Customer positivity and participation in services: an empirical test in a health care context

  • Andrew S. GallanEmail author
  • Cheryl Burke Jarvis
  • Stephen W. Brown
  • Mary Jo Bitner
Original Empirical Research


Many service interactions require customers to actively participate, yet customers often do not participate at levels that optimize their outcomes, particularly in health care. To gain insight into how customers shape a service experience with highly uncertain outcomes, we construct a model on the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. The model is used to empirically assess how situation-specific emotions and customer participation during a health care service experience affect perceptions of the service provider. The model is tested using data from 190 medical clinic customers. Consistent with theory, results reveal that as customers’ relative affect levels become more positive, levels of participation increase as well. In turn, higher levels of positivity and participation improve customer perceptions of the quality of the service provider and satisfaction with the co-produced service experience. Implications of this research focus managers on designing services to help clients manage their emotions in ways that facilitate positivity and participation and thus improve service perceptions.


Customer participation Service quality Customer satisfaction Professional services Broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions Value co-creation 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and financial support of a major national healthcare organization and Center for Services Leadership in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. We appreciate the helpful comments of Jagdip Singh and Ruth Bolton on previous versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew S. Gallan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cheryl Burke Jarvis
    • 2
  • Stephen W. Brown
    • 3
  • Mary Jo Bitner
    • 3
  1. 1.Driehaus College of BusinessDePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.College of BusinessSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA
  3. 3.W.P. Carey School of BusinessArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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