Too Much of a Good Thing: Curvilinear Effects in the Evaluation of Services and the Mediating Role of Trust
Pavlos A. Vlachos
ALBA Graduate Business School at The American College of Greece
Athens University of Economics and Business
Athens University of Economics and Business - Department of Management Science and Technology
Journal of Services Marketing, Forthcoming
The satisfaction-trust paradigm has been recently criticized regarding its ability to deliver positive consumer behavioral outcomes. This study argues that -amongst others- a reason for this unpleasant situation may be the failure of service managers to account for non-linearities in the satisfaction-trust paradigm. We posit consumer trust as an important intervening variable through which non-linear service evaluation effects translate into word-of-mouth. Findings imply that investing resources in satisfaction programs do not do a good job in building positive word-of-mouth from a point on. Economic value evaluations and trust judgments seem to be both necessary and sufficient conditions for building consumer relationships. The study extends the literature in that it investigates whether consumer trust suffers from diminishing returns. Service providers who strive to build long-term relationships with their consumers may not do a good job if they continue to invest on trust determinants that present diminishing returns to scale.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: Trust, word-of-mouth, satisfaction, economic value, curvilinear mechanisms, grocery retailing
JEL Classification: M31Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 19, 2008 ; Last revised: March 16, 2010
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