Societal Influences on Schematic Processing in the Service Encounter: Directions For Study

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Conference Proceeding

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Consumers have fairly well-developed knowledge structures for many consumption experiences and phenomena (see Smith and Houston 1985; Sujan 1985; Snyder 1992). These knowledge structures, or schemata, furnish us with expectations to which consumption outcomes are naturally compared. Deviations from expectations trigger cognitive processes that can both influence evaluate processes performed during consumption experiences (Stayman, Alden, and Smith 1992) and distract consumers from processing relevant information analytically (Sujan, Bettman, and Sujan 1987). One result of schematic processing is that consumers also have expectations about service providers and salespeople encountered during consumption experiences (Babin and Boles 1992). For example, a consumer that enters a French Restaurant can probably form a vivid impression of his/her waiter even if he/she has never patronized this particular restaurant before. The research described in this paper is aimed at describing variations in consumer behavior resulting from schematic processing in these types of environments. In doing so, it seeks to add to the emerging body of literature on consumer categorization processes and add to our understanding of the mechanism with which certain cultural and societal influences and biases take place.

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Minority Marketing: Research Perspectives for the 1990s

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