Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Service Fairness Scale: Development, Validation, and Structure

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

Service Fairness Scale: Development, Validation, and Structure

Article excerpt


Service fairness lacks a clear dimensionality and there remains uncertainty about the structural relationship among dimensions within this construct. A comprehensive measurement model of service fairness in the context of consumer-retailer is developed in this study. We make a theoretical justification of the five dimensions which composes this construct and its factor structure. According to the systematic approach, we obtain five reliable and valid subscales of service fairness and also confirm service fairness is a three-order structural model.

Keywords: factor structure, measurement, scale, service fairness

1. Introduction

Following the principles of relationship marketing, many service providers treat customers differently based on their profitability (Mayser & von Wangenheim, 2013). It produces many fairness problems. Although the concept of fairness has received great attention in consumer behavior research lately (Nguyen & Klaus, 2013), extant research on fairness adopts many dimensions whose definitions and measures vary (Blader & Tyler, 2003). Thus, these fairness studies lack comparability (Darke & Dahl, 2003; Clemmer, 1993).

Dimensionality of service fairness lacks a consensus opinion (Ashworth & Free, 2006). Its dimensionality maybe a single underlying dimension (e.g., Cropanzano & Ambrose, 2001; Lind, 2001), two dimensions (i.e., distributive & procedural fairness) (e.g., Brockner & Wiesenfeld, 1996) or more other dimensions including interactional (e.g., Bies & Moag, 1986; Colquitt, 2001; Cropanzano, Byre, Bobocel, & Rupp, 2001), interpersonal (e.g., Carr, 2007; Colquitt, Wesson, Porter, Conlon, & Ng, 2001) and informational fairness (e.g., Carr, 2007; Colquitt, Wesson, Porter, Conlon, & Ng, 2001). In near years, relatively complete research on service fairness is Carr (2007). Five distinct fairness of distributive, procedural, interpersonal, informational, and systemic or overall fairness were discussed in the article. However, the work focused on the first four fairness influences systemic or overall fairness. It was not a rigorous scale development research and did not involve the factor structure of service fairness.

Considering all that exposed, and in the absence of a clear and complete dimensionality and factor structure of service fairness, the present study widely collects the items of service fairness and develops a thorough tool to measure service fairness. The main contributions of this article have three aspects. First, this article provides a reliable and valid scale of measurement for this construct, especially applicable to the context of consumer-retailer. Second, this article identifies the dimensionality of service fairness. Third, this article develops a higher order factor model.

2. Multidimensional Structure of Service Fairness

The literature discusses various dimensions of fairness however these lack systematic integration. In the following paragraphs we review the fairness literature on the development of fairness dimensions.

2.1 Distributive Fairness

Both equity theory and the theory of distributive justice argue that individuals general use the concept of equity to evaluate the distribution of outcomes (Cohen, 1987). Equity assessment involves individuals comparing inputs and outcomes relative to a reference point (Gilliland, 1993; Lacey & Sneath, 2006; Xia, Monroe, & Cox, 2004). So, consumers perceive distributive fairness when they perceive outcomes as commensurate with their inputs (Homans, 1961; Sindhav, Holland, Rodie, Adidam, & Pol, 2006). Distributive fairness in the context of service delivery involves the four principles of cost, amount of service, correctness, and excellence (Bowen, Gilliland, & Folger, 1999). Cost represent a consumer's input; on the other hand, the amount of service, correctness, and excellence are outcomes. Based on the concept of distributive fairness we divide distributive fairness into outcome fairness and input (price) fairness. …

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