Witnessing Verbal Aggression: Role of Customers' Self-Consciousness Emotions
Purpose: This paper aims to examine the widespread effects of service actors’ verbal aggression on witness customers’ intentions toward the service organizations through their self-conscious emotions. The moderating roles of the witness customers’ empathic tendencies and the source of aggression are also examined.
Design/methodology/approach: In two scenario-based experiments and by adopting a multifoci approach, severity of mistreatment (aggression vs incivility vs no-mistreatment) and source of mistreatment (employee-to-employee and customer-to-customer) were manipulated to test distinctive effects of witnessing aggression on self-conscious emotions and intentions.
Findings: This study shows that witnessing aggression during service experiences negatively influences customers’ intentions towards the service organization through self-conscious emotions. Moreover, empathic tendencies of customers make these effects more pronounced. It is also shown that witnessing employee-to-employee aggression has a stronger effect on self-conscious emotions and intentions than customer-to-customer aggression.
Research limitations/implications: This paper uncovers the distinctive effects of aggressive behaviors of service actors on self-conscious emotions from the third-party perspective. It is also shown that empathic tendencies can be detrimental to service organizations in certain conditions.
Practical implications: The results warn service managers against verbal aggression because of its negative effects on witness customers. It is suggested that they should try to clarify the incident and restore justice in front of the witnesses.
Originality/value: This paper is one of the first attempts to investigate the distinctive effects of witnessing aggression during service experiences and the roles of self-conscious emotions and emphatic tendencies.
Journal of Services Marketing
Elmadag, A. B.
(2020). Witnessing Verbal Aggression: Role of Customers' Self-Consciousness Emotions. Journal of Services Marketing, 34(2), 253-268.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/17703