The role of expectations on consumer interpretation of new information

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 2017, 27 (3), pp. 569 - 615
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of consumers’ expectations and their antecedents on beliefs, attitude and behavioral intentions when they respond to new corporate social responsibility (CSR) information about a service firm. Design/methodology/approach: Empirically, the authors measure prior beliefs, and then calibrate how those beliefs change in response to a piece of news. The authors develop a conceptual model articulating the nature and antecedents of three types of expectations: would, could and should. The authors use structural equation modeling to test how these expectations influence the consumer evaluation process. Findings: The results show that the effect of could expectations on the evaluation process is felt via their influence on would expectations; that is, would expectations fully mediate the relationship between could expectations and attitude toward news. Similarly, attitude toward news fully mediates the relationship between would and should expectations and updated beliefs about the firm. Research limitations/implications: In the selected service industry, the findings show that expectations are mediated by the new information that consumers receive when they are updating their prior beliefs. The authors demonstrate the ability to understand the antecedents of expectations, which provides a vehicle by which the organization can influence the consumer evaluation process. Practical implications: In practice, managers can identify the antecedents of consumer expectations and thus influence the reference points against which those consumers will evaluate news about their product. Social implications: CSR has important implications for multiple stakeholders and the authors calibrate the determinants of how news about the organization’s performance on it may affect consumer decision processes. Originality/value: The paper introduces “could” expectations into the services literature, examines the antecedents of the different types of expectations, and studies how their effect is felt through the evaluation process.
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