INVESTIGATING CONSUMER EMBARRASSMENT IN SERVICE INTERACTIONS

Open Access
Author:
Wu, Luorong
Graduate Program:
Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
None
Committee Members:
  • Anna S Mattila, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • fellow customers
  • embarrassment
  • service interactions
  • customer mishap
  • service script
Abstract:
This study focuses on the elicitation and consequences of consumer embarrassment in service interactions. As customer embarrassment potentially induces negative word-of-mouth intentions, it is necessary for management to understand the antecedents of consumer embarrassment and provide prevention/recovery strategies. Following a role theory perspective, we identified three potential elements for embarrassment: a vague service script, mishap from the target customer and his/her realization of the mishap, and the presence of fellow customers. We further propose that the attribution of mishap, the number of fellow customers, and the familiarity among the fellow customers will interactively contribute to the elicitation of embarrassment. Further, we propose that embarrassed consumers are more likely to initiate negative word-of-mouth intentions. Adopting an experimental design, we test the proposed hypothesis and provide results, managerial implications and discussions for limitation and directions of future research.