Dynamics of emotional responses and emotion regulation during multistage waiting

Seontaik Kim, Purdue University


Service consumption often involves different waiting stages over the course of service delivery. Such waiting is a fundamental barrier that prevents consumers from their particular goals. The barriers are a source of negative emotions and emotion regulations associated with the distinct nature of multistage waiting. Despite the perspectives of extant literature that suggest that each type of emotion tends to elicit different behavioral responses to service, the extant literature about waiting interprets emotions triggered by waiting as static and stable. Contemporary conceptualization of consumer psychology tends to interpret consumers as passively experiencing emotions to events. Drawing from field theory, expectancy theory, and the emotion regulation process model, the present research proposes that emotional responses and emotion regulation tendencies are dynamic and evolve over the course of waiting. In the present empirical study, multistage waiting in a service firm was developed through three distinct consumption episodes: the preprocess, in-process, and post-process waiting stages. Emotional responses were operationalized into anxiety, anger, and regret; emotion regulation strategies were represented by attentional deployment, reappraisal, and suppression dimensions. The present research also examines the relationship between emotional responses and emotion regulation strategies elicited from multistage waiting. The empirical investigation of the study was conducted at a virtual restaurant in Second Life, an online simulation tool. Linear Mixed Models and Canonical Correlation Analysis were utilized to test the research hypotheses. Overall, predictions based on the field theory mirrored both emotional responses and emotion regulation patterns in the preprocess and the post-process waiting stages. Predictions based on expectancy theory proved to be effective during the in-process waiting stage. This research sheds light on an emerging stream of service marketing research that investigates the dynamics of emotional response and emotion regulation in multistage waiting concerning distinct service consumption; furthermore, implications for scholars and service practitioners are discussed.




Miao, Purdue University.

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