Year

2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Department of Psychology

Abstract

Consumer loyalty is a central research construct that is perceived to be a key to organisational profit and success. However, traditional attempts to increase consumer loyalty through loyalty programs, such as reward schemes, have failed to actually enhance loyalty. In response to the poor performance of these programs, this thesis examines three major research questions: the effective measurement of consumer loyalty, the determinants of consumer loyalty, and an effective intervention to influence consumer loyalty. These three research questions were explored within a consumer service setting of patrons to a regional theatre located in Canberra, Australia. This thesis employed a mailed survey approach triangulated with independently collected behavioural data. The first research question successfully employs the dominant theory of the attitude-behaviour relationship, The Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), to assess current measures of consumer loyalty and identify an alternative measure of the loyalty process, attachment loyalty. The predictive capacity of the loyalty measures is examined within the presence of satisfaction, the dominant model of the consumer process (Oliver, 1980). Results indicate that although a common measure of consumer loyalty, disregard loyalty failed to demonstrate the expected relationships, attachment loyalty was an effective process measure ofloyalty. The second research question uses the dominant model of loyalty within dissatisfaction research (Hirschman, 1970) to explore the determinants of loyalty for consumers who are satisfied. Results demonstrated the predictors of consumer voice (quality of alternatives, importance, and responsiveness) as determinants ofloyalty. The third research question uses the empirical and theoretical link between approachability, responsiveness and loyalty to develop an effective intervention to influence the loyalty process (attachment loyalty) and loyalty outcomes (purchase behaviour). In conclusion, consumer loyalty can be effectively influenced when the process as well as the outcome is considered.

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