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Anticipating a service experience


  • Harrison, Mary P.
  • Beatty, Sharon E.


This paper explores the anticipations consumers have before service experiences. Consumers think ahead about future service experiences and may foresee problems or discomfort. This research examines the strategies consumers engage in to minimize the impact of these anticipated problems or discomforts. Qualitative interviews and the critical incident technique with a content analysis provide the tools of this study. In Study 1, planning and preparation, avoidance and adjustment, and seeking support emerge as three problem-solving behaviors. In Study 2, the same three problem-solving behaviors emerge, while a fourth category, gathering information, also appears. In addition, worry, as an emotional response to perceived risk, provides understanding to service anticipation issues. Social risk plays a particularly important role as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrison, Mary P. & Beatty, Sharon E., 2011. "Anticipating a service experience," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(6), pages 579-585, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:64:y:2011:i:6:p:579-585

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chaudhuri, Arjun, 1997. "Consumption Emotion and Perceived Risk: A Macro-Analytic Approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 81-92, June.
    2. Kolbe, Richard H & Burnett, Melissa S, 1991. " Content-Analysis Research: An Examination of Applications with Directives for Improving Research Reliability and Objectivity," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 243-250, September.
    3. Kalamas, Maria & Laroche, Michel & Makdessian, Lucy, 2008. "Reaching the boiling point: Consumers' negative affective reactions to firm-attributed service failures," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(8), pages 813-824, August.
    4. Srinivasan, Narasimhan & Ratchford, Brian T, 1991. " An Empirical Test of a Model of External Search for Automobiles," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 233-242, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Breunig, Karl Joachim & Christoffersen, Line, 2016. "If x then why? Comparative analysis using critical incidents technique," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5141-5146.


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