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Benjamin Krischan Schulte develops a process-model of consumer lock-in in service relationships by connecting three areas of research: path dependence, consumer behavior and service relationship marketing. He defines consumer lock-in as a situation of a potentially unaware inability to switch from or exit a consumption process due to entrenchment with increasing barriers on the individual and/or social level. Switching barriers are elaborated as consumer lock-in mechanisms. The resulting process model is outlined and empirically examined in an explorative panel study of a service relationship process in higher education. The author´s findings support the presence of consumer lock-in in services as an idiosyncratic process of gradual entrapment. The phenomenon has relevance for researchers and practitioners in complex service relationships, where lock-in was found to be a likely occurrence but difficult to grasp.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
Decisions we make in our lives often lead us down a path. Picking a place to live, a partner to live with, a major in high-school, a subject of study or an area for job training are good examples. These watershed decisions do not come easy and we are uncertain about quality and outcome of our options. With limited time, choices, and resources on our hands we make these complex decisions both under social influence and influenced by expectations based on our past experience. When we evaluate them afterwards, we at times regret the path chosen and consider other paths.
Benjamin Krischan Schulte

2. Theoretical Foundation – Path Dependence, Consumer Behavior, and Service Relationship Research

Abstract
Not every decision made in consumers’ daily lives is alike and the phenomenon described in the introduction may only apply to certain situations. The first research question of this work breaks this phenomenon down to its constituting features.
Benjamin Krischan Schulte

3. A Model of the Consumer Lock-in Process in Service Relationships

Abstract
In the previous section, a wide array of relevant research was covered, the interrelations between the different research fields were outlined and propositions were derived to capture the essence of what constitutes a consumer lock-in process and its potential of ending in lock-in. The goal of this section is collecting and connecting the derived concepts and propositions in forming a foundational model for the analysis of path dependence and individual lock-in in service relationships. This section aims at developing such a model based on the findings of the theoretical foundation.
Benjamin Krischan Schulte

4. Longitudinal Study with Service Consumers in Higher Education

Abstract
In the first step the adapted model of consumer lock-in in higher education is transferred to the empirical setting in Section 4.1. Following a qualitative evaluation through interviews, survey design and scale selection are discussed. As shown in Section 3.2, educational service provision and student retention have an extensive line of research that provided some of the selected scales for the empirical study.
Benjamin Krischan Schulte

5. Final Discussion

Abstract
To recap the outcomes and contributions of this work, this final discussion first provides a short summary of the theoretical and empirical results along with their interpretation in Section 5.1. Following this summary, the contributions are discussed in Section 5.2, with regards to research and managerial implications of the results, the model, and the identification of the consumer lock-in phenomenon. Lastly, Section 5.3 discusses the limitations of this work and connects them to an outlook for future research considering the lock-in phenomenon in marketing, path dependence, and beyond.
Benjamin Krischan Schulte

Backmatter

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