Emotions and Complaining Behavior Following Service Failure

One feature of a democratic society is voice, especially the freedom to dissent. One form of dissent of relevance to organizational scholars is complaining, whether it be complaints from employee stakeholder groups or customer stakeholder groups. Despite the increased ability that the knowledge economy provides for people of all walks of life and nationalities to voice complaint, little is known about the antecedents and consequences of complaining. This paper addresses this issue with respect to customers' response to service failures. Specifically, this paper develops a conceptual model for service settings building upon a model of emotional and cognitive response formation to an affective event (Hartel, McColl-Kennedy & Bennett, 2002), and its source theory, Weiss and Cropanzano's (1995) Affective Events Theory (AET). We argue that when a service failure occurs, a number of cognitive and affective responses take place in consumers. The proposed model aims to operationalize affective responses to service failures in the marketplace. 'Affective response' refers to cognitive, emotional, behavioral and neuropsychological responses to emotional events. As such, the model makes explicit the relationships between and factors within each of these domains of affect expression.