The effects of customer participation on service outcomes : a fit perspective
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Previous research in customer participation argues that customer participation positively influences service quality and customer satisfaction. However, operations management takes a different view by suggesting that decreasing customer contact is desirable. In practice, customers also respond differently toward participation. The inconsistency and confusion in both research and practice motivate this dissertation is to investigate under what conditions customer participation is beneficial. This dissertation includes two empirical studies. Study I empirically verifies that too much participation could have negative effects on customers. Study II further investigates the boundary conditions of the participation - outcome relationships. Adopting a "fit" perspective, this dissertation contends that the effects of customer participation on service outcomes are contingent upon the fit between the co-production task and the customer along a number of dimensions. A fit-related theoretical framework is proposed, with the expectation that increasing customer participation is desirable when customers (1) perceive they have the ability and skills to complete the required tasks, (2) value the benefits provided by the co-production tasks, (3) positively identify with a production/service role, and (4) desire a greater amount of control of the service outcome. The results support the theoretical model. The important theoretical contributions and managerial implications of the dissertation are further discussed.
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