The Nature and Implications of Consumers’ Experiential Framings of Failure in High-Risk Service Contexts

Linda Tuncay Zayer, Cele C. Otnes, Eileen M. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many services, particularly those related to health care, can be considered high-risk in that despite service providers’ best efforts, consumers may not attain the outcomes they hope to achieve. Recent research highlights how cultural models regarding service providers influence the ways consumers experience and respond to failure. What bears investigating is how these cultural models and consumers’ related framings of failure shape consumer experience in high-risk contexts. Analyzing data from informants engaged with various types of infertility services, we develop a typology of four consumer experiential framings of failure that explore their experiences across three dimensions. These are as follows: the implicit cultural model that shapes relationships with service providers, the implicit cultural model regarding goal pursuit, and consumers’ tacit understandings regarding their appropriate courses of action in response to failure. We link each distinct type of experiential framing to consumers’ distinct set of expectations related to service recovery. And we offer insights for service providers on how to manage their relationships with consumers and (in the tradition of transformative services research) how to enhance consumer well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 14 2015


  • cultural frames
  • infertility
  • qualitative research
  • service failure
  • service providers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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