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Consumer misbehaviour and interpersonal mistreatment during service encounters

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Recent decades have witnessed an increasing body of academic work examining the less-than-perfect side of service provision, where achieving an understanding of the factors stimulating service failure, and consumer misbehaviour has been gradually prioritised, with much of this work also concentrating on potential recovery strategies and related concepts therein. While satisfaction has been found to inspire positive behaviours, dissatisfaction often provokes negative behaviours as well as misbehaviour. Here, misbehaviour not only includes acts that are intentional, but also those presented unintentionally out of an ignorance of norms or in response to the deviant behaviour of others. Misbehaviour occurs in several ways and can be active (egregious misbehaviour) or passive (inward-focused misbehaviour). Equally, service workers may also experience discrimination, bullying, betrayal, helplessness, emotional abuse, verbal aggression, disrespect, and interpersonal mistreatment during service encounters. To this end, this project aims to contribute to a better understanding of consumer misbehaviour and interpersonal mistreatment during service encounters. We anticipate a mixed-method approach, drawing on both quantitative (e.g., survey) and qualitative (interviews or ethnography), drawing on relevant theories to understand the impact of interpersonal mistreatment, misbehaviour and related contextual factors during service encounters. While there is no specific service sector pre-determined for this project, some examples could include hospitality and tourism; retailing; and any other sector which requires high level of consumer engagement and service encounters.

Application Enquiries:

Entry qualifications

An applicant should normally hold a Master’s degree at distinction or merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification. International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements.

How to apply

Please visit our how to apply page for a step-by-step guide and make an application.

Application deadline: Friday 30 June 2023.

Fees and funding

This opportunity is for self-funded PhD students. Applicants are encouraged to apply for external funding and we will support this process if and when required. Find out about fees and funding for PhD projects.

Guidance and support

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

Still need help?

Prof. Babak Taheri