Document Type

Conference Paper


Department of Marketing


The roles of justice and customer satisfaction in customer retention: A lesson from service recovery




Customers complain because they want to be treated fairly by the company when a service failure occurs. The role of perceived complaint justice and its relation to customer satisfaction has been discussed and researched. However, a static view is mostly adopted in previous literature. We argue that satisfaction is cumulative and both prior satisfaction and post-recovery satisfaction should be looked at in relation to complaint justice in the context of service recovery. This study attempts to fill the gap by investigating the mediating role of justice in the relationship between prior satisfaction and post-recovery satisfaction (both with the recovery and with the organization) and examining the mediating role of post-recovery satisfaction in the relationship between the dimensions of justice and customer retention. Hypotheses were tested using a sample of 200 customers that had service failure experience at Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong. Justice dimensions (distributive justice, procedural justice, and interactional justice) were found to fully mediate the relationship between prior satisfaction and satisfaction with recovery. All dimensions, except the interactional justice, were also found to be partial mediators in the relationship between prior satisfaction and post-recovery satisfaction with organization. Findings also revealed the mediating roles of two post-recovery satisfaction variables in transferring the justice dimensions into behavioral intention, with the two variables playing almost opposite roles. Discussion and recommendations are provided for future development and improvement in building long-term relationship with customers. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Justice, Post-recovery satisfaction, Prior satisfaction, Restaurants, Service recovery

Publication Date


Source Publication Title

The 3rd World Business Ethics Forum: ACE Accountability, Credibility, & Ethicality

Conference Location

Macau, China



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