The impact of choice on fairness in the context of service recovery

Anna S. Mattila, David Cranage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Purpose - The paper proposes introducing a new antecedent to service recovery - that is customers' choice over some components of the service delivery process. The authors also examined the interactive effects of tangible compensation and apology on perceived fairness in a context of restaurant services. Design/methodology/approach - A 2 (choice) × 2 (compensation) × 2 (apology) between-subjects design was used to test the hypotheses. Subjects were exposed to a written scenario describing a restaurant experience. A total of 280 undergraduate students served as the subject pool. Findings - The study results indicate that choice, compensation and apology jointly influence customers' perceptions of informational fairness. The combined effects of apology and compensation were observed for interactional fairness, whereas only main effects were found for distributive justice. Finally, the findings suggest that the four facets of justice (distributive, procedural, interactive, and informational) are highly linked to post-recovery satisfaction. Research limitations/implications - Several limitations regarding this research should be kept in mind. First, students served as the sample pool for this investigation. Although the choice of students somewhat limits the generalizability of the results, the behaviors and responses of students and other market segments are likely to be more similar than different in service recovery incidents. Second, the manipulations involved absence and presence of three service recovery attributes (choice/no choice; compensation/no compensation, and apology/no apology). Consequently, different levels of these attributes might produce differential responses. Practical implications- The findings of this study highlight the benefits of a proactive management of the service recovery process. Originality/value - This research sheds some light on the role of choice in customer perceptions of service recovery processes. It also introduces a fourth dimension of justice - informational justice - to the service recovery literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of choice on fairness in the context of service recovery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this