The Interplay of Gender and Affective Tone in Service Encounter Satisfaction

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103 Scopus citations


Does a smiling employee make a difference? Do men and women evaluate emotional cues differently in a commercial service setting? Previous work suggests that positive affective displays influence customer responses to service encounters, yet the impact of gender on these evaluations remains unclear. The main objective of this study was to examine whether men and women respond differently to positive and negative affective displays in brief, mundane service encounters. Consistent with North American gender stereotypes and process focus, women in this study were less satisfied than men with negative emotional displays during an otherwise smooth service exchange. Conversely, in process failure situations, negative affective displays had a double whammy impact on men participants’ satisfaction ratings. The implications of these findings to service managers are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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