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Social-Servicescape Conceptual Model

Alastair Tombs, Janet R. Mccoll-Kennedy
Published 2003 · Psychology, Business

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There is considerable evidence that environmental variables can substantially influence consumer behavior in service settings (cf. Turley and Milliman, 2000). However, research to date has focused on the effects of the physical elements (‘atmospherics’), with the social aspects (customers and service providers) of the environment largely ignored. First, we provide a review of the extant literature drawing on four major streams of research from (1) previous marketing (servicescapes); (2) environmental psychology (approach–avoidance theory, behavior setting theory); (3) social psychology (social facilitation theory); and (4) organizational behavior (affective events theory). Second, we present a new conceptual model, the ‘Social-servicescape’. In this paper we argue that the social environment and purchase occasion dictates the desired social density which influences customers’ affective and cognitive responses, including repurchase intentions. Furthermore, we argue that customers play a key role in influencing the emotions of others either positively or negatively, and this largely determines whether they intend to return to the service setting. Implications of this conceptual model for theory and practice are discussed.
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