Impact of Culture on Service Failures and Service Recoveries

Impact of Culture on Service Failures and Service Recoveries

Ceyda Tanrikulu (Adana Science and Technology University, Turkey) and Levent Gelibolu (Kafkas University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6551-4.ch011


In this chapter, the authors focus on the role of culture, which increases its effect along with globalization on service failures and improvements. The study is a type of literature review formed by compilation of previous studies in the extant literature. According to the primary findings of such studies, the approach of consumers to service failures and improvements vary depending on their culture. Different satisfaction levels, re-purchase tendency, word-of-mouth communication and its structure (positive or negative), seeing liable for failure, loyalty, replacement, and emotional response against service failures and improvements are seen between different cultures. The authors expect this study to provide clues to service marketing applications and future studies about the effect of culture.
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1. Introduction

Many service firms have begun to expand globally due to increasing competition in domestic markets. Comprehending target foreign markets precisely is considerably significant for the success of a company. Expectations regarding service encounters differ from culture to culture since culture determines the frame of the social interaction in a society (Winsted, 1997, p. 338). Some services are strictly related to cultures and culture in the society has a strong influence on demand. Many health services, personal care, education programs, movies, videos, and exclusive advertisements are strongly influenced by culture (Bradley, 1996, p. 437).

As service marketing commonly requires customer participation, cultural factors have an intensive impact on successful service encounters. People from Middle Eastern cultures should not be expected to adopt Western customs in the formation and distribution of service. It is also impossible to expect every culture to wait in the line for extended periods or to postpone consumption (Witkowski & Wolfinbarger, 2002, p. 875). As service distribution mostly requires an interaction between customer and service worker, the impact of cultural factors on customers’ evaluation of the service is higher than the impact of products. Especially in services requiring high interaction, it is necessary to make adaptations complying with the values of main cultural groups (Matilla, 1999, p. 376).

In regions and countries with multiple ethnic origins like Europe, North America, the Asia-Pacific region or in international enterprises, cultural differences of customers should be seriously considered. Perceptions of customers about service recovery efforts are influenced by cultural values (Patterson et al., 2006, p. 273). Companies should analyze the differences in service failures and recoveries because they should meet the demands from different geographical areas simultaneously (e.g., Sheraton Hotel provides service to American, Japanese, and German customers) (Wong, 2004, p. 957). As service failures and recoveries thereafter require constant social exchange between people, comprehension of the impact of territorial cultures is really significant in terms of the implementation of service recovery strategies (Mattila & Patterson, 2004, p. 196).

However, there are a limited number of studies that examine service perceptions and expectations, failures and recoveries in terms of culture (Wong, 2004, p. 958; Mattila, 1999, p. 376; Winsted, 1997, p. 338). Findings of studies which analyze service failures and recoveries are mentioned in this study. However, before presenting these findings it is necessary to provide some brief theoretical information about service failures and recoveries.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Power Distance: Represents people’s views in their level of involvement in decision-making processes, such as managing or being managed.

Culture: All physical and abstract values that are transmitted from generation to generation and that separate communities from each other.

Individualism: Refers to people’s level of acting individually or as team members.

Masculinity/Femininity: Masculinity is the state of giving importance to the dominant values of the society such as money and success, while femininity is the state of placing emphasis on values such as love, compassion and loyalty.

Uncertainty Avoidance: People’s degree of aversion to risk and of behavior according to the formal rules.

Service: Those abstract benefits and actions offered directly or with the goods sold.

Service Failure: Potential problems resulting from variability of services while they are performed.

Services Recovery: Conversion of a dissatisfaction resulting from the failure of a service, to a satisfaction by the organization and its employees.

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