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Title: Effects of tourist complaining constraints on justice perceptions and loyalty intention : using culture and magnitude as moderators
Authors: Ekiz, Haktan Erdogan
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Receiving complaints is important for service companies in general (Christiansen, & Snepenger, 2002) and for tourism companies in particular (Boksberger, 2008; Ekiz, & Au, 2009). However, the majority of dissatisfied tourists are ready to just walk away and never come back (Cohen, 2004; Witt, & Moutinho, 1994). To prevent this from happening, it is imperative for tourism industry managers to understand the factors that discourage tourists from complaining, in other words, the factors that constrain them from voicing their complaints (Zemke, & Anderson, 2007). An extensive review of tourism literature reveals that most studies directly applied general consumer behavior theories without considering the unique features of the tourism industry (Hsu, Tsai, & Wu, 2009; Hudson, & Ritchie, 2001; Josiam, Kinley, & Kim, 2005). Tourism present the characteristics of services very much in general (Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler, 2006) but is also intrinsically a non-ordinary and non-routine experience (Voase, 1995). Tourists have a different mindset (McCabe, & Marson, 2006) and perceive, behave and react 'differently' (Jafari, & Way, 1994; Uriely, 2005) when taking their holidays (Jafari, & Gardner, 1991). Therefore, the intention of this research is to firstly develop a new measurement scale namely tourist complaining constraints (TCC), being tailor-made to incorporate unique features of the tourism industry. Secondly, the objective is to analyze relationships between the TCC factors and justice perceptions, and finally determine how cultural background and magnitude of failure moderate these relationships. To achieve this, a comprehensive review of consumer and tourist behavior literature was necessary. Results suggested the following constructs as possible TCC factors: limited time, unfamiliarity, limited communication, limited involvement and positive holiday mood. These factors were then evaluated, modified, tested and confirmed through qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (questionnaires) research (DeVellis, 2003; Nunnally, 1978). The following research questions have been proposed to help achieve this: - How do tourist complaining constraints affect justice perceptions of the efforts of organizations - How do the justice perceptions of tourists’ affect their loyalty to the organization, and - To what extent does their cultural background and magnitude of failure moderate the relationships between tourist complaining constraints, justice perceptions and loyalty to the organization.
To answer these questions, a review of relevant literature covering consumer complaining behavior and tourist behavior was necessary. Results of this review were used to develop a set of interview questions (TCC dimensions) and questionnaire items (justice and loyalty dimensions). Transcripts created from 15 in-depth interviews with Chinese and American graduate students generated an initial pool of 61 items. Thereafter, through the examination of dimensionality, reliability, factor structure and validity, these items were purified (Hair, Money, Samouel, & Page, 2007; Churchill, 1979). Through judgmental sampling 1,822 respondents from China and America, were recruited for input into the study. These included 884 Chinese and 938 American graduate students. Using a set of multiple-choice questions, the students were asked to read and consider a failure scenario and to provide answers based on a seven-point Likert scale (Likert, 1932). A series of comprehensive data analysis was collected which included descriptive, multivariate and structural equation modeling producing a 15-item TCC scale. Five factors emerged as statistically reliable and valid (Babbie, 2004). Results of the SEM analyses indicated that the hypothesized model fitted the data reasonably well based on several well-accepted indices (Joreskog, & Sorbom, 1996). Through conducting both exploratory and confirmatory factors analyses and overall factorial structure of five TCC dimensions, three justice perception dimensions and loyalty intention dimensions were thereafter confirmed. Results from the path analysis indicated that in the main hypothesized relationships were supported From the service recovery perspective, it is crucial for tourism managers to know the factors affecting their customers’ complaining behaviors (Ekiz, & Au, 2009). Keeping this in mind, the thesis investigated tourist complaining behavior and the effects of national culture and magnitude of failure. Major findings from this research are listed below. - This thesis developed a tailor-made multiple-item measurement scale, TCC, which contains five factors that constrains tourists complaining behavior. - Limited time, unfamiliarity, limited communication, limited involvement and being in a positive holiday mood are factors that hinder tourists complaining behavior. - Cultural background of the respondents affects the perceived importance of these constraining factors. - The TCC scale fills the gap in tourism literature by highlighting the differences between consumer and tourist complaining behaviors. - With regard to the relationship between justice perceptions and loyalty intentions to the company, results suggest that hotel guests expect a fair recovery to keep them loyal to the company, regardless of their cultural background. - The magnitude of failure significantly moderates the relationship from justice perceptions to loyalty intentions in all sub-samples. Academic and industrial implications, as well as a detailed discussion of each in the light of existing literature, are provided within this thesis. Therefore, findings from this thesis should be interpreted in light of these limitations. The methodology used to manage empirical research may have inherent limitations including the use of a non-probabilistic sampling technique (Schoemaker, 1993), using scenarios (Casado-Diaz et al., 2007) and student respondents (Ekiz et al., 2008). This methodology with similar research steps, has found strong support in consumer behavior studies (Fornell, & Westbrook, 1979; Hess et al., 2003) and tourism literature (Fu, & Mount, 2007; Heung, & Lam, 2003; O'Neill, & Mattila, 2004). Future studies can (i) use one of the probabilistic sampling techniques, (ii) focus on finding and studying real failures and (iii) select actual tourists who are currently having their holidays or leaving at ports of exit after holidays. As a closing note, replication studies using a larger sample size elsewhere with members of different cultures would be fruitful for further generalization of the newly developed TCC scale.
Subjects: Tourists -- Attitudes.
Consumer complaints.
Consumer satisfaction.
Hospitality industry -- Management.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xiv, 434 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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