Consumer Responses to Service Failure: The Influence of Acculturation

Karin Weber, Cathy Hui-chun Hsu, Beverley A. Sparks

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This research draws on acculturation theory to identify potential differences in Chinese Americans’ reaction to a service failure based on their acculturation level, in this case, among those who have lived in the United States for at least five years. Rather than compare consumer differences in Western cultures versus Asian cultures, this study examined the responses of 451 Chinese American participants to a service failure based on three acculturation modes, namely, integration, assimilation, and separation. The test included two different hotel brand types (Asian and Western) and service staff with two different ethnicities (Chinese and American). Respondents’ acculturation status influenced their reaction to the service failure, as measured by their ratings for face, satisfaction, and repeat purchase intentions at both property and chain levels, and the three acculturation groups’ ratings generally interacted with the employee’s ethnicity. Brand type, on the other hand, had no effect at all. Of particular note is the continued importance of face for Chinese Americans who follow a separation strategy, as compared with its diminished influence for those who are integrating or assimilating with the main culture. This article is based on a paper presented at the 2013 Quality in Service Conference (QUIS 13) in Karlstad, Sweden.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-313
Number of pages14
JournalCornell Hospitality Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2014


  • acculturation
  • Chinese
  • consumer behavior
  • ethnicity
  • hotel brands
  • service failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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