Background Note | HBS Case Collection | March 2006

Influencing Customer Behavior in Service Operations

by Frances X. Frei and Amy C. Edmondson


Explores ways in which service firms can influence the behavior of their customers. Drawing from research on employee motivation and applying it to customer motivation, the note describes two levels of managerial control: instrumental control, which shapes behavior through the use of rational incentives, and normative control, which engages human emotions, motivating through the near-universal desire to be perceived in a positive light.

Keywords: Customers; Governance Controls; Consumer Behavior; Service Operations; Emotions; Motivation and Incentives; Power and Influence; Service Industry;


Frei, Frances X., and Amy C. Edmondson. "Influencing Customer Behavior in Service Operations." Harvard Business School Background Note 606-061, March 2006.