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Disrespect in Consumer Markets: An analysis of causes and effects using the Critical Incident Technique

As consumer reportings of disrespect become more frequent, it is important to gain an in-depth understanding of potential causes and consequences of disrespectful behaviour. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to examine behaviours that define disrespect in the marketplace, the effects on customers and implications on organisations. The findings revealed six main themes representing causes or influencers of disrespect. These are rude responses, perceptions of discrimination, the presence of an audience, a sale-focussed atmosphere, personal conversations and process-related problems. Two important concepts emerged through analysis of behaviours that cause disrespect. The first considers that disrespectful behaviour can be categorised as being either person-related or process-related. An important finding was that switching behaviour dominantly resulted from process-related disrespect. The second emergent concept was based on the idea that some causes of disrespect may be specific to market environments. In such cases, perceptions of disrespect were influenced by the high standards of service that customers expect in the marketplace. Analysing the effects of disrespect on customers also revealed new findings. It was interesting to find that victims considered the offender‟s perspective following a disrespectful encounter. Evidence of this transpired through empathy towards the disrespectful party and concern for the organisation. Two distinct coping mechanisms used by victims were also uncovered. These were decisions to change future behaviour and mutual disrespect. In regards to implications of disrespect on organisations, many disrespected customers continued patronising organisations responsible; however, this was accompanied by a decrease in relationship strength.
Type of thesis
Kumar, N. (2009). Disrespect in Consumer Markets: An analysis of causes and effects using the Critical Incident Technique (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3274
The University of Waikato
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