Consumer Satisfaction with a Periodic Reoccurring Sport Event and the Moderating Effect of Motivations

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research has focused on the evaluation of the consumer satisfaction process in a sport event. A popular athletic cross urban race, periodically organized by a City Council, has served as the framework for the study of cognitive and affective elements that drives satisfaction judgement and the moderator effect of sport motivations. A causal model is tested and the results show that satisfaction is primarily driven by an affective factor (arousal), and the effect of pleasure is not significant. The cognitive element is also important for determining satisfaction and future behavior intentions, and all of the antecedents are independent in the satisfaction process. Sport motivations have a moderating effect on the relationship between disconfirmation and satisfaction. In addition, satisfaction is an emotional evaluation for the highly motivated individuals. Implications for both practical and theoretical research are discussed.

Introduction

The proliferation of studies in the sport management literature about consumer satisfaction is ample (e.g., Triadó et al., 1999; Murray & Howat, 2002; Van Leeuwen et al., 2002) but all of this research have focused on services such as private sport centers, public sport services, or sport attendance. Nevertheless, nothing has been found in relation to particular events having a periodic nature, distinguished by their short operating time and the recurrence in future editions.

This research has focused on the measure of consumer satisfaction in a reoccurring sport event; a popular long distance race organized every year by the City Council of Cartagena (Spain). In addition, the role of sport motivations has been considered as a moderating factor on the cognitive-affective relationships that drive satisfaction evaluation. Thus, a model building exercise has been achieved where alternative models of satisfaction were explored in order to get a better understanding of the customer satisfaction process. Furthermore, motivations have been presented as an attractive variable for segmentation.

Theoretical background

Cognitive-affective model of consumer satisfaction

Consumer satisfaction has attracted a lot of attention in the literature because of its potential influence on consumer behavioral intentions and customer retention (Cronin et al., 2000). The literature on consumer satisfaction has focused primarily on people as cognitive beings, whereby satisfaction is generally modelled as the outcome of a comparison process between expectations and perceived performance (Wirtz & Bateson, 1999). Recently, however, it is accepted that consumers' evaluative judgements are based partly on cognition and partly on affective responses to a product stimulus (Oliver, 1997). According to this latter approach, satisfaction is described as "the consumer's fulfillment response. It is a judgment that the product or service feature, or the product or service itself, provided (or is providing) a pleasurable level of consumption-related fulfillment, including levels under- or overfulfillment" (Oliver, 1997, p. 13). The inclusion of affect into the conceptualizations of consumer satisfaction is particularly important with services due to their experiential nature (Wirtz et al., 2000). Affect represents the feelings side of consciousness, as opposed to thinking, which taps the cognitive domain (Oliver, 1997). In the field of psychology, affect has been conceptualized in several ways, in particular Izard's discrete emotion model (1991) and Russell's model of affect (1980).

Proposed models of satisfaction

Russell's model suggests that affect is the mediating variable among stimuli, cognitive process, and response behavior. Russell pointed out pleasantness/unpleasantness and arousal/quietude as two primary orthogonal dimensions of affect that describe the internal emotional state of people per se.

In contrast to Izard's discrete emotion model, Russell's conceptualization is richer because low arousal effect is explicitly included in the taxonomy (Oliver, 1997). …