Testing complexity theory in service research

Prentice, Catherine ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7700-3889 (2020) Testing complexity theory in service research. Journal of Services Marketing, 34 (2). pp. 149-162. ISSN 0887-6045


Purpose: This study aims to draw on the complexity theory and uses a non-an asymmetrical method – fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to test the core tenets of complexity theory, namely, asymmetry, equifinality and causal complexity and valence reversals or conjunction with a focus on testing the relationships between service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Case outcome forecasting accuracy rather than relationships are tested in asymmetric testing. Design/methodology/approach: Both symmetrical (structural equation modelling or SEM) and non-symmetrical (fsQCA) methods were used to test the proposed relationships (symmetrical testing) and case outcome forecasting accuracy (asymmetric testing). The former was used as a comparison. The study setting was in Australian airports. The data were collected from departure passengers. Findings: The results from SEM and fsQCA differ substantially. The former provides very simplistic findings of variable directional relationships; whereas the latter presents asymmetrical, equifinal and conjunctional relationships regarding service quality, customer satisfaction and behavioural intentions. These findings support the core tenets of the complexity theory. Research limitations/implications: The study findings conform to the complexity theory that indicates relationships between variables can be nonlinear and the same causes can produce different effects. The findings suggest the outcomes of interest often result from combined antecedent conditions rather than a single causal factor. The study confirms that asymmetrical thinking relies on Boolean algebra and set theory principles. Originality/value: This study uses both symmetrical and asymmetrical methods to reveal the nuanced information about the relationship that has been tested primarily using symmetrical methods.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 23:38
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2022 01:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: Airline industry; Behavioural intentions; Complexity theory; Customer service; FsQCA; Service delivery; Service quality; Services marketing
Fields of Research (2020): 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350799 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour not elsewhere classified
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3506 Marketing > 350699 Marketing not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-09-2019-0353
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/49856

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