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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Hospitality & Tourism Management

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Linda Shea

Second Advisor

Miyoung Jeong

Subject Categories

Hospitality Administration and Management | Marketing | Technology and Innovation


Service failures are inevitable incidents in hospitality settings due to the characteristics of hospitality offerings such as intangibility, heterogeneity, and inseparability. When service failures occur, effective service recovery effort should be made in order to redress such failures and improve customer satisfaction because service failures could negatively affect customers’ satisfaction and future behaviors. In the context of social media, firms’ service recovery efforts can be witnessed by the complainant’s family, close friends, other fan page members, and/or even unknown people who are connected and influenced through enormous social networks. However, no prior study has been found to investigate how and why observers perceive and evaluate service recovery efforts given to the complainant in social media. Therefore, the goals of the current study are to identify the impact of hotels’ service recovery efforts on others how merely observe such processes in social media by integrating diverse literature including service failure and recovery, tie strength, and third-party justice as the theoretical lens and to build a structural model depicting others’ reactions to service recovery efforts in social media (Study 1). In addition, this study explores how service failure severity and compensation influence observers’ fairness perceptions when service recovery efforts are given to the complainant (Study 2). Research findings indicate that hotels’ service recovery efforts given to complainants in social media positively influence observers’ perceived fairness, leading to hotel image, customer loyalty, and behavioral intentions. The degree of increase in an observer’s perceived fairness is higher for a strong tie person than for a weak tie person. Moreover, when service recovery efforts are given to the complainant in social media, service failure severity is negatively associated with observers’ perceived fairness while hotel’s monetary and psychological response (i.e., compensation) toward the complainant positively moderates observer’s perceived fairness. Based upon findings of both Study 1 and Study 2, the current research not only sheds new insights into observers’ service failure and recovery research, but also extends third-party justice perspectives and service recovery research (e.g., service failure severity and compensation) in the social media context.