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Mitigating the impact of service failure in the home sharing market through recovery innovation and customer reconciliation

Sheffield Business School

About the Project

The hospitality industry is prone to service failures due to the high level of customer-employee contact (Mody et al., 2020). Successful recovery from service transgression is therefore critical to maintain customer trust and loyalty (Borah et al., 2020). However, while, research on service recovery in hospitality has been extensive, the homesharing market has been neglected (Shuqair et al., 2019) despite the significant increase in demand for homesharing rentals (Yong & Tan, 2019). There has also been a corresponding increase in service failure complaints in line with the growth in this market (Sthapit, 2018). Moreover, because the hosts are typically unknown to guests in the homesharing sector, consumer trust has been undermined compared with hotel services which are empowered by a centralised brand management procedure (Sthapit & Björk, 2019). Additionally, homesharing’s dual service provision: the host and the platform, creates confusion in relation to reporting service failure experiences and blame attribution (Moon et al., 2019) because of the complexity of the complaint and resolution process in peer-to-peer (P2P) accommodation settings (Smith, 2016).
The general service failure and recovery literature has hitherto focussed on types of service failure i.e. process or outcome failures and the economic and emotional recovery strategies employed by service providers (Khan et al., 2016). More recent studies have placed greater emphasis on consumer effort expended on both complaining about failures and obtaining satisfactory resolutions (Lu et al., 2018), on consumer empathy and dispositional forgiveness (Joireman et al., 2013) and on consumer trust in the brand (Krishna et al., 2011) as key determinants of post-failure loyalty. Additionally, research by Grégoire et al. (2010) has examined customer revenge and retaliation following service failure, but factors influencing customer reconciliation, particularly customer mindsets and the key characteristics of service personnel remain under-researched (Radu et al., 2018). Some research has begun to examine the homesharing market in relation to failure recovery strategies and their outcomes (e.g. Suri et al., 2019) and host-guest interaction (e.g. Lu et al., 2020), but we still know relatively little about service failure recovery effectiveness in this sector.
The study will address this gap in understanding through a research design based on social exchange, equity and justice theories and the following research objectives:
• Identify types of service failure and effective response strategies by failure type and severity in relation to a range of consumer outcomes mediated by perceived equity, justice and trust;
• Examine the relative importance of distributive, procedural, and interactional justice in homesharing service failure reconciliation and post-failure loyalty;
• Explore the impact of different host interaction styles on post-failure outcomes;
• Examine critical customer mindsets and service personnel characteristics in failure recovery exchanges, resolution and loyalty.
As such, the primary research will require both qualitative and quantitative elements, including structural equation modelling of the relationship between exogenous, endogenous and mediating variables. The findings will advance theory and practice in this hitherto neglected area of hospitality service failure and recovery research.

To apply for a self-funded PhD, you will need to meet our entry requirements and provide:
1. fully completed Sheffield Hallam University application form
2. research proposal (4-6 sides of A4 in length).
3. transcript of marks from your highest qualification (we require a dissertation mark of 60+).
4. copy of your award certificates
5. two references, one ideally from an academic source. References must be supplied as recent letters on headed notepaper or on the reference section on the University’s application form.
6. Where English is not your first language, we require evidence of your English language ability to the following minimum level of proficiency. An IELTS score of 7.0 overall (with all component marks of 6.5 or higher), a TOEFL test with an overall score of 100 internet based (minimum component score of 23 in listening and reading, 26 in writing and 22 in speaking) or SHU TESOL English Language qualification (final overall grade of A with all components graded at B or higher) or a recognised equivalent testing system. Your test score must be within the last two years.
Information on entry requirements, tuition fees and other costs can be found here

How to apply
Please submit your application to

Please do not submit CVs

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The applicant will need to fund their own tuition fees, research costs and living expenses. Please do not submit an application until you have funding in place.

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