Social Indicators Research

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 309–330 | Cite as

Status, National Culture and Customers’ Propensity to Complain

  • Gil LuriaEmail author
  • Asaf Levanon
  • Dana Yagil
  • Iddo Gal


People’s ability to express their voice in different situation is an important facet of their quality of life. This study examines the relationship between social status, cultural characteristics and customers’ voice behavior in multiple cultures. We hypothesized that social status would be positively related to customers’ voice expression. The cultural dimensions of power distance and uncertainty avoidance were expected to affect that behavior and to moderate the status–voicing relationship. Analysis of data concerning 8,479 customers from 12 countries showed that, as expected, customers with high status tended to register more service failures and to complain more frequently than customers of lower social status. All three social status distinctions explored in this study (gender, education, and age) correlated negatively with formal complaint, but only age correlated negatively with informal complaint. In addition, the two cultural dimensions had the expected negative effect on intention to complain, and moderated the relationship between social status and intention to complain. Theoretical contributions and applied implications are discussed.


Customer complaints Social status Culture Service recovery 


  1. Abbate, R., Giambalvo, O., & Milito, A. M. (2001). Service and life quality: The case of Palermo. Social Indicators Research, 54, 275–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andreasen, A. (1985). Consumer responses to dissatisfaction in loose monopolies. Journal of Consumer Research, 12, 135–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aycan, Z., Kanungo, R., Mendonca, M., Yu, K., Deller, J., Stahl, G., & Kurshid, A. (2000). Impact of culture on human resource management practices: A 10-country comparison. Applied Psychology, 49(1), 192–221.Google Scholar
  4. Aycan, Z., Kanungo, R. N., & Sinha, J. B. (1999). Organizational culture and human resource management practices: The model of culture fit. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 30(4), 501–526.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, J., Rosenholtz, J. S., & Zelditch, M., Jr. (1980). Status organizing process. Annual Review of Sociology, 6, 479–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bitner, M. J., & Brown, S. W. (2008). The service imperative. Business Horizons, 51, 39–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Botero, I. C., & Van Dyne, L. (2009). Employee voice behavior interactive effects of LMX and power distance in the United States and Colombia. Management Communication Quarterly, 23(1), 84–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brockner, J., Ackerman, G., & Fairchild, G. (2001). When do elements of procedural fairness make a difference? A classification of moderating influences. In Cropanzano, R., & Greenberg, J. (Eds.), Advances in organizational justice (pp. 179–2012). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Burgoon, M., Dillard, J. P., Doran, N. E., & Milller, M. D. (1982). Cultural and situational influences on the process of persuasive strategy selection. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 6(1), 85–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buttle, F., & Burton, J. (2002). Does service failure influence customer loyalty? Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 1(3), 217–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dagger, T. S., & Sweeney, J. C. (2006). The effect of service evaluations on behavioral intentions and quality of life. Journal of Service Research, 9(1), 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Detert, J. R., & Burris, E. R. (2007). Leadership behavior and employee voice: Is the door really open? Academy of Management Journal, 50, 869–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dickson, M. W., Aditya, R. N., & Chhokar, J. S. (2000). Definition and interpretation in cross-cultural organizational culture research: Some pointers from the GLOBE research program. In N. Ashkanasy, C. Wilderom, & M. F. Peterson (Eds.), Handbook of organizational culture and climate (pp. 447–464). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Dong-Jin, L., & Sirgy, M. J. (2004). Quality-of-life marketing: proposed antecedents and consequences. Journal of Macromarketing, 24(1), 44–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Doron, I., Gal, I., Shavit, M., & Weisberg-Yosub, P. (2011). Unheard voices: Complaint patterns of older persons in the healthcare system. European Journal of Aging, 8, 63–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 350–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. European Commission. (2011). The Consumer Empowerment Index. Retrieved 15 June, 2014:
  18. European Commission. (2012). A European Consumer AgendaBoosting confidence and growth COM(2012) 225 final. Retrieved 15 June, 2014 from:
  19. Fisek, M. H., Berger, J., & Norman, R. Z. (1991). Participation in heterogeneous and homogeneous groups: A theoretical integration. American Journal of Sociology, 97(1), 114–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fornell, C., & Wernerfelt, B. (1988). A model for customer complaint management. Marketing Science, 7(3), 287–298.Google Scholar
  21. Fuller, J. B., Marler, L. E., & Hester, K. (2006). Promoting felt responsibility for constructive change and proactive behavior: Exploring aspects of an elaborated model of work design. Journal of OrganizationalBehavior, 27, 1089–1120.Google Scholar
  22. Gal, I., & Doron, I. (2007). Informal complaints on health services: Hidden patterns, hidden potentials. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 19(3), 158–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gane, N. (2005). Max Weber as a social theorist: ‘Class, status, party’. European Journal of Social Theory, 8(2), 211–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gelfand, M. J., Erez, M., & Aycan, Z. (2007). Cross-cultural organizational behavior. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 479–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Giordano, G. N., & Lindstorm, M. (2010). The impact of changes in different aspects of social capital and maternal conditions on self-rated health over time: A longitudinal cohort study. Social Science Medicine, 70, 700–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goodman, J. (1999). Basic facts on customer complaint behavior and the impact of service on the bottom line. Competitive Advantage, 9(1), 1–5.Google Scholar
  27. Gou, G., & Zhao, H. (2000). Multilevel modeling for binary data. Annual Review of Sociology., 26, 441–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gruber, T., Szmigin, I., & Voss, R. (2009). Handling customer complaints effectively: A comparison of the value maps of female and male complainants. Managing Service Quality, 19(6), 636–656.Google Scholar
  29. Gutek, B. A. (1995). The dynamics of service: Reflections on the changing nature of customer/provider interactions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  30. Hirokawa, G., & Miyahara, A. (1986). A comparison of influence strategies utilized by managers in American and Japanese organizations. Communication Quarterly, 34, 250–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, voice, and loyalty. Responses to decline in firms, organizations and states. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind (Rev 3 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  34. Homburg, C., & Furst, A. (2005). How organizational complaint handling drives customer loyalty: An analysis of the mechanistic and the organic approach. Journal of Marketing, 69, 95–114.Google Scholar
  35. House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P., & Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Ruiz-Quintanilla, S. A., Dorfman, P. W., Javidan, M., Dickson, M., & Gupta, V. (1999). Cultural influences on leadership: Project globe. In W. Mobley, J. Gessner, & V. Arnold (Eds.), Advances in Global Leadership, 1 (pp. 171–233). Stanford, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  37. House, R. J., Javidan, M., Hanges, P. J., & Dorfman, P. W. (2002). Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: An introduction to project GLOBE. Journal of World Business, 37, 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Iceland, J., Sharpe, C., & Steinmetz, E. (2005). Class differences in African American residential patterns in US metropolitan areas: 1990–2000. Social Science Research, 34, 252–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Islam, G., & Zyphur, M. J. (2005). Power, voice, and hierarchy: Exploring the antecedents of speaking up in groups. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 9(2), 93–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Johnson, M. D., Gustafsson, A., Andreassen, T. W., Lervik, L., & Cha, J. (2001). The evolution and future of national customer satisfaction index models. Journal of economic Psychology, 22(2), 217–245.Google Scholar
  41. Kasper, H., van Helsdingen, P., & De Vries, W. (1999). Services marketing management: An international perspective. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  42. Ladhari, R., Pons, F., Bressolles, G., & Zins, M. (2011). Culture and personal values: How they influence perceived service quality. Journal of Business Research, 64, 951–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. LePine, J. A., & Van Dyne, L. (1998). Predicting voice behavior in work groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 853–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Liao, H. (2007). Do It right this time: The role of employee service recovery performance in customer-perceived justice and customer loyalty after service failures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(2), 475–789.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Luria, G., Cnaan, R. A., & Boehm, A. (2014). National culture and prosocial behaviors: Results from 66 countries. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 1–25. doi: 10.1177/0899764014554456.
  46. Luria, G., Gal, I., & Yagil, D. (2009). Employees willingness to report service complaints. Journal of Service Research, 12(2), 156–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Maxham, J. G., & Netemeyer, R. G. (2002).A longitudinal study of complaining customers’ evaluation of multiple service failures and recovery efforts. Journal of Marketing, 66, 57–71.Google Scholar
  48. Mendonca, M., & Kanungo, R. N. (1994). Managing human resources the issue of cultural fit. Journal of Management Inquiry, 3(2), 189–205.Google Scholar
  49. Miceli, M. P., Near, J. P., & Dworkin, T. M. (2008). Whistle-Blowing in Organizations. New York: Psychology/Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  50. Morgeson, F. V., & Petrescu, C. (2011). Do they all perform alike? An examination of perceived performance, citizen satisfaction and trust with US federal agencies. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 77(3), 451–479.Google Scholar
  51. Morrison, E. W., & Rothman, N. B. (2009). Silence and the dynamic of power. In J. Greenberg, M. S. Edwards (Eds.), Voice and silence in organizations (pp. 111–133). UK: Emerald Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  52. Narayan-Parker, D. (Ed.). (2002). Empowerment and poverty reduction: A sourcebook. USA: World Bank Publications.Google Scholar
  53. Nardo, M., Loi, M., Rosat, R., & Manca A. (2011). The consumer empowerment index: A measure of skills, awareness and engagement of European consumers. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved June 20, 2014:
  54. Njoh, A. j. (1994). A client-satisfaction-based model of urban public service delivery organizational effectiveness. Social Indicators Research, 32, 263–296.Google Scholar
  55. Ostrom, A. L., Bitner, M. J., Brown, S. W., Burkhard, K. A., Goul, M., Smith-Daniels, V., & Rabinovich, E. (2010). Moving forward and making a difference: Research priorities for the science of service. Journal of Service Research, 13(1), 4–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. L. (1988). SERVQUAL: A multiple-item scale for measuring consumers perceptions of service quality. Journal of Retailing, 64(1), 12–37.Google Scholar
  57. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  58. Rhys, A., & Van de Walle, S. (2013). New public management and citizens’ perceptions of local service efficiency, responsiveness, equity and effectiveness. Public Management Review, 15(5), 762–783. doi: 10.1080/14719037.2012.7257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ridgeway, G. (2006). Assessing the effect of race bias in post-traffic stop outcomes using propensity scores. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 22, 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ridgeway, C. L., & Correll, S. J. (2006). Consensus and the creation of status beliefs. Social Forces, 85(1), 431–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ridgeway, C. L., & Erickson, K. G. (2000). Creating and spreading status beliefs. American Journal of Sociology, 106(3), 579–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schneider, B., & Bowen, D. (1995). Winning the service game. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  63. Singh, J. (1989). Determinants of consumers decisions to seek third party redress: An empirical study of dissatisfied patients. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 23(4), 329–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Skvoretz, J., & Fararo, T. J. (1996). Status and participation in task groups: A dynamic network model. American Journal of Sociology, 101, 1366–1414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Soares, M., Farhangmehr, M., & Shoham, A. (2007). Hofstede’s dimensions of culture in international marketing studies. Journal of Business Research, 60, 277–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Stamper, C. L., & Van Dyne, L. (2001). Work status and organizational citizenship behavior: A field study of restaurant employees. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22(5), 517–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Suki, N. M. (2014). Moderating role of gender in the relationship between hotel service quality dimensions and tourist satisfaction. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 15(1), 44–62.Google Scholar
  68. Tangirala, S., & Ramanujam, R. (2008). Exploring non-linearity in employee voice: The effects of personal control and organizational identification. Academy of Management Journal, 51(6), 1189–1203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Thorelli, H. B. (1971). Concentration of information power among consumers. Journal of Marketing Research, 8, 427–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Triandis, H. C. (1994). Culture and social behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  71. Tsai, C. T., & Su, C. S. (2009). Service failures and recovery strategies of chain restaurants in Taiwan. Service Industries Journal, 29(12), 1779–1796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Tyler, T. R., Lind, E. A., & Huo, Y. J. (2000). Cultural values and authority relations: The psychology of conflict resolution across cultures. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 6(4), 1138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. UNESCO. (2012). International Standard Classification of Education—ISCED 2011. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.Google Scholar
  74. Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., & Botero, I. C. (2003). Conceptualizing employee silence and employee voice as multidimensional constructs. Journal of Management Studies, 40(6), 1359–1392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Vannssche, S., Swicegood, G., & Matthijs, K. (2013). Marriage and children as a key to happiness? Cross-national differences in the effect marital status and children on well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 501–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vigoda-Gadot, E., & Mizrahi, S. (2008). Public sector management and the democratic ethos: A 5-year study of key relationships in Israel. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 18, 79–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Voorhees, C. M., Brady, M. K., & Horowitz, D. M. (2006). A Voice from the silent asses: An exploratory and comparative analysis of noncomplainers. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(4), 514–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Warland, R. H., Herrman, R. O., & Willits, J. (1975). Dissatisfied consumers: Who gets upset and who takes action. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 6, 148–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Weber, M. (1968). Economy and society. New York: Bedminster Press.Google Scholar
  80. Webster, M. J., & Foschi, M. (1988). Over- view of status generalization. In M. Webster Jr., & M. Foschi (Eds.). New theory and research. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  81. Webster, M. J., & Hysom, S. J. (1998). Creating status characteristics. American Sociological Review, 63(3), 351–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human ServicesUniversity of HaifaMount Carmel, HaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of HaifaMount Carmel, HaifaIsrael

Personalised recommendations