Witnessing verbal aggression: role of customers' self-conscious emotions
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CitationOkan, M., & Elmadağ, A. B. (2020). Witnessing verbal aggression: role of customers’ self-conscious emotions. Journal of Services Marketing. 34(2), 253-268, DOI: 10.1108/JSM-01-2019-0037
Purpose This paper aims to examine the widespread effects of service actors' verbal aggression on witness customers' intentions toward the service organizations through their self-conscious emotions. The moderating roles of the witness customers' empathic tendencies and the source of aggression are also examined. Design/methodology/approach In two scenario-based experiments and by adopting a multifoci approach, severity of mistreatment (aggression vs incivility vs no-mistreatment) and source of mistreatment (employee-to-employee and customer-to-customer) were manipulated to test distinctive effects of witnessing aggression on self-conscious emotions and intentions. Findings This study shows that witnessing aggression during service experiences negatively influences customers' intentions towards the service organization through self-conscious emotions. Moreover, empathic tendencies of customers make these effects more pronounced. It is also shown that witnessing employee-to-employee aggression has a stronger effect on self-conscious emotions and intentions than customer-to-customer aggression. Originality/value This paper is one of the first attempts to investigate the distinctive effects of witnessing aggression during service experiences and the roles of self-conscious emotions and emphatic tendencies.