AbstractDecisions to engage with services depend on dispositional and situational factors. Drawing upon uncertainty theory, this thesis aims to understand the effects of dispositional and situational factors on customers’ and stakeholders’ decision-making. The empirical context for the studies that this thesis comprises is the services industry. Contrary to goods, services are more difficult to assess before consumption due to their intangible nature. Therefore, making a decision in the context of service interactions entails high levels of uncertainty, affecting the effectiveness of decisions.
Results coming from empirical studies suggest that customers’ decisions depend on personality traits (i.e., locus of control) and even more on contextual situations (e.g., online self-disclosure and explicit requests). The results show that contextual psychological mechanisms such as vulnerability or social pressure have a negative impact on customers’ willingness to engage with the service provider. Regarding stakeholders’ decision-making, stakeholders engagement levels (i.e., behavioural, cognitive, and emotional) depend on focal organizations ability to foster the conversation and set up the dialogue platform.
This thesis contributes to previous literature in several ways. First, the thesis unfolds psychological mechanisms behind customers decisions in service interactions. It contributes to the literature on online customer complaint decisions and explains why customers are reluctant to complain online when their identities are disclosed. Moreover, it contributes to the literature on tipping decisions by uncovering a new conceptual path, i.e., the effect of an explicit request on tip size. Contrary to common belief, the study findings show that explicit (vs non-explicit) requests negatively affect tip size. This study adopts a novel theoretical approach to explain customers’ tipping decisions, i.e., the theory of psychological reactance. Third, the research provides methodological contributions in that it offers actionable guidance for scholars who are willing to apply experimental design to their research. Finally, contrarily to the vast majority of engagement literature that stems from customer cocreation, this work focuses on stakeholder decision-making. Specifically, the study unpacks the three dimensions of stakeholder engagement (i.e., behavioural, cognitive, and emotional) and investigates how they relate to stakeholder cocreation. By unearthing the interplay between stakeholder engagement (SE) and its prevailing relational consequences (i.e., cooperation, collaboration, and cocreation), this study offers novel theoretical knowledge. From a managerial standpoint, this study offers new insights on how to maintain customers’ privacy, thus helping to preserve the trustworthiness of a customer review system. Moreover, according to our findings, service providers should eliminate explicit requests in order to boost tip size. Additionally, they should devote special attention to the personal interaction between the customer and the frontline employee. Finally, when it comes to stakeholder engagement, managers should develop vigilant learning skills and learn how to design open platforms from which creativity is able to thrive.
|Date of Award||2021|
|Supervisor||Marta Nieto-Garcia (Supervisor), Giampaolo Viglia (Supervisor) & Phill McGowan (Supervisor)|