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Changing the servicescape: The influence of music, self-disclosure and eye gaze on service encounter experience and approach-avoidance behavior
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7480-9318
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and understand the effect of a servicescape’s ambient and social conditions on consumers’ service encounter experience and their approach/avoidance behavior in a retail context. In three papers, with a total sample of over 1600 participants (including 550 actual consumers) and seven experiments, the author investigates the effect of music (ambient stimuli), employees’ self-disclosure (verbal social stimuli) and employees’ gazing behavior (nonverbal social stimuli) on consumers’ service encounter experience and approach/avoidance behavior in a retail store.

Paper I comprised two experiments, and the aim was to investigate the influence of music on emotions, approach/avoidance behavior. Paper II comprised two experiments, and the aim was to investigate the effect of frontline employees’ personal self-disclosure on consumers’ reciprocal behavior. Paper III comprised three experiments, and the aim was to investigate the influence of employee’s direct eye gaze/ averted eye gaze on consumer emotions, social impression of the frontline employee and encounter satisfaction in different purchase situations.

The results in this thesis show that music affects consumers in both positive and negative ways (Paper I). Self-disclosure affects consumers negatively, in such a way that it decreases encounter satisfaction  (Paper II) and, finally, eye gaze affects consumers by regulating both positively – and in some cases also negatively – consumers’ social impression of the frontline employee and their encounter satisfaction (Paper III).

The conclusions of this thesis are that both ambient and social stimuli in a servicescape affect consumers’ internal responses, which in turn affect their behavior. Depending on the purchase situation, type of retail, and stimuli, the internal and behavioral responses are different.

Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and understand the effect of a servicescape’s ambient and social conditions on consumers’ service encounter experience and their approach/avoidance behavior in a retail context. In three papers, with a total sample of over 1600 participants (including 550 actual consumers) and seven experiments, the author investigates the effect of music, employees’ self-disclosure and employees’ gazing behavior on consumers’ service encounter experience and approach/avoidance behavior in a retail store.

The results in this thesis show that music affects consumers in both positive and negative ways (Paper I). Self-disclosure affects consumers negatively, in such a way that it decreases encounter satisfaction (Paper II) and, finally, eye gaze affects consumers by regulating both positively – and in some cases also negatively – consumers’ social impression of the frontline employee and their encounter satisfaction (Paper III).

The conclusions of this thesis are that both ambient and social stimuli in a servicescape affect consumers’ internal responses, which in turn affect their behavior. Depending on the purchase situation, type of retail, and stimuli, the internal and behavioral responses are different.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2016.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2016:39
Keyword [en]
Servicescape, Approach/Avoidance, Emotions, Social impression, Consumer behavior, Encounter experience, Music, Self-disclosure, Eye gaze, Retail
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-46417ISBN: 978-91-7063-722-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-46417DiVA: diva2:1033521
Public defence
2016-12-09, 11 D 227, Universitetsgatan 2, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-21 Created: 2016-10-07 Last updated: 2016-11-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Let the music play or not: the influence of background music on consumer behavior.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Let the music play or not: the influence of background music on consumer behavior.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, ISSN 0969-6989, Vol. 19, no 6, 553-560 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study concerns the effect that music has on consumer behavior in two different retail contexts during regular opening hours. Two studies were conducted in a field setting with consumers (N=550). Consumers were recruited to answer questions regarding behavioral measures, attitudes, and mood during days when background music was played. The conclusions from the two studies are that music affects consumer behavior, but also that the type of retail store and gender influences both the strength and direction of the effect

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2012
Keyword
Consumer behavior; Music; Gender; Retail; Psychology;Approach; Avoidance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-15334 (URN)10.1016/j.jretconser.2012.06.010 (DOI)
Available from: 2012-10-26 Created: 2012-10-26 Last updated: 2016-10-07Bibliographically approved
2. The effect of frontline employees' personal self-disclosure on consumers' encounter experience
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effect of frontline employees' personal self-disclosure on consumers' encounter experience
2016 (English)In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, ISSN 0969-6989, E-ISSN 1873-1384, Vol. 30, no May, 40-49 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how frontline employee self-disclosure influences consumers’ reciprocal behavior. To investigate the effects of frontline employee self-disclosure, two experiments were conducted with a total sample of 475 participants. The results show that when frontline employees disclose personal information in one-time encounters, they are perceived as less competent and more superficial. The results also show that self-disclosure negatively affects reciprocal behavior, but that this is mediated through liking, competence, superficiality, and satisfaction. These findings suggest that it is not always beneficial for employees to use self-disclosure as a strategy for garnering a consumer's trust or satisfaction, which counters previous research that suggest that disclosure of personal information is a good way to positively influence consumers in the retail environment.

Keyword
Self-disclosure, Frontline employee, Encounter experience, Social impresssion, Satisfaction, Reciprocal behavior
National Category
Business Administration Psychology
Research subject
Psychology; Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41905 (URN)10.1016/j.jretconser.2015.12.004 (DOI)000375851500005 ()
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-10-07Bibliographically approved
3. The effect of gaze on consumers’ encounter evaluation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effect of gaze on consumers’ encounter evaluation
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, ISSN 0959-0552, E-ISSN 1758-6690, Vol. 44, no 4, 372-396 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The research concerns the effect of frontline employees’ averted or direct gaze on consumers’ evaluation of the encounter. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that in normal interactions, a direct or averted gaze affects people’s evaluation of others. The question was whether this finding would hold true in commercial interactions.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted three experiments using a written scenario with a photograph among a total sample of 612 participants.

Findings – This research showed that consumers’ social impression of the frontline employees mediated the effect of the employees’ gazing behaviour on consumers’ emotions and satisfaction with the encounters. The findings also showed that averting gaze had a negative effect on consumers’ first impression of the frontline employee, which affected consumers’ satisfaction with the encounter. The findings also showed that a direct gaze had a negative effect on encounter satisfaction when consumers sought to purchase embarrassing products.

Originality/value – The research demonstrated that the effect of gaze on encounter satisfaction was mediated by the social impression and moderated by consumers’ approach/avoidance motivation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2016
Keyword
Satisfaction, Frontline employee, Encounter experience, Eye gaze, Social impression
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41915 (URN)10.1108/IJRDM-03-2015-0034 (DOI)000381914700002 ()
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-10-07Bibliographically approved

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