Online from: 1987
Subject Area: Marketing
Options: To add Favourites and Table of Contents Alerts please take a Emerald profile
Downloads: The fulltext of this document has been downloaded 398 times since 2010
Article citation: Lloyd C. Harris, (2010) "Guest editorial", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 24 Iss: 6, pp. -
About the Guest Editors
Lloyd C. Harris (PhD, Wales) is a Professor of Marketing and Strategy at Warwick Business School. His main research interests include the marketing-organizational behavior interface, market orientation, dysfunctional behavior during consumption, e-loyalty and organizational culture. His work has been published in the Journal of Retailing, Journal of Services Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Research, and the Journal of Services Marketing.
Rebekah Russell-Bennett is an Associate Professor in Marketing at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She holds a PhD in brand loyalty for the services sector and has published in international journals such as Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Services Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Brand Management and Australasian Marketing Journal. Rebekah is the Associate Editor of Journal of Marketing Management (Services and Social Marketing) and has worked with organisations across a variety of service industries in Australia including Sensis, Brandaide, Queensland Transport, Australian Breastfeeding Association, Brisbane Lions, Queensland Health, Queensland Rail, Telstra and Westpac. Rebekah also owns a 19 year old cat, has two lovely daughters, plays the piano and guitar, writes complaint letters to organisations that have horrid service delivery and dreams of one day owning a theatre venue that only does musicals.
In 2007 we met Professor Christopher Lovelock, the originator of the term “jaycustomer” (Lovelock, 1994), at the London Services Workshop and discussed the idea of a special session on “Customers Behaving Badly” at the upcoming American Marketing Association Services Special Interest Group (AMA ServSig) to be held in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Christopher was very keen on the idea and agreed to participate as one of the speakers. Unfortunately, Christopher passed away just before the conference and so the special session was held as a tribute to his work in the field. Using the Armadillo Theorem (Harris, 2008) to commence the presentations, the session was delivered to a packed room, which highlighted the interest in the academic community for the topic of customer misbehaviour. Riding this wave of interest, we gained agreement from Professor Charles Martin (Editor of the Journal of Services Marketing) for a Special Issue on the topic. We received a record number of papers for consideration: 23 in total, of which seven were accepted (30 per cent). The papers represent different methodological approaches to the topic and come from a diverse range of countries (e.g. France, Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore, USA, and New Zealand).
In the first paper of this special issue, the motley assortment of misbehaving academics who presented at the “Customers behaving badly” special session at ServSig 2008 gather again to present a “state of the art” review of research into customer misbehavior. Ray Fisk (Texas State University), Stephen Grove (Clemson University), Lloyd C. Harris (Warwick University), Dominique A. Keeffe (Queensland University of Technology), Kate L. Daunt (née Reynolds) (Cardiff University), Rebekah Russell-Bennett (Queensland University of Technology) and the irrepressible Jochen Wirtz (National University of Singapore) present an overview of existing research into customers behaving badly that addresses issues of terminology and definition. Thereafter, they review the three perspectives which they believe provide the most insight in studying the darker side of service dynamics. This leads to a review of some of the research design issues and methodological problems that we face in studying these issues. Subsequently, they devote a thought-provoking section to the idea that while dysfunctional customer behaviors have many negative influences on other customers, service employees, and service firms, there are actually some positive functions of customers behaving badly. Finally, they conclude with a research agenda and some suggestions for practitioners.
The second paper of the special issue is authored by Loïc Plé and Ruben Chumpitaz Cáceres, both of IÉSEG School of Management. Their contribution questions our understanding of service-dominant logic by investigating its central tenet: the co-creation of value. This conceptual paper proposes that interactions within and between service systems can result in both value co-creation and value co-destruction. The authors explore the concept of value co-destruction and investigate its occurrence as a result of misused resources. In this sense, their paper contributes not only interesting insights into the dark side of service dynamics but also illuminating insights into service-dominant logic thinking.
Anthony Patterson and Steve Baron of the University of Liverpool Management School, UK, supply the third paper of this issue. Anthony and Steve supply some much need data on misbehaving customers. Their study qualitatively investigates extremely poor service encounters from the consumer’s perspective. Through the analysis of multiple autoethnographic accounts of “dreadful” customer experiences in a department store, the authors uncovered a growing cynicism about the performance of frontline service employees. This research suggests that service employees need to be retrained to overcome this cynicism and consequently prevent service sabotage behaviours. Indeed, their study highlights the growing issue of customer distrust.
Sven Tuzovic of Pacific Lutheran University, USA provides the fourth paper. Sven adopts the framework of Frustration Theory to investigate consumers’ dysfunctional online behaviour. Using the critical incident feedback technique (CIFT), Sven describes a range of dysfunctional “word-of-web” behaviour that allowed consumers to express both verbal and non-verbal forms of negative emotion in relation to frequent flier programs. Interestingly, Sven finds that dysfunctional online behaviour varies widely from low program ratings and non-recommendations to expressing intentions to retaliate.
Lorraine A. Friend, Carolyn L. Costley and Charis Brown, all of Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, NZ present the fifth paper. Their study investigates consumers’ experiences of distrust in retail environments. Adopting a storytelling approach to data analysis, they find that accusations of shoplifting (whether real or imagined) resulted in violations of implicit trust, which in turn provoked intense moral emotion and thoughts of retaliation. This suggests that theft prevention strategies undermine the relationships that retail organisations are attempting to build with their customers and that an upward “trust spiral” needs to be triggered to mitigate consumers’ distrust.
Jean-Baptiste Suquet of Reims Management School and IRG, Université de Paris-Est, provides the sixth paper. Jean-Baptiste examines the role of sensemaking for frontline employees tasked with preventing consumer theft. Using an ethnographical approach to investigate how consumers enact fraud in an urban transit system, Jean-Baptiste addresses how frontline service employees monitor this dysfunction and identifies three dilemmas they face when managing the behaviour. Jean-Baptiste concludes by questioning how organisations contribute to dysfunctional consumer behaviour.
Last, but by no means least, is the paper by Larry Neale of Queensland University of Technology and Sam Fullerton of Eastern Michigan University. Larry and Sam present a profile of young consumers’ perceptions of consumer ethics. More specifically, they used a self-administered questionnaire to assess behavioural norms, the evolution of ethical inclinations over time, and cultural differences in ethical standards, and find that perceptions of questionable consumer actions differ between young people across continents. An understanding these regional perceptions may allow service organisations to modify elements of their delivery in order to reduce their vulnerability to unethical or deviant consumer behaviour.
There are many fruitful possibilities for marketers in researching customer misbehaviour and we hope that this special issue generates many interesting future research agendas. Likewise, the practical guides in this issue provide both food for thought and tips for marketers in the practice of managing customers and improving their service offerings.
We would like to thank the editor of the Journal of Services Marketing Professor Charles Martin for his guidance through the process, the invaluable (and surprisingly patient) assistance of Dr Dominique (“the Dom”) Keeffe in co-ordinatin the submissions and communicating with authors, and Dr Kate L. Daunt (née Reynolds) for the sole book review (and just by the way, we found that there were virtually no books on the topic, so clearly there are opportunities for scholars to fill this gap). We would also like to thank the participants of our special session at ServSig 2008 in Liverpool. A full list of contributors would be too many to list. However, the Red Headed Dancer, 65 pounds, tarantulas, PFK, Godzilla and Armadillos deserve special praise.
We would like to dedicate this special issue to the memory of Professor Christopher Lovelock. He was inspiration to a generation of scholars, a true gentleman, and a formidable intellect. Our world is a sadder place without him.
Lloyd C. Harris , Rebekah Russell-Bennett
Lovelock, C. (1994), Product Plus, McGraw Hill, New York, NY
Harris, L.C. (2008), “Introduction to the special session: customers behaving badly: a tribute to Christopher Lovelock”, paper presented at American Marketing Association SERVSIG International Research Conference, University of Liverpool, 5-7 June