Emotion-Sourced Variation in Service Operations
Shell, Michelle Antonio Kinch
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CitationShell, Michelle Antonio Kinch. 2020. Emotion-Sourced Variation in Service Operations. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Business School.
AbstractWhile multiple literatures suggest that emotion shapes behavior and satisfaction in experiences, there has yet to be a concerted effort to explicitly consider human emotion – whether from customer or employee -- as a source of variability in operations management (Karmarkar, 2015; Dasu and Chase, 2013). Environmental emotions, those that are endemic to the service, or emotions stimulated by operational design choices may each exert influences on service outcomes that providers and scholars alike have yet to consider. As scholarly work to arrive at an agreed upon theoretical foundation for the study of service operations has continued, open empirical questions remain about 1) the magnitude and predictability of emotion’s influence on service outcomes, 2) the opportunity to affect emotional experience through service design and 3) the role that technology plays – particularly in self-service contexts (Berry et al, 2015).
This body of work uses both laboratory and field experimentation to understand the impacts of emotional sources of variability to operational performance and to investigate the potential for more empathic service design to improve customer engagement while preserving sought-after efficiencies. Across three investigations, set in the domains of financial services and ride-sharing, I show that anxiety, whether it is directly related to the decision at hand or not, is a source of variation that exerts a costly influence on choice satisfaction and decision-making that spills over to affect service relationships. I also find that these previously ignored effects can be mitigated through relatively low-cost service design choices.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364456