Are they being served? Linking consumer expectation, evaluation and commitment


Mason, Chris; Simmons, John

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The paper's unique contribution is to confirm the rationale for and the benefits of applying constructs from the psychological contract literature to generate deeper insights into the service provider-consumer relationship. Findings confirm the need for providers to target value propositions at particular consumer groups as part of a more sophisticated and nuanced approach to customer segmentation. The paper also recognises possible changes in consumer expectation and how proactive service providers can track and respond to these. The conceptual framework and research propositions generated from it should be tested in organisations representative of transactional, relational and transpersonal service providers to provide deeper insights for researchers and practitioners. Analysis shows how alignment of different types of value proposition with consumer expectations impacts on the nature and level of consumer commitment. Customer commitment can also contribute to service provider reputation and brand equity. The model is developed by the integration of approaches from the marketing, CSR and psychological contract literature and represents a holistic and multi-disciplinary perspective on the service value proposition. The paper develops a conceptual framework to show how service provider value propositions and customer purchase decisions represent the offer and acceptance of types of psychological contract that, if satisfied, result in particular levels of consumer commitment and related attitudinal and behavioural outcomes.

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Publication type

Journal article


Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 26, no. 4 (2012), pp. 227-237






Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. The accepted manuscript is reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.