Customer Positivity and Participation in Services: An Empirical Test in a Health Care Context

Andrew S. Gallan, Case Western Reserve University
Cheryl Burke Jarvis, Southern Illinois University
Stephen W. Brown, Arizona State University
Mary Jo Bitner, Arizona State University

Many service interactions require customers to actively participate, yet customers often do not participate at levels that optimize their outcomes, particularly in health care. To gain insight into how customers shape a service experience with highly uncertain outcomes, we construct a model on the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. The model is used to empirically assess how situation-specific emotions and customer participation during a health care service experience affect perceptions of the service provider. The model is tested using data from 190 medical clinic customers. Consistent with theory, results reveal that as customers’ relative affect levels become more positive, levels of participation increase as well. In turn, higher levels of positivity and participation improve customer perceptions of the quality of the service provider and satisfaction with the co-produced service experience. Implications of this research focus managers on designing services to help clients manage their emotions in ways that facilitate positivity and participation and thus improve service perceptions.


This paper has been published in The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and is based on work at the Center for Services Leadership, Arizona State University, under the sponsorship of Mayo Clinic – Arizona, a CSL member organization.

Reference: Gallan, Andrew S., Cheryl Burke Jarvis, Stephen W. Brown, and Mary Jo Bitner (2013), “Customer Positivity and Participation in Services: An Empirical Test in a Health Care Context,” The Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, 41 (3), pp. 338-356.