A cross-cultural comparison of business complaint management expectations

Copyright © Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. This study explores the complaint management expectations of 72 British and 74 German organizational buyers using automated online means-end laddering and a Hierarchical Value Map presentation. It conceptualizes the links between expected complaint resolution attributes by the buyer (i.e., means) and the buyer's value perceptions (i.e., ends). Unlike previous research, we highlight similarities and differences in the drivers behind and attributes of complaint management expectations across two countries (Germany and the United Kingdom). Even in countries appearing to be similar economically and culturally, we find differences in the desired attributes. British buyers, for example, emphasize softer complaint resolution attributes compared to Germans. Our study is the first to present a model of complaint management expectations incorporating the role of culture, and it provides managerial directions on standardization and adaption of complaint resolution attributes. Furthermore, it evaluates justice dimensions (especially interactional justice) and their impact on perceptions of complaint management.