Does a Voluntary Tipping Policy Really Improve Service? An Examination of Consumer Agency in the Cruise Industry

Posted: 16 Aug 2005

See all articles by Robert J. Kwortnik

Robert J. Kwortnik

Cornell University - School of Hotel Administration

William Michael Lynn

Cornell University - School of Hotel Administration

William T. Ross

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Marketing

Date Written: July 15, 2005

Abstract

Marketing and organizational - behavior scholars have identified several control mechanisms - behavioral, outcome, and clan - for managing employee performance. However, these mechanisms are inadequate in contexts characterized by high customer contact and complex, customizable service interactions (e.g., restaurant dining or spa services). In such contexts, we advocate a new, potentially more effective and efficient control mechanism borrowed from the economics literature - namely, consumer agency. We focus on a pervasive form of consumer agency - voluntary tipping - that has received little attention in marketing and report on three studies that test the effectiveness of this control mechanism as a means of improving service in the context of the cruise industry. Our results show that tipping does have a statistically significant positive effect on service. Implications of this finding are discussed for marketing theory and for strategic issues in services-marketing management.

Keywords: service, tipping, social norms

JEL Classification: M52, M31, M12, L92, L80, E30, D23, D12

Suggested Citation

Kwortnik, Robert J. and Lynn, William Michael and Ross, William T., Does a Voluntary Tipping Policy Really Improve Service? An Examination of Consumer Agency in the Cruise Industry (July 15, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=779505

Robert J. Kwortnik

Cornell University - School of Hotel Administration ( email )

435B Statler Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-6902
United States

William Michael Lynn (Contact Author)

Cornell University - School of Hotel Administration ( email )

435B Statler Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-6902
United States
607-255-8271 (Phone)

William T. Ross

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Marketing ( email )

University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,659
PlumX Metrics