Affect and cognition as predictors of behavioural intentions towards services

Smith, Anne and Reynolds, Nina (2009). Affect and cognition as predictors of behavioural intentions towards services. International Marketing Review, 26(6) pp. 580–600.



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine alternative approaches to measuring service evaluation across cultures. This paper aims to assess: differences between cognitive and affective measures and their ability to predict behavioral intentions and the impact of service features on these measures.

Design/methodology/approach – A self-completion survey of African (East/West), Chinese, and English higher education students includes service quality, satisfaction, affect (emotions/feelings), and behavioral intentions scales relating to retail banking.

Findings – For all groups, overall quality, satisfaction, and positive affect predict behavioral intentions. Negative affect is significant for English consumers. Differences across cultures are identified in the determinants of service evaluation, for example, assurance and responsiveness, but these are antecedents of affect and not of overall service quality or satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications – The sample is drawn from cultural groups (based on Hofstede's individualism continuum) of higher education students in the UK. The implications for generalizability of findings to wider populations and the need to recognize the considerable diversity within the cultural sample groupings is emphasized.

Practical implications – Service providers should include measures of affect in surveys which aim to assess the role of service features in overall evaluation and behavioral intentions towards the service. This will provide valuable data for managerial decision making and resource allocation. Cultural comparisons derived from cognitive-based Western measures may fail to identify elements of service quality which impact on behavioral intentions.

Originality/value – No other studies have directly compared a range of alternative service-related measures as predictors of behavioral intentions across cultures, or included African consumers who are rarely represented in service evaluation studies.

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