A Multicultural Service Sensitivity Exercise for Marketing Students

Mark S. Rosenbaum, Northern Illinois University
Ioana Moraru, Northern Illinois University
Lauren I. Labrecque, Loyola University of Chicago


Services marketing and retailing courses place service quality at the heart of the curriculum, painting service providers as defenders of their customers' welfare and thwarters of service failures by ushering in recovery solutions. Yet academic literature and the popular press provide evidence that in some cases, service providers act as discriminatory agents toward their own customers. Likewise, other customers in the servicescape can negatively influence a customer's service quality experience. This article attempts to address shortcomings in services marketing textbooks and classroom discussions by providing educators with a multicultural service sensitivity exercise that they can employ in undergraduate, graduate, and executive MBA courses. The article offers educators an easy-to-implement, active learning exercise that shows students how many consumers fail to obtain quality service in the marketplace. The goal of the exercise is to help students develop an appreciation for diversity and understand how to manage a service setting so that all customers receive optimal service quality. © The Author(s) 2012.