Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hospitality and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Li Miao

Committee Member 1

Barbara A. Almanza

Committee Member 2

Anna Mattila


Envy has been regarded as a complex emotion which can produce both positive and negative outcomes for consumers. This study explored the subjective experience of customer envy at service encounters in order to better understand how customers respond to unflattering comparisons with an envied customer. A questionnaire was designed to measure the cognitive appraisals, emotional responses, and consequences of customer envy. Study participants were also asked to share their envy incidents in the survey. A sample of 300 participants was collected and used for analysis. The findings illustrate that distinctively different patterns of cognitive appraisals such as preferential treatment, are associated with specific types of envy. Secondly, customer envy was shown to be a "hybrid" emotion, where other discrete emotions along with envy were experienced. In addition, service providers were found to be a major agency of customer envy. Finally, the results demonstrated that it is not envy, but other emotions experienced simultaneously that triggered interpersonal and organizational consequences. These findings offer insights into how the experience of customer envy is different at service encounters. They also forward implications for service managers as it was revealed that service employees have the ability to spark negative customer envy encounters.