Auburn hospitality study named most cited in emotions and sport management research

Published: June 29, 2021
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An Auburn University led study is the most cited research in the field of emotions and sport management, according to a bibliometric study in Frontiers in Psychology.

“The role of emotion in explaining consumer satisfaction and future behavioral intention,” authored by Associate Professor David Martin; Martin O’Neill, head of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management; College of Human Sciences Dean Susan Hubbard; and the University of Gloucestershire’s Adrian Palmer, has been cited more than 350 times since it was published in the Journal of Services Marketing in 2008.

“We’ve always known the work that happens here in human sciences is designed with positive change in mind, with a focus on bettering the lives around us,” said Hubbard. “Hearing this research continues to lead the way in understanding human behavior and setting business models confirms that we are living into the College of Human Sciences’ mission statement of improving quality of life and changing the world.”

At the time of its publication, the study sought to explore how emotions toward a service encounter are linked to perceived quality of service and future behavioral intention. The preceding research regarding sport management and service mainly focused on the cognitive indicators of service quality and future behavior.

The study was conducted at a football stadium where participants were surveyed about their satisfaction with the cleanliness, ease of access and catering facilities of the venue, along with the efficiency of the employees. Their answers were compared against pleasure-displeasure and stress scales to determine participants’ emotional state during the service experience. The results of the study indicated that this emotionally based satisfaction metric is a more accurate predictor of future behavior than cognitive measures of satisfaction.

“By more completely understanding how the experience of attending a game impacts a fan’s satisfaction and their purchasing intentions, sports teams can develop a more effective overall consumer experience, regardless of the outcome on the field,” said Martin. “This study showed that, despite the cyclical nature of winning and losing, sports organizations can still drive customer satisfaction and repurchase intentions by also focusing on the overall experience when attending a sporting event.”

The study was a product of the dissertation Martin completed at Auburn, and he said its success speaks to the quality of education and research preparation students in the hospitality graduate program receive in the College of Human Sciences.

The study has since been cited in research focusing on consumer behavior, how sauce color affects purchase intention, the role of customer emotion in telecommunication, evaluating theme park experiences and more.

Of the most “influential and productive” institutions in emotions and sport management research, the bibliometric study ranks Auburn at number four, citing the total number of citations, papers in the field and the average citations per paper from each university.

“The paper shines a great light on both the theoretical and practical application of the faculty’s work here at Auburn,” said O’Neill. “Dr. Martin is best described as a sports enthusiast and has combined his passion well with this academic research. His paper continues to serve as a foundational paper in the area of sports management, fan participation and their satisfaction levels while in attendance.”

More information about the hospitality management program at Auburn is available online.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.