Consumer responses to high service attentiveness: a cross-cultural examination

Maggie Wenjing Liu, Lijun Zhang, Hean Tat Keh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Although the literature generally indicates that service attentiveness can increase consumer satisfaction, providing extra care and attention in service encounters may backfire and lead to negative consumer outcomes. In addition, because of cross-cultural differences, the effects of high service attentiveness may vary across international markets. The authors conduct a qualitative study, a field experiment, and two laboratory experiments in three countries (Canada, the United States, and China) across various service contexts (hairdressing, telecommunications, and computer repair) to examine cross-cultural consumer responses toward high service attentiveness. Consumers’ negative responses toward high service attentiveness are mediated by their suspicion of ulterior motive, which varies according to their self-construal. Specifically, consumers with an interdependent self-construal (either chronic or primed) tend to have greater suspicion of and negative responses toward high service attentiveness. Furthermore, the effect of interdependent self-construal fostering greater suspicion is attributed to a sharper in-group (vs. out-group) distinction, which is mitigated when the service employee is perceived to be an in-group member. The authors conclude by discussing the theoretical and managerial implications and suggesting future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-73
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of International Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • consumer responses
  • cultural difference
  • high service attentiveness
  • self-construal
  • suspicion

Cite this