This research explores customers’ causal attributions (locus, stability, and controllability) and overall blame following three different types of service failures: self-service technology (SST), employee, and firm policy. It also studies the effects of the severity of a failure on overall blame and the moderating effects of technology anxiety (TA) on the relationship between failure types and overall blame. A paper-based survey with an experimental between-groups design (three types of failures × two levels of severity) was distributed to 300 staff members at a northeastern university in the USA. Customers perceived cause and blame differently. They rated causal attributions the highest in a policy failure and the lowest in an SST failure. Customers saw policy failure as a more external, stable, and controllable cause of problems than an SST failure. When it comes to overall blame to firms, customers are more likely to blame a firm for an SST failure than for an employee failure. The findings of the study suggest that careful attention should be paid to SST failures and emphasize need for zero defects and recovery strategy development for SST failure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Management Information Systems
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management