Exploring the Effect of Emotion on Time-elapsed Consumer Perceptions of Service: A Reexamination of the Satisfaction Construct
Type of DegreeThesis
DepartmentNutrition and Food Science
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Customer satisfaction remains a central tenet of all relationship management efforts within the hospitality sector (Oliver, 1997). Yet, while many studies have concluded that there is a significant relationship between satisfaction and future behavioral intention, the validity of their findings is now being questioned in that they relate solely to measures of the more cognitive component of the satisfaction construct only (Liljander and Strandvik, 1997; Yu and Dean, 2001). This study will report on an ongoing attempt to place emotions at the center of hospitality based satisfaction research. It will address the question: what role do emotions play in the formation of customer satisfaction (CS), perceptions of service quality (PSQ) and future behavioral intentions (FBI)? The research addressed both the cognitive and affective aspects of the satisfaction construct in the context of the Auburn University Football Game Day Experience. A before-and-after (repeated measure) design was employed which sought to measure student perceptions of quality as they pertained to the Game Day experience over the course of the 2004 SEC Football season. Respondents were required to complete an inferred disconfirmation measure of service quality, as well rate their emotional state on each occasion in terms of both frequency of occurrence and degree (intensity) experience across a range of emotional variables. The service quality scales were based largely on the previously validated SERVQUAL instrument (Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry, 1988), although tailored specifically to the game day experience. Participant emotion on the other hand was evaluated using Russell’s (1980) circumflex model of affect. An additional single item attitudinal assessment of overall satisfaction was also collected. Future behavioral intention was assessed via three additional scaled variables designed to evaluate likelihood of future attendance, recommendation to others and continuing support for the Auburn University Football Team and venue. Questionnaire’s were administered to willing participants pre-season in expectation format and on two subsequent occasions in direct performance format following two home football games. The results show that service quality is positively associated with emotional satisfaction, which is positively associated with overall customer satisfaction and future behavioural intention. The results also support the mediating role of customer satisfaction when looking at the relationship between consumer perceptions of service quality and future behavioural intention and the fact that overall satisfaction and future behavioural intention are better explained when emotional satisfaction is considered in addition to consumers perceptions of service quality.