Research in services marketing suggests that services consist of two components: (a) the core service (e.g., the dinner served at a nice restaurant) and (b) the relationship between the service provider and the client (e.g., the friendliness of the waiter). These dimensions are logical analogues to those in the social psychological literature describing leaders effective at task-oriented behaviors (i.e., those focused on getting the job done) and social-oriented behaviors (i.e., those leaders focused on maintaining group cohesion). A third literature, on gender differences, consistently describes men as agentic (i.e., goal oriented) and women as communal (socially oriented). A synthesis of the ideas from these literatures suggests hypotheses regarding which factors should be most influential to male and female consumers in determining customer satisfaction with service encounters. The results from three experiments provide support for the hypothesis that women may be generally more sensitive to relational aspects of a service encounter and men to core aspects, though there appear to be several factors moderating these findings which are not easily explained in a simple, unified theory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology