Social Queues (Cues)
31 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 29, 2019
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 service time by shaping customers' consumption decisions. 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 specifically driven by a desire for fairness and avoidance of the negative moral emotions experienced when not being fair. Notably, the negative effect of queue presence on customers' service times 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 transparency between customers in service and those waiting in line amplifies the negative effect of others queueing on one's own service time.
Keywords: Behavioral Operations, Queues, Service Time, Customer Behavior, Social Preferences
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