The increasing globalization of business provides a compelling reason for understanding the cultural context of consumer behavior. The research reported here examines the impact of culture on consumers' perceptions of service recovery efforts. In particular, we studied in an experimental setting, across East-West cultures, the combined effects of explanation and compensation in shaping customers' attributions and post-recovery perceptions in a medium contact service-a restaurant setting. Our findings show that the differential sensitivity of East Asian and American consumers to situational constraints influence their attributions for service failures, and thus moderate their satisfaction with service recovery process. More specifically, the results suggest that a causal explanation for service failure decreases the likelihood of US consumers falling prey to the fundamental attribution error. Conversely, among East Asians, an explanation had minimal influence in attributional processes. Finally, our results indicate that attributional processes influence customer perceptions of employee effort, which in turn is linked to post-recovery satisfaction.
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