Affect and the role of client sophistication on satisfaction judgments within business-to-business professional services

Garry, Anthony Joseph (2008) Affect and the role of client sophistication on satisfaction judgments within business-to-business professional services. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Evidence which demonstrates a link between the affective dimension and satisfaction in a tangible product based context is well documented. However, when placed in a credence service context the role of Affect becomes more complex insofar as research suggests that consumers will partly use their affective reaction to the service provider when evaluating overall satisfaction. However, previous research in this field has assumed consumer homogeneity when there is increasing evidence of consumer heterogeneity. Consequently, this research attempts to address this deficiency by exploring the role of Affect evoked among consumers of differing sophistication within the business-to-business credence service context of corporate legal services. To this end, a three-stage methodology is adopted incorporating explorative interviews, experimentally generated scenarios and a survey comprising of 252 users of corporate legal services within the UK.

The results suggest that the consumer's ability to form expectation and performance assessments about the core service may have a moderating influence on the way service expectations are set and how service relationships are evaluated relative to the technical, functional and affective components of the service. This in turn questions the validity of the SEC (search, experience, credence) frame of reference focusing on service attributes whilst disregarding the level of consumer sophistication.

The implications of this are that service organisations should devote effort to devising appropriate service delivery processes that are pertinent to the individual consumer. This has implications for the recruitment, training and empowerment of employees within such services which have traditionally focused on technical qualifications and experiential knowledge as the key drivers of HRM strategies.

Thus, this research contributes towards an understanding of the moderating influence of consumer sophistication on the role of Affect evoked on satisfaction judgments within business-to-business professional services markets.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ennew, C.T.
McKechnie, S.A.
Keywords: Affect, customer satisfaction
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 11380
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2010 08:26
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2016 18:33
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11380

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