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Business and Management.
The physical and atmospheric cues in service environments have long been accepted as potent contributors to consumers’ overall evaluations of their service experiences. Theoretical frameworks conceptualising how these environmental cues impact on both emotional and cognitive processes have been put forward, yet the empirical work supporting these theories has become highly disjointed with a great deal of confusion regarding what should be classified as an environmental stimulus. By integrating the extant literature, this dissertation attempts to overcome theoretical ambiguities and proposes a second order factor model of service environments, also known as the servicescape, which is subsequently tested using a multi-item servicescape scale that is developed herein. The service chosen to test the applicability of this model was a low involvement, utilitarian service. The rationale for this choice is that there is a dearth of research in services which are frequently used by consumers, with a greater emphasis placed on services which are more experiential in nature. The analysis demonstrates that the servicescape adheres to a multi-dimensional structure, wherein, each of the sub- constructs are related to one another through a higher level of abstraction.
This dissertation also highlights the theoretical confusion that exists between the service quality and servicescapes literature. Rather than subsume the servicescape as an additional dimension within the service quality construct, it is proposed that the servicescape is theoretically distinct whereby it implicitly communicates to consumers the level of service quality they should expect to receive. This view regards the servicescape as an antecedent to service quality with service quality depicted as a parsimonious, two dimensional structure. This relationship is tested using structural equation modelling and it is shown how various aspects of the servicescape impact upon service quality.
Emotional reactions are widely regarded as direct consequences of servicescape evaluations; similarly, consumption emotions are thought to be synonymous with customer satisfaction. This premise is tested through a comprehensive model which tests whether consumers adhere to a more emotive processing system, or to one where cognitive processes dominate. In addition, the model also elucidates how modelling the servicescape as a multi-dimensional structure allows one to determine which aspects of the servicescape are more salient than others. Finally, the dissertation concludes with a discussion on the implications of the findings as well as providing recommendations for further research in this area.
Hooper, D. (2008). The Influence of the Servicescape on Post-Consumption Processes Doctoral Thesis, Dublin Institute of Technology.doi:10.21427/D7TS43