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EMAC 2023 Annual


Published: May 24, 2023


Maximilian Niederberger-Kern, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Maximilian Frieß, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; Manfred Schwaiger, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich


Service providers cannot entirely prevent service failures, which is why understanding consumer responses to failures has been a long-time priority for marketing academics and practitioners. While researchers have established consumers’ perception of (un)fairness as key mechanism underlying negative responses to failures, the nonfinancial losses that lead to per-ceived unfairness remain ambiguous. Based on an online between-subjects experiment with 345 participants, we explore how service failures are associated with a loss in perceived con-trol – consumers’ perception of being able to influence a service provision into a preferred di-rection. Results show that both, process and outcome failures (vs. no failure exchanges) nega-tively relate to perceived control, which mediates the relationship between service failures and consumers’ perceived (un-)fairness. Moreover, we show that the perceived loss of control is stronger when service importance is high (vs. low). Lastly, we find that the loss of control fol-lowing failure is associated with a higher desire for control in future interactions with the ser-vice provider, linking and advancing research on unfairness perceptions and research on re-coveries.