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Customers acting badly: Evidence from the hospitality industry

By Kate L. Daunt and Lloyd C. Harris

Abstract

The activities of misbehaving customers represent a significant problem for organizations across diverse sectors and industries. Customer misbehavior signifies behavior within the exchange setting that deliberately violates the generally accepted norms of conduct in such situations. The core aim of this study is to advance understanding of the antecedents to past customer misbehavior and examine the relationship between past misbehavior and future misbehavior intentions. Although prior studies offer insights into individual events or types of customer misbehavior, to date, empirical evidence of the antecedents to past misbehaviors and future behavioral intentions is lacking. Synthesizing literature from varied theoretical backgrounds, this study puts forth five personality-based variables (consumer alienation, Machiavellianism, sensation seeking, aggressiveness, and self-esteem) and four demographic variables (gender, income, age, and education) as antecedents to past customer misbehavior. In turn, this study reveals an association between past customer misbehavior and future misbehavior intent. Structural equation modeling procedures using a sample of 380 respondents reveals support for eight of the nine specified hypotheses. The article concludes with a discussion of the study's implications for theory and practice.Customer misbehavior Dysfunctional customer behavior Past misbehavior Behavioral intention Personality

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