Can TQM reduce Customer grudgeholding Boushra Ghanam BBS Doctoral

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					                   Can TQM reduce Customer grudgeholding?

                                      Boushra Ghanam

                        BBS Doctoral Symposium 24th March 2009


Many changes in the world drive customers to be the points of power in the market. Some
clever marketers were able to understand this fact by persisting in pursuing customer
satisfaction, but those who are still unconscious to the role of customer industry in the
business world are unlucky. Therefore, Customer dissatisfaction and customer grudgeholding
are the destructive results of this unconsciousness. These create the need of many
management control systems such as total quality management.

This research tries to find if TQM can decrease customer grudgeholding. It might apply a
questionnaire within a sample of people in UK to explore the ability of TQM of lessening
customer grudgeholding. The sample might be customers, employees or managers.


Some organizations arrived to the conclusion of the effective role of quality management in
enhancing their competitive abilities or in providing strategic advantages in the marketplace.
Some others found it like a fad or fashion. However, the research is going to discuss some
issues related to customers and TQM with a main objective and a key question. Can TQM
reduce customer grudgeholding?

 Review to literature
TQM Developing

Since the 1920s: quality control (QC), quality assurance (QA) and total quality control (TQC) all
are phases of TQM (Gallear & Ghobadian, 2001). Globalization, competition and higher quality
products of foreign companies in the local market with consumer’s trends shift to the high quality
guide U.S. to adopt TQM in daily business with the 1980s (Akdere,2006, p.234).

According to the tech advances that lead to more focus on quality, cost, and competitiveness,
Edward Deming from his work and experience in Japan whose products, at that time, were
considered the highest quality of, introduced the concept of quality to the United States (Akdere,

TQM definitions

Here are some definitions of TQM:

Oakland (1990 in Wong, 2002, p.567) defined TQM as follow” it is a way of managing to improve
the effectiveness, flexibility and competitiveness of a business as a whole”

The Federal Quality Institute (1991, in Alomain et al, 2003) definition of total quality management
is a comprehensive, customer-focused system that many organizations are adopting to improve the
quality of their products and services. It is a way of managing the organization at all levels, to
achieve customer satisfaction.

Total quality management is the culture of an organization aiming to satisfy customers secure
greater market share, increase profits and reduce costs through continuous improvement (Kanji,
1997; Gopal and Wallace, 2000).

TQM principles

The quality management pattern has been widely discussed in the management literature and
presents a variety of perspectives, including visionary leadership, internal and external cooperation
continuous improvement, employee fulfilment, and customer satisfaction (Anderson, et al., 1994;
Birdi, et al., 1997; Briggs & Keogh 1999 in Akdere, 2006). On the basis of a study of the quality
management      literature( Dean and Bowen,1994;Wilkinson et al.,1998; Handfield and
Melnyk,1998;Dale et al.,2000;Dale,2003 in Iwaarden et al ,2006) wrote about the three basic
building blocks of total quality management which are customer orientation, process control, and
continuous improvement

Customer satisfaction

“Pleasurable fulfilment” is the satisfaction Oliver’s definition (1999, in Salegna and
Goodwin, 2005p.57). Day (1984, in Salegna and Goodwin, 2005p.57-58) defined satisfaction
as a “post choice evaluative judgement concerning a specific purchase selection” Customer
satisfaction occurs according to Cina (1989, p.31) when there is a match between experiences
and expectations. When customers get more than their expectations, they will be impressed
and buy again from the company concerned, but a feeling of disappointment and dissonance
occurs when their experience falls short of expectations (Cina, 1989, p.31).

Customer’s satisfaction plays a very important role in improving marketer’s share, so it is the
factor of a company’s survival (Nasir, 2004, p.69). Customer satisfaction is the way to any
organization’s survival (Kau and Loh, 2006, p.101) Satisfaction of consumers leads to
profitability, favourable and positive word of mouth, repeat sales and consumer loyalty
(Nasir, 2004, p.69).Customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty (Heskett, et al. 1994, in
Salgaonkar and Mekoth, 2004 p.16), which in turn leads to high, increased profits
(Salgaonkar and Mekoth, 2004 p.16). A Satisfied customer might spread his or her delight
experience everywhere as when s/he says “I can’t wait to tell my friends and then buy myself
another one of these” (Aron, 2006, p.5). Satisfied customers have the wish and will to reward
companies that save them time and reduce disappointment or offer personalized choices
(Dutra, et al. 2004, p.32).

Customer dissatisfaction
When the service or product performance is below acceptable standards, customers suffer
from the disappointment of their suboptimal consumer experience, what might be called a
product-harm crisis (Dawar and Pillutla, 2000, in Aron, 2006p.1). Results of this situation
will be very serious. The loss of time, money and other costs of inequitable exchanges will be
accompanied by negative thoughts and feeling, like anger and dissatisfaction (Aron, 2006
p.1). Some companies involve in over promising or tricking customers out of their money in
order to have the maximum of short-term profits, as a result of this process, companies in
their real way to destroy value and customer equity by eroding their trust in such firms
(Peppers and Rogers, 2005 p.50).

According to the post purchase consumer behaviour in order to understand how people feel
and behave after buying action. If the product or service acquired is not what was expected or
is not what was promised by the seller, most consumers’ behaviours will be negative toward
the seller (Hernandez and Fugate, 2004 p.153). Dissatisfied customers leave offending
marketer without coming back, and they go to the competitor with their friends (Salgaonkar
and Mekoth, 2004 p.16).Some economic impacts of dissatisfaction were stated by Peters
(1988 in Hernandez and Fugate, 2004, p.154): “It costs five times more to get a new
customers than to retain a current one, ninety-one percent of dissatisfied customers will not
return, thirteen will tell twenty or more people further polluting your reputation”.

 Customer grudgeholding

Grudgeholding definitions

The dictionary definitions of a grudge vary but, there is some sharing between them in the
content. One of these definitions is” a strong, continued feeling of hostility or ill will against
someone over a real or fancied grievance” (Guralnik, 1980, p.619 in Aron, 2001 p.109).
Another one is a “resentment strong enough to justify retaliation” (WordNet, 2005 in Aron et
al, 2007, p.46). Some grudgeholding definitions were presented on CharmingHealth.Com.
Grudge is defined as resentment and angry that is very strong in a way drives to retaliation.
Grudge is far away from satisfaction as it is described by some researchers, and it is not
dissatisfaction also. Grudge is more dangerous than dissatisfaction as long as it can generate
retaliation or even criminal actions. Thus, the rest and next study will be about consumer’s
grudgeholding, its different shapes (exit, voice, false loyalty, and retaliation).


Aron, et al. (2007, p.47) found that the most immediate and direct response of the
grudgeholder is the exit. Exit as a respond to the bad relationship with marketer has the
meaning of no intent ever to return and, the customer’s assessment of the situation refers to
the type of the exit (Aron et al., 2007 p.47). Hirschman (1971, p.4 in Aron 2001, p.110)
named the customer’s behaviour exit when the customer stop purchasing the company’s
products. Exit can be the first and quick reaction for many offended customers in their
relationships with firms.

Some researchers explained the avoidance behaviour which is like other exit behaviours, may
occur with voice or without according to (Otto, et al., 2004 p.42).Hunt and Hunt (1990 in
Otto et al., 2004 p.42) referred to avoidance behaviour when a consumer starts buying from
another shop leaving his or her regular one. Avoidance includes grudgeholding but in a mild
way, so it is usually not extreme (Otto et al, 2004p. 43).


The voice option in terms of grudgeholder’s behaviour was explained by Hirschman (1971,
p.4 in Aron, 2001, Aron et al, 2007). Hirschman explained how grudgeholding customers
express their voices of dissatisfaction and anger by talking directly to management or to
authority parties or to anyone who cares to listen. Voice is a result of customers’
dissatisfaction that can be appeared within the company or outside it or the both cases. To the
knowledge, voice involves two opposite directions in terms of affecting business. It can be
positive, so it serves marketing as an alternative to a huge advertising campaign. On the other
hand, it can damage and offset millions of monetary units spent on advertising and other
kinds of promotion plans. It is then negative word-of-mouth.


Word of mouth or as Richins (1983, Halstead, 2002 p.3) defined “private complaining”
which is represented by telling others such as friends and family about a satisfactory or
unsatisfactory product experience. The customers who come across bad consumption
experience may tell others about different things such as the company’s services policies, the
friendliness and aggressiveness of the staff, or perhaps about their detailed guarantee
(Halstead, 2002, p.5). Word-of-mouth provide another customers of information about a firm
or brand to help them in making decisions of patronizing (Lundeen et al., 1995; Zeithaml et
al., 1993, in Kau and Loh, 2006, p.103).

 Favourable or positive word-of-mouth is a result to the satisfaction case, while unfavourable
or negative word-of-mouth expresses the dissatisfaction case of customers (Halstead, 2002,
p.5). In comparison between satisfied and dissatisfied customers (Johnston, 1998; TARP,
1981 in Halstead, 2002, p.5), empirical evidence showed that dissatisfied consumers are more
likely to engage in negative and unfavourable word-of-mouth as compared to satisfied


Customer loyalty includes the meaning of commitment and faithfulness to a particular
provider and is often appeared as the continued patronage of the same provider (Kau and
Loh, 2006, p. 103). Dick and Basu (1994 in Carpenter and Fairhurst, 2005, p.258) defined
loyalty as the “relationship between the relative attitude toward an entity (brand, product,
service, store, vendor) and patronage behaviour”. Loyalty is very crucial element in
organization life. Loyalty can generate many profits, reduce operating cost per customer, and
provide free advertising from loyal customers by spreading positive word of mouth
(Salgaonkar and Mekoth, 2004 p.16). Loyalty can be classified under another name, which is
false loyalty or spurious loyalty. It is then far away from the real one and its benefits on
business. Most of the time, false loyalty appears as a hidden result of customer

 False or spurious loyalty is another kind of behaviour in terms of consumer grudgeholding
Jones and Sasser (1995, in Aron, 2001). Spurious loyalty as Day (1969 in Aronet al., 2007,

p.48) mentioned is related to dissatisfied customers who stay in a business relationship only
waiting the opportunity of fleeing and avoiding the relationship as soon as possible.


Retaliation can take different kinds of responses by grudgeholding customers. Aron et al
(2007, p.48) presented some examples of the retaliation responses such as shoplifting,
engaging in abnormal buy-return activities, filing lawsuits, spreading aggressive false
rumours about the company’s products or employees, staying in shops beyond closing times
causing the offending company to incur additional expenses in terms of labour or
inconvenience, partaking in prank phone calls to the company, and the more aggressive
actions in damaging the company’s products.

Vengeance is a very dangerous and wild way of expressing the grudge. It is a form of
retaliation, which may include threats, lawsuits against the marketer, or venting one’s
frustrations via the Internet through establishment of or participation in an online hate
community (Aron, 2001, p.115). The vigilantes take direct, negative action against the
offender which might be the most extreme kind of customer’s behaviour in expressing
grudgeholding (Huefiner and Hunt, 2000 in Aron et al, 2007.p.48).


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