Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 523–536 | Cite as

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: a study of defensive organizational behavior towards customer complaints

  • Christian Homburg
  • Andreas Fürst
Original Empirical Research


Despite substantial benefits of an effective complaint management for companies, there is ample evidence that many firms do not handle customer complaints appropriately. This paper aims at providing a theoretical explanation for this surprising phenomenon. Drawing on psychological and organizational theory, the authors introduce the concept of defensive organizational behavior towards customer complaints as well as provide a rich conceptualization and operationalization of this phenomenon. Moreover, in an empirical study, they systematically analyze how defensive organizational behavior towards customer complaints is driven by organizational antecedents and, based on a dyadic data set, how it affects customer post-complaint reactions.


Customer complaints Complaint management Complaint handling Complaint analysis Complaint solicitation Complaint satisfaction Complaint-based improvements Defensive behavior Defensiveness Defense mechanism 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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