City Research Online

Diagnosing member-customer ostracism in co-operatives and counterpoising its relationship-poisoning effects

Benos, T., Kalogeros, N., de Ruyter, K. and Wetzels, M. (2018). Diagnosing member-customer ostracism in co-operatives and counterpoising its relationship-poisoning effects. European Journal of Marketing, doi: 10.1108/EJM-11-2016-0634

Abstract

Purpose:
This paper aims to examine a core member-customer threat in co-operatives (co-ops) by drawing from ostracism research, assessing co-op ostracism’s impact on critical membership and relational exchange outcomes and discussing why relationship marketing research needs to pay more attention to the overlooked role of implicit mistreatment forms in customer harm-doing.

Design/methodology/approach:
Three studies were conducted. In Study 1, ostracism in co-ops was explored, and a measurement scale for co-op ostracism was developed. In Study 2, the core conceptual model was empirically tested with data from members of three different co-ops. In Study 3, a coping strategy was integrated into an extended model and empirically tested with a new sample of co-op members.

Findings:
Ostracism is present in co-ops and “poisons” crucial relational (and membership) outcomes, despite the presence of other relationship-building or relationship-destroying accounts. Coupling entitativity with cognitive capital attenuates ostracism’s impact.

Research limitations/implications:
Inspired by co-ops’ membership model and inherent relational advantage, this research is the first to adopt a co-op member-customer perspective and shed light on an implicit relationship-destroying factor.

Practical implications:
Co-op decision makers might use the diagnostic tool developed in the paper to detect ostracism and fight it. Moreover, a novel coping strategy for how co-ops (or other firms) might fend off ostracism threats is offered in the article.

Originality/value:
The present study illuminates a dark side of a relationally profuse customer context, painting a more complete picture of relationship marketing determinants. Little attention has been given to ostracism as a distinct and important social behaviour in marketing research and to co-ops as a research context.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Theo Benos, Nikos Kalogeras, Ko de Ruyter and Martin Wetzels. 2018 Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode
Publisher Keywords: Co-operatives, Membership, Relationship marketing, Ostracism, “Relationship poison”, Coping strategy
Departments: Cass Business School > Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/19428
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