ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2009, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (04): 346-356.

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Multiple Emotional Contagions and Its Dynamic Impact on Consumer’s Negative Emotion under Service Encounters

DU Jian-Gang;FAN Xiu-Cheng   

  1. Business School of NanKai University, Tianjin 300071, China) (2School of Management, FuDan University, ShangHai, 200433, China
  • Received:2008-04-28 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2009-04-30 Online:2009-04-30
  • Contact: DU Jian-Gang

Abstract: It has long been observed that people tend to “catch” another person’s emotion and to feel what those around them are feeling about. Hatfield, Cacioppo, and Rapson (1992, 1993, and 1994) call this process of imitation “emotional contagion”. Most papers on emotional contagion come from social psychology perspective. Few scholars, base on the marketing perspective, explore the influence of emotional contagion on customer’s psychology and behavior, especially the relationship between negative emotional contagion and customer’s negative emotion. The article discussed the multiple impact of emotion contagion on customer’s negative emotion under service industry setting.
Experiment research methodology is adopted and really scenario video tapes were used as stimulator. 260 students joined this experiment, including 130 male and female separately. There were 65 samples in each video scenario. Quantitative analyses are conducted using ANOVA and Paired-Samples T Test.
The main research results are as follows:
1. The research proves that negative display (including emotion, vocalizations, and movements, etc) would lead to individual emotional contagion so as to make him/her experience significant change of negative emotion. The stronger the negative display is, the more the emotional contagion and increases of negative emotion are.
2. Individual’s negative emotion would reduce by positive emotional contagion when he/she accepts positive emotional display. The stronger positive display is, the more significantly the individual negative emotion is reduced.
3. In the whole process of the service encounter, the customer may experience positive and negative emotional contagion for several times, as a result, positive (negative) emotional contagion was alternated with negative (positive) emotional contagion (e.g. Service failure and recover process). This situation led to more complex emotional change from customers.
4. Sensitivity of the emotional contagion has a moderating role in the process of emotional contagion. Comparing with respondents who are low-susceptive, negative emotion of respondents with high-susceptive has a significant increase when they experience negative emotional contagion. Meanwhile, when they experience positive emotional contagion, their negative emotions reduce stronger.

Key words: service industry, emotional contagion, negative emotion

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