Powerlessness following service failure and its implications for service recovery

Jimmy Wong, Joshua Daniel Newton, Fiona Joy Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This research examines whether service failure in hospitality settings reduces situational power and whether feelings of powerlessness have implications for service recovery efforts. Three studies demonstrated that service failure reduced consumers’ situational power, but only among those with high dispositional power motivation (studies 1 and 2). Moreover, those with high dispositional power motivation evinced greater satisfaction with service recovery efforts that involved status-enhancing compensation as opposed to utility-enhancing compensation (study 2), and when status-enhancing compensation was presented in public as opposed to in private (study 3). These findings suggest that consumers with high dispositional power motivation prefer service recovery attempts that counteract the feelings of powerlessness they experience from service failure. Service managers can benefit from these findings by understanding how feelings of power interact with service recovery efforts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63 - 75
Number of pages13
JournalMarketing Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Situational power
  • Dispositional power motivation
  • Service failure
  • Service recovery

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