Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don W. Stacks

Second Committee Member

Michael Beatty

Third Committee Member

Alyse R. Lancaster

Fourth Committee Member

Scott Ingold


This dissertation investigated consumer response mechanism in a service failure context. A social-media-based Service Failure Response Model was introduced that incorporated emotive antecedents, behavioral outcomes, a mediation process, and moderating factors. The model integrated the framework of psychological empowerment, and explored how social media usage empowered users and whether this power transferred into unique behavioral patterns. It was argued that perception of power increased an action orientation in the power holder, which transferred into a revenge behavior when users complained about the failure on social media to publicly shame the company. The study proposed 16 hypotheses and two research questions which were answered through two studies: an online survey where participants recalled their own experience of a recent service failure encounter (Study 1); an online experiment where various empowerment levels were manipulated and participants were given a hypothetical scenario to respond (Study 2). Results confirmed the Service Failure Response Model. Anger, dissatisfaction and perceived betrayal were emotive/cognitive antecedents that lead to consumers’ exit, voice, and revenge responses. This process was mediated by desire for avoidance and desire for revenge. Meanwhile, intrapersonal empowerment was found to have a significant moderating effect on the anger-behavior connection. Further investigation through the experiment showed that participants with lower interactional empowerment levels were less likely to complain publicly online, a response defined as revenge behavior in this study.


Empowerment; power; revenge; service failure; emotions; social media