Service failure of intermediary service: impact of ambiguous locus of control

Bo Youn Lee, David A. Cranage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of ambiguous Locus of Control (LOC) on customers’ evaluations after service failures in the tourism distribution channel between intermediaries (travel agents) and suppliers (hotels). A three (Locus: ambiguity, intermediary, and supplier) × two (Severity: severe versus mild) between-subject design was employed. Findings indicate that customers’ evaluations are more negative of an intermediary (travel agent) than of a supplier (hotel) when customers do not know who is at fault. In addition, when service failure is severe, consumers who do not know who is at fault (perceiving an ambiguous LOC) are more dissatisfied with the service failure than those who know who caused the failure (perceiving a clear LOC). Furthermore, customers who served themselves (self-service; high participation) are more likely to attribute service failure to a supplier than customers who were served by an intermediary (intermediary service; low participation).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-530
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Travel and Tourism Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 4 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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