Date of Award


Degree Type



Monte Ahuja College of Business

First Advisor

Whipple, Thomas

Subject Headings

Customer services, Customer relations, Interpersonal relations -- Psychological aspects, Emotional, Relational, Behavior, Loyalty, Friendship, Trust, Service quality, Relationship, Interpersonal, Consumer, Affective, Hair


This study seeks to examine factors that enhance the development of interpersonal service relationships between consumers and service employees. It focuses on interpersonal service relationships that are extended in duration, affective or emotionally charged, and intimate in distance (EAI), or those which appear to be boundary open (Price and Arnould 1999 Price et al. 1995a, 1995b). It thus emphasizes relationships that are similar to personal acquaintances and friendships, rather than ones that are non-affective, and consist of little or no emotional content, such as professional relationships and casual acquaintances (Johnson and Selnes 2004 Coulter and Ligas 2004). Based on a review of the literature, five factors, namely, mutual understanding, personalization, authenticity, problem-solving behavior, and specialized treatment, are combined to form a parsimonious group of relational behaviors (RBs) that are expected to promote friendship-like relationships. A conceptual model is portrayed that shows interrelationships between the relational behaviors and relationship outcomes, including service quality, satisfaction, emotional trust, and loyalty (Sirdeshmukh et al. 2002). In order to collect data, this study utilizes a self-report survey and cross-sectional design, within the context of hair care service. Additionally, web-based survey and sampling are utilized. The sample consists of individuals who are members of a professional business organization, whose occupation requires a professional appearance. Thus, they are expected to patronize hair care services. The final study consists of 191 usable surveys primarily from African-American females (65.4 African-American, 80.6 female), who have unique hair care needs. The sample is thus homogeneous with respect to various salon behaviors and demographics. Using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and AMOS software, scales are assessed for unidimensionality, reliability, and validity. Results show, however, that this measurement model is not theoretically suppo

Included in

Business Commons