Perceived Reasonableness and Morals in Service Encounters


Companies have a moral responsibility to treat customers fairly. One way for companies to do so is to allow their employees to exercise reasonableness in their interactions with customers. We define reasonableness as a latitude or space that exists around expectations in the delivery of service. In this paper, we explore the concept of reasonableness from a customer's perspective (i.e., perceived reasonableness) and the role that the morals of service personnel play in customers' perceptions of reasonableness. First, through an open-ended survey on customers' unreasonable service experiences, we identify themes of perceived reasonableness. We also discuss the role that the morals of service personnel play within these themes. Second, in order to identify the relationships between these themes, we create a cognitive map and discuss the implications of the identified relationships. Finally, we provide directions for future research on reasonableness.


Business and Information Technology

Keywords and Phrases

Cognitive mapping; Ethical responsibility; Morals; Reasonableness; Service quality

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0167-4544; 1573-0697

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2014 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2014