Existential Guilt and Preferential Treatment

The Case of an Airline Upgrade

Anna S. Mattila, Lydia Hanks, Lu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using the context of an unexpected airline upgrade, we examined factors that influence an individual's reaction when they are overrewarded compared to others: guilt-proneness and relationship to the other, underrewarded, individuals. Results demonstrated that for individuals high in guilt-proneness, satisfaction with the upgrade and behavioral intent may be qualified by a feeling of existential guilt when they receive benefits that others do not, particularly if they have a close relationship with those others. Our results extend the research in advantageous inequality by showing that people high in guilt-proneness tend to have a heightened sensitivity to such injustices. Our findings also have important implications for the hospitality, airline, and travel industries: for customers high in guilt-proneness, receiving an expected upgrade may, in fact, have unintended negative results. Managers can use this information to make employees aware of the potential detrimental effects of rewarding or upgrading only one member of a party.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-599
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Fingerprint

guilt
industry
Information use
Managers
Personnel
Industry
customer
travel
employee
effect
Preferential treatment
Upgrade
Guilt
Airlines
manager

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

Cite this

@article{ff46a329409247f1a948255a292036bc,
title = "Existential Guilt and Preferential Treatment: The Case of an Airline Upgrade",
abstract = "Using the context of an unexpected airline upgrade, we examined factors that influence an individual's reaction when they are overrewarded compared to others: guilt-proneness and relationship to the other, underrewarded, individuals. Results demonstrated that for individuals high in guilt-proneness, satisfaction with the upgrade and behavioral intent may be qualified by a feeling of existential guilt when they receive benefits that others do not, particularly if they have a close relationship with those others. Our results extend the research in advantageous inequality by showing that people high in guilt-proneness tend to have a heightened sensitivity to such injustices. Our findings also have important implications for the hospitality, airline, and travel industries: for customers high in guilt-proneness, receiving an expected upgrade may, in fact, have unintended negative results. Managers can use this information to make employees aware of the potential detrimental effects of rewarding or upgrading only one member of a party.",
author = "Mattila, {Anna S.} and Lydia Hanks and Lu Zhang",
year = "2013",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0047287513478504",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "52",
pages = "591--599",
journal = "Journal of Travel Research",
issn = "0047-2875",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "5",

}

Existential Guilt and Preferential Treatment : The Case of an Airline Upgrade. / Mattila, Anna S.; Hanks, Lydia; Zhang, Lu.

In: Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 52, No. 5, 01.01.2013, p. 591-599.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Existential Guilt and Preferential Treatment

T2 - The Case of an Airline Upgrade

AU - Mattila, Anna S.

AU - Hanks, Lydia

AU - Zhang, Lu

PY - 2013/1/1

Y1 - 2013/1/1

N2 - Using the context of an unexpected airline upgrade, we examined factors that influence an individual's reaction when they are overrewarded compared to others: guilt-proneness and relationship to the other, underrewarded, individuals. Results demonstrated that for individuals high in guilt-proneness, satisfaction with the upgrade and behavioral intent may be qualified by a feeling of existential guilt when they receive benefits that others do not, particularly if they have a close relationship with those others. Our results extend the research in advantageous inequality by showing that people high in guilt-proneness tend to have a heightened sensitivity to such injustices. Our findings also have important implications for the hospitality, airline, and travel industries: for customers high in guilt-proneness, receiving an expected upgrade may, in fact, have unintended negative results. Managers can use this information to make employees aware of the potential detrimental effects of rewarding or upgrading only one member of a party.

AB - Using the context of an unexpected airline upgrade, we examined factors that influence an individual's reaction when they are overrewarded compared to others: guilt-proneness and relationship to the other, underrewarded, individuals. Results demonstrated that for individuals high in guilt-proneness, satisfaction with the upgrade and behavioral intent may be qualified by a feeling of existential guilt when they receive benefits that others do not, particularly if they have a close relationship with those others. Our results extend the research in advantageous inequality by showing that people high in guilt-proneness tend to have a heightened sensitivity to such injustices. Our findings also have important implications for the hospitality, airline, and travel industries: for customers high in guilt-proneness, receiving an expected upgrade may, in fact, have unintended negative results. Managers can use this information to make employees aware of the potential detrimental effects of rewarding or upgrading only one member of a party.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84881004430&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84881004430&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0047287513478504

DO - 10.1177/0047287513478504

M3 - Article

VL - 52

SP - 591

EP - 599

JO - Journal of Travel Research

JF - Journal of Travel Research

SN - 0047-2875

IS - 5

ER -