How Embarrassing! An Exploratory Study of Critical Incidents Including Affective Reactions

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Grace, D
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A. Parasuraman

Date
2007
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Abstract

Using Critical Incident Technique (CIT), data were collected from 166 respondents who related incidents involving embarrassment experienced over a total of 44 different service environments. In applying a functional analysis, a number of embarrassment antecedents in the form of sources (e.g., customer, service provider, others present) and stimuli (e.g., criticism, awkward acts, image appropriateness, forgetfulness/lack of knowledge/error, environment/surroundings and violations of privacy) were identified. Embarrassment was found to be manifested by emotional, physiological and behavioural reactions and its long-term consequences included both positive and negative behavioural intentions and word-of-mouth communications. The Functional Analysis of Consumer Embarrassment (FACE) provides an informative framework to enhance our understanding of affective reactions in service encounters and provides a solid foundation for future research.

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Journal of Service Research

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9

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3

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© 2007 SAGE Publications. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.

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Commercial services

Marketing

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