Managing the face in service failure: the moderation effect of social presence

Shangzhi (Charles) Qiu, Mimi Li, Anna S. Mattila, Wan Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to investigate the moderating effect of in-group social presence on the relationship between face concern and hotel customers’ behavioral responses to service failures. Design/methodology/approach: Participants were randomly assigned to two conditions: in-group presence vs control group. They read a scenario describing a hotel check-in service failure and answered questions regarding their behavioral intention after the failure and level of face concern. Findings: The results indicate that face concern is positively associated with the intention to voice a complaint, to spread negative word-of-mouth and to post negative online reviews. While the impact of face concern on complaint intention became insignificant in the presence of an in-group, its effect on posting negative online reviews was enhanced when surrounded by an in-group. Research limitations/implications: It addresses the long-lasting debate about the association between face concern and various types of behavioral responses to service failure. Practically, extra attention should be paid to the process quality when serving face concerned customers, particularly when they are accompanied by important others. Originality/value: This study enriches the literature on cultural effects by identifying the situational effect of face concern on customers’ service failure responses. A model that describes the situational effect of face concern on different types of behavioral intention has been built.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1314-1331
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Face concern
  • Service failure
  • Situational effect
  • Social presence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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