Purpose – A monopolistic relationship between utilities and their customers creates a unique relational context in which the basic assumption of one's ability to terminate a relationship with an unsatisfactory relationship partner is violated. The purpose of this paper is to examine how attitudinal and behavioral outcomes are influenced by relational gap as the discrepancy between the expected relationships under deregulation and the experienced public relationships under monopolistic completion. Design/methodology/approach – With this purpose, an online survey was conducted with customers of a monopolistic utility provider; a sample of 1,145 adults living in the region was provided from an academic online panel database project for research participants, yielding a response rate of 32 percent. Findings – The key findings are that, among the four relational outcomes, control mutuality and satisfaction showed the biggest and significant shift to higher levels of performance expectations under competition than under a monopoly. Further, a shift in control mutuality and satisfaction led to more negative attitudes toward the company and a stronger intention to switch. Originality/value – This study can contribute to the practice and study of communication management by suggesting a sound empirical framework in managing public relationships.
Journal of Communication Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 8, 2013
Keywords: Monopolies; Customer relations; United States of America; Communication management; Organization‐public relational outcomes; Relational gap analysis; Problem solving; Company attitudes; Supportive intention
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