If you begin a service you must go the whole hog: a theoretical approach to social lock-in situations in service settings

  • Maarten VolkersEmail author
  • Sabine Fließ
Part of the Fokus Dienstleistungsmarketing book series (FDM)


Consider spontaneously joining a yoga class with a friend, only to find out you dislike yoga. Would you leave during the class? Now picture yourself entering a restaurant and being greeted by a friendly waiter, who offers you a table. If it turns out that the atmosphere is not quite to your taste, would you leave the restaurant? In the context of an exploratory study that is reported elsewhere (under review), we spoke to customers who told us they would feel uncomfortable leaving during such service transactions.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aarts, H./Dijksterhuis, A. (2003): The silence of the library: environment, situational norm, and social behavior, in: Journal of personality and social psychology, 84(1), 18.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, J. S. (1965): Inequity in social exchange, in: Advances in experimental social psychology, 2, 267-299.Google Scholar
  3. Akaka, M. A./Vargo, S. L. (2015): Extending the context of service: from encounters to ecosystems, in: Journal of Services Marketing, 29(6/7), 453-462.Google Scholar
  4. Akaka, M. A./Vargo, S. L./Schau, H. J. (2015): The context of experience, in: Journal of Service Management, 26(2), 206-223.Google Scholar
  5. Azar, O. H. (2004): What sustains social norms and how they evolve? - The case of tipping, in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 54(1), 49-64.Google Scholar
  6. Barker, R. G. (1968): Ecological psychology: Concepts and methods for studying the environment of human behavior, Stanford.Google Scholar
  7. Bitner, M. J. (1992): Servicescapes: The impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees, in: The Journal of Marketing, 57-71.Google Scholar
  8. Bitran, G. R./Ferrer, J. C./Rocha e Oliveira, P. (2008): Managing Customer Experiences: Perspectives on the Temporal Aspects of Service Encounters, in: Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 10(1), 61-83.Google Scholar
  9. Bodey, K./Grace, D. (2006): Segmenting service “complainers” and “non-complainers” on the basis of consumer characteristics, in: Journal of Services Marketing, 20(3), 178-187.Google Scholar
  10. Branaman, A. (2003): Interaction and hierarchy in everyday life - Goffman and Beyond, in: Trevino A.J. (Ed.): Goffman’s Legacy, Oxford, 86-126.Google Scholar
  11. Carpenter, J. P./Matthews, P. H. (2004): Why punish? Social reciprocity and the enforcement of prosocial norms, in: Journal of evolutionary economics, 14(4), 407-429.Google Scholar
  12. Chekroun, P./Brauer, M. (2002): The bystander effect and social control behav-ior: The effect of the presence of others on people’s reactions to norm violations, in: European Journal of Social Psychology, 32(6), 853-867.Google Scholar
  13. Cialdini, R. B./Reno, R. R./Kallgren, C. A. (1990): A focus theory of normative conduct: recycling the concept of norms to reduce littering in public places, in: Journal of personality and social psychology, 58(6), 1015.Google Scholar
  14. Coleman, J. S. (1994): Foundations of social theory. Cambridge, London.Google Scholar
  15. Conlin, M./Lynn, M./O’Donoghue, T. (2003): The norm of restaurant tipping, in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 52(3), 297-321.Google Scholar
  16. Conlon, D. E./Van Dyne, L./Milner, M./Ng, K. Y. (2004): The effects of physical and social context on evaluations of captive, intensive service relationships, in: Academy of Management Journal, 47(3), 433-445.Google Scholar
  17. Crawford, G./Melewar, T. C. (2003): The importance of impulse purchasing behaviour in the international airport environment, in: Journal of Consumer behaviour, 3(1), 85-98.Google Scholar
  18. Dequech, D. (2009): Institutions, social norms, and decision-theoretic norms, in: Journal of economic behavior & organization, 72(1), 70-78.Google Scholar
  19. Dowling, J./Pfeffer, J. (1975: Organizational legitimacy: Social values and organizational behavior, in: Pacific sociological review, 122-136.Google Scholar
  20. Edvardsson, B./Tronvoll, B./Gruber, T. (2010): Expanding understanding of service exchange and value co-creation: a social construction approach, in: Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(2), 327-339.Google Scholar
  21. Elster, J. (1991): Rationality and social norms, in: European Journal of Sociology, 32(01), 109-129.Google Scholar
  22. Fenigstein, A./Scheier, M. F./Buss, A. H. (1975): Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory, in: Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 43(4), 522.Google Scholar
  23. Festinger, L. (1962): A theory of cognitive dissonance, Stanford.Google Scholar
  24. Fisher, B. A./Ellis, D. G. (1980): Small group decision making: Communication and the group process, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Foxall, G. (1990): Consumer psychology in behavioral perspective, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  26. Foxall, G. R./Greenley, G. E. (1999): Consumers’ emotional responses to service environments, in: Journal of Business Research, 46(2), 149-158.Google Scholar
  27. Foxall, G. R./Oliveira-Castro, J. M./James, V. K./Schrezenmaier, T. C. (2006): Consumer behavior analysis: The case of brand choice, in: Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 6(1), 51-78.Google Scholar
  28. Foxall, G. R./Yani-de-Soriano, M. M. (2005): Situational influences on consumers’ attitudes and behavior, in: Journal of Business Research, 58(4), 518-525.Google Scholar
  29. Giebelhausen, M./Robinson, S. G./Sirianni, N. J./Brady, M. K. (2014): Touch versus tech: When technology functions as a barrier or a benefit to service encounters, in: Journal of Marketing, 78(4), 113-124.Google Scholar
  30. Goffman, E. (1963): Behavior in public places, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Goffman, E. (1967). Interactual Ritual: essays on face to face behavior, Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
  32. Gouldner, A. W. (1960): The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement, in: American sociological review, 25(2), 161-178.Google Scholar
  33. Harrison, M. P./Beatty, S. E./Reynolds, K. E./Noble, S. M. (2012): Why customers feel locked into relationships: using qualitative research to uncover the lock-in factors, in: Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 20(4), 391-406.Google Scholar
  34. Hastings, S. (2011): The Moderating Effect of Reciprocity Beliefs on Work Outcomes (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Western Ontario).Google Scholar
  35. Hellbrück, J./Kals, E. (2012): Umweltpsychologie. Heidelberg, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Hill, A. V./Collier, D. A./Froehle, C. M./Goodale, J. C./Metters, R. D./Verma, R. (2002): Research opportunities in service process design, in: Journal of Operations Management, 20(2), 189-202.Google Scholar
  37. Hogg, M. A./Abrams, D./Otten, S./Hinkle, S. (2004): The social identity perspective intergroup relations, self-conception, and small groups, in: Small group research, 35(3), 246-276.Google Scholar
  38. Homans, G. C. (1974): Social behavior: Its elementary forms, Oxford.Google Scholar
  39. Jaeger, S. R./Danaher, P. J./Brodie, R. J. (2010): Consumption decisions made in restaurants: The case of wine selection, in: Food Quality and Preference, 21(4), 439-442.Google Scholar
  40. Kim, J. Y./Nam, S. H. (1998): The concept and dynamics of face: Implications for organizational behavior in Asia, in: Organization Science, 9(4), 522-534.Google Scholar
  41. Knapp, M. L./Hart, R. P./Friedrich, G. W./Shulman, G. M. (1973): The rhetoric of goodbye: Verbal and nonverbal correlates of human leave‐taking, in: Communications Monographs, 40(3), 182-198.Google Scholar
  42. Kolyesnikova, N./Dodd, T. H. (2008): Effects of winery visitor group size on gratitude and obligation, in: Journal of Travel Research, 47(1), 104-112.Google Scholar
  43. Lee, C. M./Geisner, I. M./Lewis, M. A./Neighbors, C./Larimer, M. E. (2007): Social motives and the interaction between descriptive and injunctive norms in college student drinking, in: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68(5), 714-721.Google Scholar
  44. Lindbeck, A. (1997): Incentives and social norms in household behavior, in: The American Economic Review, 87(2), 370-377.Google Scholar
  45. McCallum, J. R./Harrison, W. (1985): Interdependence in the service encounter, in: The service encounter: Managing employee/customer interaction in service businesses, 18(4), 35-48.Google Scholar
  46. McDonald, R. I./Fielding, K. S./Louis, W. R. (2012): Conflicting norms highlight the need for action, in: Environment and behavior, 46(2), 139-162.Google Scholar
  47. McDonald, R. I./Fielding, K. S./Louis, W. R. (2014): Conflicting social norms and community conservation compliance, in: Journal for Nature Conservation, 22(3), 212-216.Google Scholar
  48. Molm, L. D./Schaefer, D. R./Collett, J. L. (2007): The value of reciprocity, in: Social Psychology Quarterly, 70(2), 199-217.Google Scholar
  49. Morales, A. C. (2005): Giving firms an “E” for effort: Consumer responses to high-effort firms, in: Journal of Consumer Research, 31(4), 806-812.Google Scholar
  50. Murray, K. B./Häubl, G. (2007): Explaining cognitive lock-in: The role of skill-based habits of use in consumer choice, in: Journal of Consumer Research, 34(1), 77-88.Google Scholar
  51. Nagengast, L./Evanschitzky, H./Blut, M./Rudolph, T. (2014): New insights in the moderating effect of switching costs on the satisfaction–repurchase behavior link, in: Journal of Retailing, 90(3), 408-427.Google Scholar
  52. Namasivayam, K. (2004): Action control, proxy control, and consumers’ evaluations of the service exchange, in: Psychology & Marketing, 21(6), 463-480.Google Scholar
  53. Nilsson, E./Ballantyne, D. (2014): Reexamining the place of servicescape in marketing: a service-dominant logic perspective, in: Journal of Services Marketing, 28(5), 374-379.Google Scholar
  54. Platt, J. (1989): Some types of communicative strategies across cultures: Sense and sensitivity, in: Garcia, O./Otheguy, R. (Ed.): English across cultures—Cultures across English, 13-29.Google Scholar
  55. Przybylski, A. K./Murayama, K./DeHaan, C. R./Gladwell, V. (2013): Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out, in: Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1841-1848.Google Scholar
  56. Posner, R. A./Rasmusen, E. B. (1999): Creating and enforcing norms, with special reference to sanctions, in: International Review of law and economics, 19(3), 369-382.Google Scholar
  57. Raab, N. (1997): Becoming an Expert in Not Knowing Reframing Teacher as Consultant, in: Management Learning, 28(2), 161-175.Google Scholar
  58. Rayburn, S. W. (2013): Service provision when consumers have nowhere else to go: a Grounded theory of consumers’ captive service experience (Doctoral Dissertation, Oklahoma State University).Google Scholar
  59. Rayburn, S. W. (2015): Consumers’ captive service experiences: it’s YOU and ME, in: The Service Industries Journal, 35(15-16), 806-825.Google Scholar
  60. Regan, D. T. (1971): Effects of a favor and liking on compliance, in: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 7(6), 627-639.Google Scholar
  61. Rege, M./Telle, K. (2004): The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations, in: Journal of public Economics, 88(7), 1625-1644.Google Scholar
  62. Reicher, S./Spears, R./Haslam, S. A. (2010): The social identity approach in social psychology, in: Wetherell M. S./ Mohanty C. T. (Eds.:) Sage Identities Handbook, London, 45-62.Google Scholar
  63. Reuland, R./Choudry, J./Fagel, A. (1985): Research in the field of hospitality, in: International Journal of Hospitality Management, 4(4), 141-146.Google Scholar
  64. Rimal, R. N./Real, K. (2003): Understanding the influence of perceived norms on behaviors, in: Communication Theory, 13(2), 184-203.Google Scholar
  65. Rivis, A./Sheeran, P. (2003): Descriptive norms as an additional predictor in the theory of planned behaviour: A meta-analysis, in: Current Psychology, 22(3), 218-233.Google Scholar
  66. Ruch, W./Proyer, R. T. (2008): The fear of being laughed at: Individual and group differences in gelotophobia, in: Humor – International Journal of Humor Research, 21(1), 47-67.Google Scholar
  67. Sánchez, A. M. (2015): Shame and the Internalized Other, in: Etica & Politica, 17(2), 180-199.Google Scholar
  68. Scheff, T. J. (1994): Microsociology: Discourse, emotion, and social structure, Chicago.Google Scholar
  69. Schultz, P. W./Nolan, J. M./Cialdini, R. B./Goldstein, N. J./Griskevicius, V. (2007): The constructive, destructive, and reconstructive power of social norms, in: Psychological science, 18(5), 429-434.Google Scholar
  70. Shannon, V. P. (2000): Norms are what states make of them: The political psychology of norm violation, in: International Studies Quarterly, 44(2), 293-316.Google Scholar
  71. Shostack, G. L. (1985): Planning the service encounter, in: The service encounter, 1, 243-254.Google Scholar
  72. Solomon, M. R./Surprenant, C./Czepiel, J. A./Gutman, E. G. (1985): A role theory perspective on dyadic interactions: the service encounter, in: The Journal of Marketing, 99-111.Google Scholar
  73. Spain, J. W./Vega, G. (2005): Sony Online Entertainment: EverQuest® or EverCrack?, in: Journal of business ethics, 58(1), 3-6.Google Scholar
  74. Stephens, N./Gwinner, K. P. (1998): Why don’t some people complain? A cognitive-emotive process model of consumer complaint behavior, in: Journal of the Academy of Marketing science, 26(3), 172-189.Google Scholar
  75. Stewart, K. (1998): The customer exit process - a review and research agenda, in: Journal of Marketing Management, 14(4), 235-250.Google Scholar
  76. Tax, S. S./Chandrashekaran, M. (1992): Consumer decision making following a failed service encounter: a pilot study, in: Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, 5, 55-68.Google Scholar
  77. Terry, D. J./Hogg, M. A. (1996): Group norms and the attitude-behavior relationship: A role for group identification, in: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(8), 776-793.Google Scholar
  78. Tesser, A./Rosen, S. (1975): The reluctance to transmit bad news, in: Advances in experimental social psychology, 8, 193-232.Google Scholar
  79. Tombs, A./McColl-Kennedy, J. R. (2003): Social-servicescape conceptual model, in: Marketing Theory, 3(4), 447-475.Google Scholar
  80. Turley, L. W./Shannon, J. R. (2000): The impact and effectiveness of advertisements in a sports arena, in: Journal of Services Marketing, 14(4), 323-336.Google Scholar
  81. Vaerenbergh, Y., Van/Vermeir, I./Larivière, B. (2013): Service recovery’s impact on customers next-in-line, in: Managing Service Quality, 23(6), 495-512.Google Scholar
  82. Volkers, M./Fliess, S. (2016): ‘Should I stay or can I go now?’ – Antecedents of social lock-in during service encounters and its effect on emotions, in: Proceedings of the Frontiers in Service Conference 2016, June 23-26 2016, Bergen, Norway.Google Scholar
  83. Wan, L. C./Chan, E. K./Su, L. (2011): When will customers care about service failures that happened to strangers? The role of personal similarity and regulatory focus and its implication on service evaluation, in: International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(1), 213-220.Google Scholar
  84. Watzlawick, P./Bavelas, J. B./Jackson, D. D./O’Hanlon, B. (2011): Pragmatics of human communication: A study of interactional patterns, pathologies and paradoxes. New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FernUniversität in HagenHagenDeutschland

Personalised recommendations