Watch a presentation of the research program (in French only).

Substantive research areas

The Chair currently focuses on two areas of expertise:

1) The occurrence of conflicts between customers and firms, and

2) Their resolution process.

However, the Chair transcends the study of these specific topics and is also interested in supporting researchers and graduate students in pursuing other quality projects on service marketing and customer experience. Here is an overview of these three substantive areas: 

  1. Occurrence of conflicts. In the last ten years, the Chairholder (Yany Grégoire) and his co-authors have devoted much of their efforts to understanding customers’ responses to serious conflicts with firms. In particular, they have developed a research stream on customer revenge, defined as customers’ efforts to punish and hurt firms for the damages they have caused. Through a series of articles published in top academic outlets (e.g., JM, JAMS, JR, JSR) and practitioner journals (e.g., Sloan), this group of researchers have defined and measured customer revenge, examined its specific antecedents, and identified its dangerous behavioural manifestations. This newly developed area of research has quickly gained in popularity with the advent of the Internet, which has greatly empowered customers in their ability to get even with firms. Indeed, the fast development of social media—e.g., Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—is probably the key enabler that has made customer revenge a serious threat for firms and a popular research topic. 
  1. Managing resolution. The next logical step is to build on the knowledge created in the first area (i.e., understanding conflicts) to help firms prevent the occurrence of costly conflicts and to test the effectiveness of resolution interventions. By the same token, the Chair became interested in helping customers deal more constructively with their desire for revenge, which has been related to poor well-being. In other words, researchers are now turning their attention to the resolution process that should follow conflicts.
  1. Potential high-impact topics. In order to be successful in the long term, the Chair will need to build on the research programs of a group of individuals. It can contribute by providing resources (funding, databanks, contacts with organizations, feedback, scholarships, etc.) or by synchronizing co-supervision efforts. Depending on opportunities and market trends, the Chair could invest time and resources in the following areas (among others): qualitative methods applied to customer experience, longitudinal models applied to service situations, and physiological measures (with the Tech3Lab).


Three strategic activities to support the mission

 Research in the three substantive areas is supported by three principal activities:

  1. Growing deep roots at HEC Montréal. Ambitious projects like this Chair cannot be carried out by a single individual. The Chair will therefore be built on strong “in-house” foundations. Since its inception, the Chair has been involved in numerous collaborative projects with many HEC Montréal professors (Jean-Charles Chebat, Renaud Legoux, Sandra Laporte, Sylvain Sénécal, Denis Larocque, Danilo Dantas, etc.). To sum up, the Chair should become a place where HEC Montréal professors with different skills and interests can collaborate.
  2. Developing a new generation of top scholars and practitioners. Graduate students are the soul of a successful chair, and the Chair will recruit and support as many PhD and MSc students as possible. In fact, support to students represents by far the largest part of the budget. Supervision is becoming one of the main tasks of the Chair’s members, and they try to perform this task with diligence and a sense of caring.
  3. Building an international network. As previously stated, the Chair will start from within, based on the resources and people at HEC Montréal. However, this ambitious project cannot be fully accomplished if the Chair is not recognized beyond the School. Through a series of activities—such as a program of visiting scholars, a series of brown bag seminars, active participation in marketing conferences and a representation on editorial boards—the Chair aims to identify and work with the best international talents.