Exploring consumer conflict management in service encounters

Michael B. Beverland, Steven M. Kates, Adam Lindgreen, Emily Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (SciVal)


Consumer researchers have yet to examine how consumers frame and deal with conflict. Understanding how consumers manage conflict is essential for service providers seeking to effectively recover instances of service failure, and avoid the costs associated with increasing instances of consumer anger. Using a modified grounded theory approach, we develop a model of consumer conflict management drawing on 39 informant accounts of service failures. The emergent model proposes that consumers’ conflict style is related to whether conflict is framed in task or personal terms. Task-framed conflicts resulted in more productive conflict styles than those framed in personal terms. Self vs. other orientation moderated the relationship between conflict frame and conflict style. These findings help us better understand the nature of consumer conflict and identify the importance of carefully targeting service recovery efforts to reduce instances of anger.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-633
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number5
Early online date3 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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