Social Queues (Cues): Impact of Others' Waiting in Line on One's Service Time

42 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2019 Last revised: 29 Jun 2020

See all articles by Sezer Ulku

Sezer Ulku

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business; Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business

Chris Hydock

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Orfalea College of Business

Shiliang Cui

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business

Date Written: June 26, 2020

Abstract

The traditional queueing literature assumes that service time is largely independent of social influences. However, queues are social systems; and social considerations are therefore likely to impact customers' service-time decision to the extent they have control. Through a series of experiments, we show that when others are waiting in line, customers tend to accelerate their own service time, and in doing so, sacrifice their own consumption utility. This behavior is driven by concern for others. Notably, the effect is diminished when they themselves have waited, as it is perceived as fair to let others wait if one also had to wait. We further show that obscuring the visibility between customers in service and those waiting in line diminishes the negative effect of others queueing on one's own service time.

Keywords: Behavioral Operations, Queues, Service Time, Customer Behavior, Social Preferences

Suggested Citation

Ulku, Sezer and Hydock, Chris and Cui, Shiliang, Social Queues (Cues): Impact of Others' Waiting in Line on One's Service Time (June 26, 2020). Georgetown McDonough School of Business Research Paper No. 3428687, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3428687 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3428687

Sezer Ulku (Contact Author)

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Chris Hydock

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Orfalea College of Business ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

Shiliang Cui

Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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