The Perception of Customer Misbehavior in the Norwegian Retail Sector
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- Master of Science 
Customer misbehavior signifies behaviors within the exchange setting that violates the generally accepted norms of conduct in consumption situations, and has become a serious problem faced by many service oriented businesses. The aim of this thesis was to identify what service providers and customers, as well as women and men perceive as customer misbehavior in the Norwegian retail sector. We believe such a focus is salient so that organizations can assure a safe work environment for their employees, preserve a safe service encounter for every customer, and prevent failure on the expense of the organization. Based on a review of the literature on customer misbehavior, an online survey was distributed to service providers and customers across Norway. The survey consisted of two designs: a quasi-experimental study and a vignette experiment. The quasiexperimental study was used to examine participants’ perception of three misbehaviors, namely verbal aggression, physical aggression, and sexual harassment. Each dimension was measured independently. The vignette experiment was used to investigate if the gender of the service provider influenced participants’ perception of verbal abuse. A total of 948 respondents participated in the survey. An analysis of the responses showed a significant main effect between women and men in all three concepts of misbehavior. However, the current study could not find a significant main effect between service providers and customers. In addition, the analysis could not find an interaction effect between service providers and customers, as well as between women and men in their perception of verbal abuse based on the gender of the service provider. Hence, the study contributed to the broader service literature through a more throughout insight into the understudied dark side of customer misbehavior in the Norwegian retail sector, as well as introducing national culture to the equation of gender-incongruence. These results indicate that expectations regarding acceptable conduct are a culturally driven phenomenon, with its deeply embedded norms and values. On this basis, it is recommended that future research dig deeper into specific behaviors and connect them to the unique norms and values embedded in the Norwegian society.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Leadership and Change - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2019