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Tip policy, visibility and quality of service in cafés

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This research studied the effect of tip policy and visibility on service quality in cafés. Applying social dilemma research to cafés suggests that service quality may be deteriorated by two types of free-riding behaviour. These free-riding behaviours include reduced-effort activities and the overuse of limited common resources. The theoretical framework implies that it is difficult to solve both problems simultaneously. For example, an individual tip policy can solve the problem of reduced effort as it motivates each server to work for his or her own tip. However, this policy intensifies the competition between the servers over limited common resources. Shared tip policy operates in the opposite way, solving the latter problem yet intensifying the former. Similarly, visibility conditions (moderating monitoring and social comparison) affect the two freeriding behaviours in opposite ways. Two field studies indicated that tip policy and visibility were interacting and that quality service could be attained with two combinations. Individual tip policy leads to quality service when combined with low visibility. Shared tip policy leads to quality service when combined with high visibility. The findings demonstrate the difficulty, but also the potential of generalizing social dilemma research to natural settings.


Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5367/0000000042430953

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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  • Tourism Economics, published bimonthly, is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the economics and finance of tourism worldwide. Articles address the components of the tourism product (accommodation; restaurants; merchandizing; attractions; transport; entertainment; tourist activities); and the economic organization of tourism at micro and macro levels (market structure; role of public/private sectors; community interests; strategic planning; marketing; finance; economic development).

    Fast Track. Tourism Economics Fast Track papers have been peer-reviewed, revised and fully accepted for publication. However, although these are the final versions from the authors, they are unedited manuscripts and will undergo a rigorous editing process before their appearance in an issue of the journal. This means that the Fast Track manuscripts may not conform to journal style in terms of presentation, spelling and other usages. They may also contain errors of typography, grammar, spelling, referencing, etc, all of which will be corrected in the processes of copy-editing and proofreading.
    Tourism Economics operates a Fast Track online publication system so that papers can be published and made available almost immediately on final acceptance by the journal. Each Fast Track article is given a DOI. When the paper is assigned to an issue, this DOI will automatically be transferred to the article in the journal issue.
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    Smith, J. (2013), Article title, Tourism Economics Fast Track, DOI xxxxxxxx.

    Once the paper has been published in an issue of the journal, the DOI will automatically resolve to that final version and the article can be cited in accordance with normal bibliographical conventions.

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