The Positive Effects of Customers’ Power on Their Behavioral Responses After Service Failure

Agung Sembada, Yelena Tsarenko, Dewi Tojib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Challenging the conventional perception that “power corrupts,” the authors assert that activation of customer power before a service encounter can lead to less negative behavioral manifestations toward a service provider after a service failure. Three experimental studies help substantiate this contention. Study 1 shows a sequential mediation process of how increased power leads to a more positive secondary appraisal and lessens the perceived severity of a failure. This process ultimately leads to (1) lower intentions for revenge and (2) lower demanded compensation. Study 2 solidifies these findings using stimuli for power inducement easily replicable by service managers. Study 3 establishes the boundary conditions and finds that the positive effects of power in postservice failure only holds for a single service failure context but not a double deviation context. This research offers an integrated explanation of how power leads to more positive behavioral actions through a sequential mediation effect involving cognitive appraisals. In doing so, this research sheds light on the nuances of power in affecting customer behavior. The practical method of activating perceived power may motivate service managers to apply it to buffer the potential negative effects of service failure. However, caution is advised, as such effects may diminish in the context of a series of failed resolution attempts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-351
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • cognitive appraisal
  • compensation
  • customer power
  • double deviation
  • revenge
  • service failure severity

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