Journal of Consumer Behaviour

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Volume 16 Issue 2 (March/April 2017), Pages 99-194

The moderating role of attachment styles in emotional bonding with service providers (pages 145-160)


In this paper, the authors combine insights from several attachment theories to develop a model that help understanding how customer‐service provider emotional attachment (EA) is formed and how customers' attachment styles moderate this formation process. The authors test their predictions with survey data from 416 customers in two service contexts (i.e., grocery retailing and hairstyling). Results indicate that positive emotions and service quality are the most powerful predictors of EA. They also show that attachment styles moderate the effect of positive emotions, service quality, image congruency, and trust. Moreover, results identify preoccupied (versus fearful) customers as those who are the most (versus the least) emotionally tied to their service providers. This research provides several implications for researchers and managers. Additionally, it offers attachment styles as a new segmentation criterion. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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