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Word of mouth for interpersonal services : communicating value


Word of mouth for interpersonal services : communicating value

Spielmann, Nathalie (2010) Word of mouth for interpersonal services : communicating value. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis features three essays that provide a deeper understanding of how consumers evaluate interpersonal retail servicescapes and the values that are important to consumers within these servicescapes. In consequence to understanding that hedonic and utilitarian value is at the core of expectations within interpersonal retail servicescapes, the impact of value-based word-of-mouth (WOM) is tested. The first essay uses exploratory research to show that interpersonal retail servicescapes are distinct from other servicescapes. Interpersonal retail servicescapes consist of objectively and subjectively evaluated features that can be related to both service and environmental features. Using interpretative methods, the essay demonstrates that interpersonal retail servicescapes could be measured using methodological approaches that account for the intricacies of these specific environments. The second essay develops a measurement tool using personality theory to measure interpersonal retail servicescapes. The proposed five-dimensional scale accounts for the dynamic nature of interpersonal retail servicescapes, which consist of a high level of service occurring within a lean to highly elaborate environment. Each of the dimensions is related to consumer outcome behaviours, and it is found that rather than positive/negative value, it is hedonic/utilitarian value that orients the personality structure representing interpersonal retail servicescapes. In particular, three of the five dimensions are related to WOM, putting into question the appropriateness of valenced versus value WOM for interpersonal services. The final essay uses a factorial design to test the impact of value versus valenced WOM depending on the source (personal or anonymous) as well as the type of servicescape (self-service or interpersonal). In WOM for services, the source is far more important than the servicescape type. However the frame of the WOM used by consumers is most influential. Value-based WOM is shown to be more impactful on service quality perceptions than valenced-WOM, and this more so in interpersonal retail servicescapes than in self-servicescapes, regardless of the source. Overall, the research program highlights that interpersonal retail servicescapes are particularly complex settings which combine both social and environmental features. As such, WOM regarding interpersonal retail servicescapes should be value rather than valence-based in order to properly transmit the hedonic and utilitarian value consumers expect within these settings. Future research directions are discussed

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Spielmann, Nathalie
Pagination:xi, 130 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:John Molson School of Business
Thesis Supervisor(s):Laroche, M
Identification Number:LE 3 C66M37P 2010 S65
ID Code:979453
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 17:59
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:12
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