Social Influence and the Decision to Complain: Investigations on the Role of Advice
Two studies were conducted to examine the effect of advice on the decision to place a formal complaint. Study 1 was a simulation experiment in which participants read an essay describing a problem with food at a restaurant. The presence and nature of advice from a companion was manipulated within the essay. Results indicated that participants advised to complain were more likely to do so than those who did not receive such advice. In addition, compared to those advised to complain, participants advised not to complain were more likely to do nothing about the problem. Study 2 was a cross-sectional survey in which participants described a time they had experienced a problem with food at a restaurant. They then answered questions about their complaint behavior and the advice they received from family and friends. Results showed that, compared to non-complainants, complainants were more likely to receive advice to complain, less likely to receive advice to forget about the problem, and had fewer companions present. The results of both studies are discussed in terms of the usefulness of a multimethod research approach and the necessity of continued examination of the impact of social influence on complaint behavior.
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