Social Identity and the Service-Profit Chain

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MOS Article Review
Social Identity and the Service-Profit Chain
Christian Homburg, Jan Wieseke & Wayne D. Hoyer
Journal of Marketing
Volume 73(March 2009)
It is very important to understand that if performance meets expectations, the customer is satisfied; if not, dissatisfaction results. Thus a core assumption is that by improving performance, firms can also increase satisfaction. Customers expect what they are now receiving and in a sense they keep upping the ante so it becomes increasingly difficult to meet or exceed customer expectations. Now there are two SPC paths: conventional and the social identity based path. Both of them are complementary. In other words firms that successfully manage both SPC paths tend to perform better than firms that are successful in only managing either the satisfaction or the social identity based path. The main elements of the social identity approach are self-categorization theory and social identity theory. Self categorization theory suggests that human beings have a need to simplify the social world by categorising people into groups. People perceive themselves as belonging to a particular group or category. According to social identity theory people strive for positive self-esteem and try to accomplish this by enhancing their social identity. Moreover it is true customers self-definitional needs can be partially fulfilled by the companies they patronise. For example users of Apple computers strongly identify with the company and this identification is related to how they define themselves as individuals. Thus customer-company identification helps a person clarify his or her self concept and to gain positive self-appraisal through a positive company appraisal. In today’s era of unprecedented corporate influence and consumerism, certain companies represent and offer attractive, meaningful social identities to consumers that help them satisfy important self-definitional needs. Strong identification...
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