Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 449–466 | Cite as

Multiple emotional contagions in service encounters

Original Empirical Research

Abstract

This paper investigates the dynamic impact of multiple sequential emotional displays by employees on customers’ negative emotions. Using video-based stimuli to manipulate emotional displays by employees, this study shows the sequential occurrences of negative and positive emotional contagions in service failure and recovery encounters. The results suggest that higher levels of employees’ negative emotional displays lead to a greater increase in customers’ negative emotions through the process of negative emotional contagion during service failure. More importantly, we find that positive emotional displays by employees can decrease customers’ negative emotions through the process of positive emotional contagion during service recovery, i.e., higher levels of employee positive emotional displays lead to a greater decrease in customers’ negative emotions. In addition, no matter whether customers experience higher or lower levels of employee positive emotional displays during service recovery, their final negative emotions cannot fully return to their emotional levels prior to service failure. However, for customers experiencing higher levels of employee positive emotional displays, their final negative emotions can be greatly mitigated and are closer to their initial emotional levels, as compared to customers experiencing lower levels of employee positive emotional displays. The results further indicate that susceptibility to emotional contagion increases the effect of employees’ negative (positive) emotional displays on customers’ negative emotions during service failure (recovery). The findings of this study suggest that service firms should provide effective training to their frontline service employees so that they can display proper positive emotions during service encounters.

Keywords

Multiple emotional contagions Emotional displays Negative emotions Service encounters Service failure and recovery 

References

  1. Andrade, E. B., & Cohen, J. B. (2007). On the consumption of negative feelings. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(4), 283–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antonides, G., Verhoef, P. C., & van Aalst, M. (2002). Consumer perception and evaluation of waiting time: a field experiment. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 12(3), 193–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barsade, S. G. (2002). The ripple effect: emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(12), 644–675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartel, C. A., & Saavedra, R. (2000). The collective construction of workgroup moods. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45, 197–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bateson, J. E. G., & Hui, M. M. (1992). The ecological validity of photographic slides and videotapes in simulating the service setting. Journal of Consumer Research, 19(3), 271–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boulding, W., Kalra, A., Staelin, R., & Zeithaml, V. (1993). A dynamic process model of service quality: from expectation to behavioral intentions. Journal of Marketing Research, 30(1), 7–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1980). Influence of extraversion and neuroticism on subjective well-being: happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 38, 668–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dallimore, K. S., Sparks, B. A., & Butcher, K. (2007). The influence of angry customer outbursts on service providers’ facial displays & affective states. Journal of Service Research, 10(1), 78–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dickson, K. L., Fogel, A., & Messinger, D. (1998). The development of emotion from a social process view. In M. F. Mascolo & S. Griffin (Eds.), What develops in emotional development? (pp. 253–271). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  10. Doherty, R. W., Orimoto, L., & Singelis, T. M. (1995). Emotional contagion, gender and occupational differences. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 19(3), 355–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. George, J. M. (1998). Salesperson mood at work: implications for helping customers. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 18, 23–30.Google Scholar
  12. Grandey, A. A., Fisk, G. M., Mattila, A. S., Jansen, K. J., & Sideman, L. A. (2005). Is ‘service with a smile’ enough? Authenticity of positive displays during service encounters. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 96(1), 38–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hennig-Thurau, T., Groth, M., Paul, M., & Gremler, D. D. (2006). Are all smiles created equal? How emotional contagion and emotional labor affect service relationships. Journal of Marketing, 70(3), 58–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Holbrook, M. B., & Batra, R. (1987). Assessing the role of emotions as mediators of consumer responses to advertising. Journal of Consumer Research, 14(3), 404–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kagan, L., Arcus, D., & Snidman, N. (1994). Reactivity in infants: a cross-national comparison. Developmental Psychology, 30(3), 342–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: an analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica, 47, 263–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Keller, P. A., Lipkus, A., & Rimer, B. K. (2003). Affect, framing, and persuasion. Journal of Marketing Research, 40(1), 54–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liu, J., Karasawa, K., & Weiner, B. (1992). Inferences about the causes of positive and negative emotions. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 18, 603–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Luong, A. (2005). Affective service display and customer mood. Journal of Service Research, 8(2), 117–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Oliver, R. L. (1993). Cognitive, affective and attribute bases of the satisfaction response. Journal of Consumer Research, 20(3), 418–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Omdahl, B. L., & O’Donnell, C. (1999). Emotional contagion, empathic concern and communicative responsiveness as variables affecting nurses’ stress and occupational commitment. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 29(6), 1351–1359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pugh, S. D. (2001). Service with a smile: emotional contagion in the service encounter. Academy of Management Journal, 44(12), 1018–1027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rafaeli, A., & Sutton, R. I. (1989). The expression of emotion in organisational life. In L. C. B. Straw (Ed.), Research in organisational behavior, 11 (pp. 1–42). Greenwich: JAI.Google Scholar
  26. Russell, J. A. (1995). Facial expressions of emotion: what lies beyond minimal univerality? Psychological Bulletin, 118, 379–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smith, A. K., & Bolton, R. N. (1998). Paradox or peril? An experimental investigation of customer reactions to service failure and recovery encounters. Journal of Service Research, 1(8), 65–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Smith, A. K., & Bolton, R. N. (2002). The effect of customers’ emotional responses to service failures on their recovery effort evaluations and satisfaction judgments. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(1), 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tax, S. S., Brown, S. W., & Chandrashekaran, M. (1998). Customer evaluations of service complaint experiences: implications for relationship marketing. The Journal of Marketing, 62(2), 60–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tsai, W. (2001). Determinants and consequences of employee displayed positive emotions. Journal of Management, 27(4), 497–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tsai, W., & Huang, Y. (2002). Mechanisms linking employee affective delivery and customer behavioral intentions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 1001–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Verbeke, W. (1997). Individual differences in emotional contagion of salespersons: its effect on performance and burnout. Psychology and Marketing, 4(9), 617–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Watson, D., Glark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Westbrook, R. A. (1987). Product/consumption-based affective responses and post purchase processes. Journal of Marketing Research, 24(3), 258–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Westbrook, R. A., & Oliver, R. L. (1991). The dimensionality of consumption emotion patterns and consumer satisfaction. Journal of Consumer Research, 18(1), 84–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessNankai UniversityTianjinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of ManagementFudan UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.The Center for Service Marketing and Management, School of ManagementFudan UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations