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The influence of service employees and other customers on customer unfriendliness: a social norms perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Arne K. Albrecht

    (Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena)

  • Gianfranco Walsh

    () (Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena)

  • Simon Brach

    (Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena)

  • Dwayne D. Gremler

    (Bowling Green State University)

  • Erica Herpen

    (Wageningen University)

Abstract

This research investigates the influence that social sources in the service environment exert on customer unfriendliness. Drawing on social norms theory, the authors demonstrate that descriptive norms (i.e., what most people are perceived to be doing in a certain situation), in the form of unfriendliness by service employees and fellow customers, predicts customers’ unfriendliness toward employees. Injunctive norms (i.e., beliefs about which behaviors are approved by important others) and identification with fellow customers exert moderating effects. Specifically, strong injunctive norms can buffer the effect of descriptive norms. Furthermore, fellow customers influence a customer’s unfriendliness only if he or she identifies either very strongly or very weakly with them. By clarifying the role of norms in service encounters, this study provides insights on when unfriendly customer behavior is likely to occur. Managerial implications for companies who want to diminish customer unfriendliness are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Arne K. Albrecht & Gianfranco Walsh & Simon Brach & Dwayne D. Gremler & Erica Herpen, 2017. "The influence of service employees and other customers on customer unfriendliness: a social norms perspective," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 45(6), pages 827-847, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joamsc:v:45:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11747-016-0505-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s11747-016-0505-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schaarschmidt, Mario & Walsh, Gianfranco, 2020. "Social media-driven antecedents and consequences of employees' awareness of their impact on corporate reputation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 718-726.
    2. Shuang Ma & Huimin Gu & Daniel P. Hampson & Yonggui Wang, 2020. "Enhancing Customer Civility in the Peer-to-Peer Economy: Empirical Evidence from the Hospitality Sector," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 167(1), pages 77-95, November.
    3. Chen, Ke & Chen, Jianxun & Zhan, Wu & Sharma, Piyush, 2020. "When in Rome! Complaint contagion effect in multi-actor service ecosystems," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 628-641.
    4. Michael K. Brady & Todd Arnold, 2017. "Organizational service strategy," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 45(6), pages 785-788, November.

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