Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 567–585 | Cite as

Anger, frustration, and helplessness after service failure: coping strategies and effective informational support

  • Katja GelbrichEmail author
Original Empirical Research


We examine the crucial role of helplessness in explaining idiosyncratic coping responses to anger and frustration after service failure (a). Moreover, we examine the mitigating effect of informational support (i.e., explanations) on these emotions (b). With respect to (a), it is argued that the coincidence of anger (frustration) and high levels of helplessness enhances vindictive nWOM (support-seeking nWOM), whereas the coincidence of anger (frustration) and low levels of helplessness enhances vindictive complaining (problem-solving complaining). With respect to (b), it is argued that a retrospective explanation mitigates anger, whereas a prospective explanation mitigates helplessness. Using partial least squares modeling, these assumptions are tested and supported in an experiment and in a field survey with hotel guests. Finally, we delineate implications for theory and practice.


Anger Frustration Helplessness Service failure Coping responses Negative word-of-mouth Complaining Informational support Explanations 


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ilmenau Technical UniversityIlmenauGermany

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