Non-conscious Effect of Moral Identity Prime on Perceived Reasonableness and Affective Account on Customer Satisfaction: An Abstract
A service provider may manage its service personnel through service regulations and policies. Alternatively, a service provider may empower them and delegate more authority by relying on morals of service personnel. The latter approach may enable service providers to accommodate degree of latitude in meeting service specifications and allow them to better prepare themselves for service recovery in the event of unexpected service failure. Such discretion in service encounters has been the object of study employing the construct of “reasonableness” (Fukawa and Erevelles 2014). In allowing for a certain amount of discretion in service encounters, a service provider must rely on the judgment and moral values of service personnel and customers instead of immutable standardized service specifications. During service recovery, a customer assesses the reasonableness of the recovery experience. In this process, a “reasonable” customer would consider not only his/her own welfare but the welfare of others (e.g., the service provider, others customers and society) (Lydenberg 2014).
In this study, first, we investigate whether the moral identity prime affects perceived reasonableness in service encounters and if so, how this effect is moderated by an environmental factor (i.e., cognitive load) and a motivational factor (i.e., work experience in services). Second, we investigate whether affect (vs. cognition) mediates the effect of perceived reasonableness on customer satisfaction. Third, through a set of in-depth interviews, we further investigate the role of work experience in services and affective responses in relation to perceived reasonableness. Our study reveals the effect of moral identity prime on perceived reasonableness among those without work experience in services under a cognitive load. Additionally, our study shows that the effect of perceived reasonableness on customer satisfaction is mediated through affect regardless of a cognitive load. Finally, the set of in-depth interviews imply that those customers with work experience in services form specific service expectations; thus, their assessment of reasonableness in service encounters might be affected more by conscious thoughts than non-conscious thoughts.