How a Consumption Failure Influences an Observing Customer's Attribution and Perceived Service Quality: the Role of Regulatory Focus

Elisa K. Y. Chan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Lily L. Su, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Lisa C. Wan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
This paper examines an interesting but untapped topic on how customers react to an observed consumption failure. Drawing on the defensive attribution theory, we argue that an observing customer will attribute more (vs. less) responsibility to the service provider if the customer involved in the failure incident is similar (vs. not similar) to him/her, and this pattern will be moderated by regulatory focus. More specifically, prevention-focused (vs. promotion-focused) observing customers may attribute more responsibility in the similarity condition, but this pattern may disappear in the non-similarity condition. These attributions, in turn, will influence observing customers' perceived service quality. Results from an experiment showed a general support for the hypotheses.
[ to cite ]:
Elisa K. Y. Chan, Lily L. Su, and Lisa C. Wan (2009) ,"How a Consumption Failure Influences an Observing Customer's Attribution and Perceived Service Quality: the Role of Regulatory Focus", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 543-543.