purpose

Dysfunctional customer behavior is believed to engender employee stress and, in turn, fuel employee turnover. However, little research has examined the moderating role of individual-level and contextual-level resource variables. The purpose of this paper is to fill these gaps by examining employee embeddedness and individualism–collectivism as putative moderators of the hypothesized mediation chain.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a field study involving 264 service employees working in two hotels operated by the same international hotel chain, one in South Korea (n=138) and the other in the UK (n=126).

Findings

Results show that employee embeddedness weakens the impact of dysfunctional customer behavior on employee turnover via employee stress. In addition, findings suggest that collectivists (individualists) are more (less) likely to be receptive to embeddedness cues.

Originality/value

This is the first known study to show that employee embeddedness can mitigate the impact of dysfunctional customer behavior on turnover via employee stress. This moderated-mediation model is further moderated by employees’ cultural value orientation (individualism–collectivism). Prior literature is not explicit on these complex models.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article

Ray Fisk, Stephen Grove, Lloyd C. Harris, Dominique A. Keeffe, Kate L. Daunt, Rebekah Russell‐Bennett and Jochen Wirtz

The purpose of this paper is to highlight important issues in the study of dysfunctional customer behavior and to provide a research agenda to inspire, guide, and enthuse…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight important issues in the study of dysfunctional customer behavior and to provide a research agenda to inspire, guide, and enthuse. Through a critical evaluation of existing research, the aim is to highlight key issues and to present potentially worthy avenues for future study.

Design/methodology/approach

In reviewing recent and past advances in the study of customers behaving badly, an overview of existing research into customers behaving badly and addressing issues of terminology and definition is provided. Thereafter, three perspectives that provide the most opportunity and insight in studying the darker side of service dynamics are outlined. This leads to a review of some of the research design and methodological problems and issues that are faced when rigorously studying these issues. Subsequently, the paper devotes a section to the provocative idea that while dysfunctional customer behavior has many negative influences on customers, employees, and service firms, there are actually some positive functions of customers behaving badly.

Findings

A research agenda is provided that is believed to identify and discuss a range of projects that comprises not only insightful theoretical contributions but is also practically relevant.

Originality/value

The paper identifies a range of issues about which managers should be aware and proactively manage.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article

Sven Tuzovic

Following the perspective of frustration theory customer frustration incidents lead to frustration behavior such as protest (negative word‐of‐mouth). On the internet…

Abstract

Purpose

Following the perspective of frustration theory customer frustration incidents lead to frustration behavior such as protest (negative word‐of‐mouth). On the internet customers can express their emotions verbally and non‐verbally in numerous web‐based review platforms. The purpose of this study is to investigate online dysfunctional customer behavior, in particular negative “word‐of‐web” (WOW) in online feedback forums, among customers who participate in frequent‐flier programs in the airline industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a variation of the critical incident technique (CIT) referred to as the critical internet feedback technique (CIFT). Qualitative data of customer reviews of 13 different frequent‐flier programs posted on the internet were collected and analyzed with regard to frustration incidents, verbal and non‐verbal emotional effects and types of dysfunctional word‐of‐web customer behavior. The sample includes 141 negative customer reviews based on non‐recommendations and low program ratings.

Findings

Problems with loyalty programs evoke negative emotions that are expressed in a spectrum of verbal and non‐verbal negative electronic word‐of‐mouth. Online dysfunctional behavior can vary widely from low ratings and non‐recommendations to voicing switching intentions to even stronger forms such as manipulation of others and revenge intentions.

Research limitations/implications

Results have to be viewed carefully due to methodological challenges with regard to the measurement of emotions, in particular the accuracy of self‐report techniques and the quality of online data. Generalization of the results is limited because the study utilizes data from only one industry. Further research is needed with regard to the exact differentiation of frustration from related constructs. In addition, large‐scale quantitative studies are necessary to specify and test the relationships between frustration incidents and subsequent dysfunctional customer behavior expressed in negative word‐of‐web.

Practical implications

The study yields important implications for the monitoring of the perceived quality of loyalty programs. Management can obtain valuable information about program‐related and/or relationship‐related frustration incidents that lead to online dysfunctional customer behavior. A proactive response strategy should be developed to deal with severe cases, such as sabotage plans.

Originality/value

This study contributes to knowledge regarding the limited research of online dysfunctional customer behavior as well as frustration incidents of loyalty programs. Also, the article presents a theoretical “customer frustration‐defection” framework that describes different levels of online dysfunctional behavior in relation to the level of frustration sensation that customers have experienced. The framework extends the existing perspective of the “customer satisfaction‐loyalty” framework developed by Heskett et al.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article

Kate L. Daunt and Lloyd C. Harris

This paper aims to examine the associations between individual factors (personality and demographic variables) and contextual factors (servicescape and situation‐specific…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the associations between individual factors (personality and demographic variables) and contextual factors (servicescape and situation‐specific variables), and the motives that drive episodes of dysfunctional customer behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

Self‐report data were collected from a survey of bar, hotel, and restaurant customers (n=380). Confirmatory factor analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis were utilized to analyze the data.

Findings

Analysis of the data revealed three clusters of motives labelled: financial egotists, money grabbers, and ego revengers. Statistically significant differences were revealed across the personality, servicescape, and situation specific variables for each motive. However, no differences were found concerning demographic variables.

Research limitations/implications

This research emphasizes the primacy of three customer behavior motivations. Future research might investigate the motives for dysfunctional customer behavior across different organizational contexts and the dynamics between such motivations.

Practical implications

The findings of the study indicate that service managers can proactively control and manipulate servicescape and situation‐specific variables that relate to customer misbehavior motives.

Originality/value

No existing scholarly research has developed a data‐grounded understanding of the motivations of dysfunctional customer behaviors. Moreover, to date, no study has explored the associations between customer's motives to misbehave and personality, situation specific, servicescape, and demographic variables.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article

Jiyoung Kim, Hae-Ryong Kim, Russell Lacey and Jaebeom Suh

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how frontline service employees’ (FSEs) perceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) can enhance meaningful work…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how frontline service employees’ (FSEs) perceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) can enhance meaningful work perceptions as well as help alleviate FSEs’ perceptions of verbal dysfunctional customer behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual model is empirically examined through a survey of 306 FSEs of a large insurance company in South Korea and tested via structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results indicate that FSEs’ perceptions of CSR are negatively related to their perceptions of verbal dysfunctional customer conduct, which in turn is shown to be directly linked to emotional exhaustion. FSEs’ CSR perceptions strengthen their view that they are performing meaningful work (i.e. perceived task significance), which in turn strengthens their job satisfaction.

Practical implications

CSR has a preventive effect on workplace stress reduction, as FSE perceptions of CSR may help them cope with the emotional fatigue of dealing with dysfunctional customer behavior. CSR also provides a needs fulfillment effect, as FSEs’ perceptions of CSR foster perceived task significance and helps reduce their emotional exhaustion from work.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine the potential impact of CSR within the context of FSEs’ boundary spanning emotional labor.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article

Bo Meng and Kyuhwan Choi

Rooted in conservation of resources (COR) theory (frequently applied to conflict and stress). The purpose of this study is to classify customer stressors into dysfunctional

Abstract

Purpose

Rooted in conservation of resources (COR) theory (frequently applied to conflict and stress). The purpose of this study is to classify customer stressors into dysfunctional attitude and behavior and proposes strategies, such as parent and colleague attachment, as a resource pool to prevent employees’ sabotage behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

A two-step method was adopted by the suggestion from Anderson and Gerbing (1998) with an on-site survey carried out within ten upscale hotels.

Findings

Study results indicated that dysfunctional customers significantly influence service sabotage through job burnout and depression. In addition, attachment was demonstrated as an effective strategy by examining its moderating effects.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretically, the mechanism of sabotage formation was clarified as external customers’ factors (i.e. dysfunctional attitude and behavior) as well as internal psychological factors (i.e. negative states such as burnout and depression). Practically, the attachment (i.e. colleagues and parents) was identified as an effective moderator for preventing sabotage, although only in the early stage (i.e. depression stage).

Originality/value

For the first time, the current study attempts to explain the sabotage formation process by using COR with the integration of intervention.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

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Article

Todd J. Bacile

The domain of digital service not only includes digital service products made available for purchase but also the provision of digital customer service, such as customers

Abstract

Purpose

The domain of digital service not only includes digital service products made available for purchase but also the provision of digital customer service, such as customers seeking support on brands' social media channels. This type of digital customer service introduces new challenges not found in offline service recovery situations. This research highlights one such occurrence by investigating customer-to-customer (C2C) interactions during digital service recovery. In particular, dysfunctional dialog, such as online incivility (e.g. rude and insulting comments), directed at a complainant by a fellow customer is investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data from an online panel are utilized to test the hypothesized relationships between dysfunctional customer behavior (i.e. online incivility), C2C interactional justice, customer perceived service climate and three forms of experiential value using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM).

Findings

The results show that customer perceptions of the firm's service climate are negatively affected by online incivility but only when such incivility produces C2C injustice. This outcome is notable due to the strong relationship found between customer perceived service climate and the following three forms of online experiential value: sociability, hedonic and pragmatic value. Thus, a weakened service climate subsequently leads to weakened experiential value for complainants.

Research limitations/implications

The theoretical implications of two nascent constructs, C2C interactional justice and customer perceived service climate, are further developed with reference to digital customer service situations. In particular, given that prior research has focused on customer perceptions of service climate in core consumption situations of enjoyable face-to-face service experiences, it has only considered optimal or extremely positive service climate assessments in non-digital contexts. This study expands the understanding of the customer perceived service climate construct by examining the implications of a sub-optimal service climate in a digital customer service situation of an unenjoyable service experience. The limitations include a small sample size, the use of hypothetical scenarios and a failure situation limited to a single industry.

Practical implications

Managers who oversee social media channels or online communities must be prepared to act upon C2C online incivility. Deeming such communications as innocent online chatter not worthy of company intervention is a mistake, as the results of this study show that such inaction may lead to negative customer perceptions of the digital service environment and harm the customer experience.

Originality/value

This work develops a greater understanding of the importance of C2C interactional justice and customer perceived service climate in online customer service situations that prior research has yet to establish. In particular, previous studies have not investigated the negative effects of a situation that produces sub-optimal customer perceptions of a service climate.

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Article

Dominique A. Greer

This study aims to explore the scope of consumers’ defective co-creation behaviour in professional service encounters. One of the founding premises of service-dominant…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the scope of consumers’ defective co-creation behaviour in professional service encounters. One of the founding premises of service-dominant logic (Vargo and Lusch, 2004, 2008) is that consumers co-create the value they derive from service encounters. In practice, however, dysfunctional consumer behaviour can obstruct value co-creation. Extant research has not yet investigated consumers’ defective co-creation behaviour in highly relational services, such as professional services, that are heavily reliant on co-creation.

Design/methodology/approach

To investigate defective co-creation in professional services, 164 critical incidents were collected from 38 health-care and financial service providers using the critical incident technique within semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Thematic coding was used to identify emergent themes and patterns of consumer behaviour.

Findings

Thematic coding resulted in a comprehensive typology of consumers’ defective co-creation behaviour that both confirms the prevalence of previously identified dysfunctional behaviours (e.g. verbal abuse and physical aggression) and identifies two new forms of consumer misbehaviour: underparticipation and overparticipation. Further, these behaviours can vary, escalate and co-occur during service encounters.

Originality/value

Both underparticipation and overparticipation are newly identified forms of defective co-creation that need to be examined within the broader framework of service-dominant logic (SDL).

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 49 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Book part

Lawrence Ang and Scott Koslow

Purpose – This chapter seeks to understand the concept of consumer misbehavior, especially in the form of consumer deviance and/or dysfunction.Method/approach – We review…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter seeks to understand the concept of consumer misbehavior, especially in the form of consumer deviance and/or dysfunction.

Method/approach – We review the marketing literature on consumer misbehavior, organizing the major themes scholars have used. We also differentiate between two perspectives researchers can employ: (1) misbehavior as deviance and (2) misbehavior as a wider construct.

Findings – Marketers generally overlook consumer misbehavior and put the cost down as that of running a business. Furthermore, they are burdened by the notion of customer sovereignty which is the dictum that “customers are always right.” But customers also lie, cheat, steal, harass, and abuse. Consumer misbehavior is thus multifaceted which in turn makes the definition difficult to pin down. After reviewing the many definitions of consumer misbehavior, including cyber misbehavior, the authors concluded that the disruption perspective is more managerially useful than the perspective based on violation of norms. This is because disruption of the business is not only harmful or unlawful but can lead to a loss of well-being, material resources, and reputation of individuals and/or organizations.

Implications – The chapter proposes a Pre-di-post framework that can be used to deal with customer misbehavior.

Originality/value – Most marketing scholars have focused primarily on misbehavior as deviance, yet this limits the kinds of problems one tends to focus on and the range of solutions one normally considers. We offer an alternative perspective where misbehavior may be instead “an unremarkable consequence of normal conditions” which may suggest a wider range of amelioration strategies.

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