Understanding Consumers' Relationships with Service Organizations through Psychological Contracts
Committee ChairLotz, Sherry
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBy incorporating a psychological contract perspective into the relationship marketing literature, this study intends to capture the resource exchange process between consumers and their organizations and contribute to the theory construction of relationship marketing, especially in the business-to-consumer context. A model of consumers' psychological contract in a consumer-service firm context was established. In this model, consumers' perceptions of different marketing strategies offered by a firm as well as their individual characteristics were proposed to determine their formation of types of psychological contracts with the firm, which may then bind consumers to present certain relational behaviors.Data of this study were collected via a web-based self-administered survey. Three variations of a questionnaire were used to elicit consumers' responses from various service categories. 775 general U.S. consumers in a well-maintained consumer panel completed the survey. Direct hypotheses were tested through simple structural equation modeling. Comparative hypotheses were tested through nested model comparisons. And moderating hypotheses were tested through moderated regression analysis and structural models of latent interactions.The results of this study provided general support to the model and found that marketing strategies, representing an organization's resources and offerings to consumers in a market, can activate certain types of consumers' psychological contracts. Furthermore, a certain type of psychological contract may only be activated when a certain marketing strategy offered by an organization falls into the same mental resource category with this type of psychological contract. In addition, this study found that although consumers who form any type of psychological contract may intend to remain in the relationship with a service firm, only consumers with relational or communal contracts may coproduce in service firms' service delivery process. Finally, the findings of this study revealed that consumers' certain individual traits such as consumers' existence needs in services and consumers' creditor ideology may shape their relationship formation process with service firms
Degree ProgramFamily & Consumer Sciences