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This paper aims to investigate the individual and combined effects of three types of psychological contracts between customers and service employees (i.e. transactional, relational and communal), resulting from the service organizations’ relational marketing efforts, on their customers’ service brand evaluations in terms of their satisfaction, trust and commitment toward the brand.Design/methodology/approachThis study uses a field-survey of 303 regular customers of beauty salons and hairdressers in Auckland, New Zealand. All the constructs were measured using adapted versions of well-established scales and data was analyzed using SmartPLS due to the relatively smaller sample size and the primary research objective being the prediction of the three outcome variables (i.e. satisfaction, trust and commitment).FindingsTransactional and relational contracts have a negative and positive impact, respectively, upon communal contracts. Communal contracts mediate the impact of transactional and relational contracts on trust and commitment but not on satisfaction. Trust also mediates the relationship between satisfaction and commitment.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper collected data from female customers of beauty salons and hairdressers in New Zealand, which may affect the generalizability of the results.Practical implicationsThis study provides practical insights into the differences in the roles of psychological contracts between the customers and service employees, which may help managers in service firms improve their customer relationship outcomes.Originality/valueThis paper extends the relationship and services marketing literature to reveal the individual and combined effects of the three types of psychological contracts on customer satisfaction, trust and commitment toward their service brand.
Journal of Services Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 14, 2021
Keywords: Relationship marketing; Trust; Commitment; Frontline service employees
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