A scenario-based experiment and a field study: A comparative examination for service failure and recovery
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Scenario-based experiments are an important method in service marketing, especially in the field of service failures and service recoveries. Field studies on these topical areas are rare because of the expense and ethical issues in a real setting. However, this raises a question: Can the results obtained from experiments accurately predict real-world field behavior? In order to obtain more accurate information regarding service failures and recoveries, this study compares the results from a scenario-based experiment with those from a field study. The findings provided mixed support for the concordance between the scenario-based experimental results and those obtained in a field setting. Negative emotions, such as anger and discontent toward service failures, were consistent in both cases. However, positive emotions (i.e., contentment with recovery efforts and overall satisfaction) and switching behavioral intentions significantly differed depending on the data source (i.e., scenario or field). Specifically, the scenario experiments tended to overstate positive feelings and understate negative behavioral intentions resulting from service failures. An analysis of these differences suggests practical implications to enhance the design of future scenario-based experiments.
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