Soulard, Joelle (2015-08). Service Recovery for Severe Crises in The Cruise Industry. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • This experimental study examined what are the effects of expertise, blame, and service recovery on both purchase intentions and brand image after severe service failures. A 2x2x2 experimental design was conducted to measure the participants' attitude toward communicators' expertise, blame attribution, and distributive justice. This experiment was set within the cruise industry and was conducted on-line via Qualtrics. Participants were randomly assigned into eight treatment conditions. Written scenarios messages were employed to convey the different treatment conditions. In these scenarios, a fictitious spokesperson recalled an accident that had occurred while vacationing on a cruise ship. The level of expertise varied based on the past-experience of the spokesperson. This spokesperson was as either a first time or a long time cruiser. In terms of blame attribution, the accident was attributed either to a staff member or to a passenger. For the condition of service recovery, the cruise line offered a 20% discount on a future cruise and fully reimbursed the passengers or only a 20% discount. The main effect for recovery was significant (p<.05) for both brand image and intentions. There was also a significant interaction between expertise and blame attribution (p<.05) in terms of both intentions and brand image. Results offer both theoretical and practical insights in terms of advertising strategies and crisis management for cruise lines.

publication date

  • August 2015