A Conceptual Framework for Perceived Crowding in the Service Sector from the Lens of Psychological Reactance Theory
Keywords:service sector, semi-structured interviews, thematic analysis, the theory of psychological reactance, Perceived crowding, customers’ behavior
This study explores how perceived crowding affects customers in the service sector. A Semi-structured interview guideline was developed to assemble data from forty customers of banks and telecom franchises. Analysis of the research was carried out by using qualitative research software Atlas. The findings suggest that perceived crowding, including social and spatial crowding, impacts customers behaviour emotionally and psychologically. They demonstrate altered behaviour when present in a crowded environment. Further, it was also found that certain elements helped customers tolerate the effects of spatial and social crowding; either types of customers, environment/infrastructure, or Frontline Service Employees behaviour during service attainment. Additionally, following the assumptions of the theory of psychological reactance, this study proposed a research model for future empirical studies. Findings also suggest that top management must consider the impact that perceived crowding produces on customers. Limitations and future research directions and theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.
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