Does language shape the mind? Linguistic fluency and perception of service quality
Purpose: As services are inherently inseparable from service providers, linguistic effects are likely to occur during service encounters between service marketers and consumers. However, this study’s current understanding is still limited regarding how or why a language shapes consumers’ perceptions of service quality. To fill this gap, this paper aims to provide foundational evidence by examining how linguistic fluency affects consumers’ perceptions of service quality. Design/methodology/approach: This paper presents two multimethod studies. Study 1 compared online review ratings from 61,194 consumers living in native and nonnative English-speaking countries. Study 2 further clarified the mediating role of negative emotions between linguistic disfluency and perceptions of service quality by analyzing questionnaires from 399 nonnative English speakers. Findings: The results of the two multimethod studies show that linguistic processing can misrepresent the true quality of services due to linguistic disfluency by nonnative English speakers. This paper’s findings integrate the literature on linguistic fluency, emotional psychology and service marketing to yield insights that might be challenging to gain by relying on only one of those disciplines independently. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper provides the first empirical evidence on systematic differences between native and nonnative English speakers’ decision-making styles related to their perceptions of quality. Also, methodologically, this study provides corroborating empirical evidence from two multimethod studies. Moreover, this paper expands our current knowledge through an integrated examination of relevant literature in the fields of linguistic fluency, emotional psychology and service marketing to provide more comprehensive insights.
Journal of Services Marketing
First Page Number
Last Page Number
Kim, Jong Min and Park, Sungjun, "Does language shape the mind? Linguistic fluency and perception of service quality" (2023). Kean Publications. 237.