A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Resource Misuse and Value (Co) destruction: An Abstract
This paper presents the findings of a study aiming to assess how service customers from different cultures experience value (co)destruction. VCD results from the “misuse” (intentional or accidental) of one system’s resources by another system (Plé and Chumpitaz Cáceres 2010) involving concepts of resource loss, goal denial, and loss of subjective well-being. The critical incident technique (CIT) was adopted. Interpretive analysis of the narratives of 100 Chinese and 100 UK service customers suggested four thematic clusters or meta-themes.
Findings were grouped in four meta-themes. Rejected: PRC (39); UK (35). The main theme was that of “rejection” by service organizations and their employees. “Rejection, exclusion and disapproval” result in loss of status and self-esteem and are antecedents to both sadness and anger. Cheated: PRC (25); UK (18). The angriest customers were those who felt cheated by service organizations. For these a main underlying theme was financial loss where respondents had either paid for a service they had not received/did not want or where the service provider failed to deliver the required service once payment had been made. Burdened: PRC (20); UK (26). Others described negative encounters where they were required to expend a significant amount of their time and/or effort typically involving a sense of helplessness or powerlessness. Customers were unhappy or dissatisfied. Defeated: PRC (16; UK (21). These focussed on the service organization’s mistakes and ultimate failure to deliver the required service. Reality fell short of expectations (antecedents of sadness) resulting in “frustration or interruption of a goal directed activity” (antecedent of anger).
This study addresses an under-researched area by exploring the process of value (co)destruction within cultural context. Each of the four profiles – rejected, cheated, burdened, and defeated – reflects different emphasis by customers in their interpretation of the service exchange process and on two major underlying themes which transcend cultures. First is the customer’s need to be valued and respected as a social interactant. When this does not occur, an aversive loss of self-esteem (personal resource) will result (Leary 2007). Few tools exist to help service managers focus on the process of value (co)destruction. The profiling approach discussed here creates parsimonious templates reflecting the main issues of concern to customers, how these are common to or differ between cultures and a means of classifying service failure.
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