Application of Organizational Justice Theory to Consumer Complaints in COVID-19 Vaccination Drive.

AuthorBatra, Akanksha


All over the world, countries are fighting a war against COVID-19. A major step forward in this direction has been the initiation of the COVID-19 vaccination drive. Countries are attempting to achieve mass immunization to prevent surges in the number of cases. India is making steadfast progress towards achieving that goal since the commencement of the vaccination drive on January 16, 2021 (Press Information Bureau Delhi, 2021). However, a true measure of the success of any such government initiative should be complemented by an assessment of the customer satisfaction associated with it (Anderson & Fornell, 2000). This study adopts a qualitative approach to analyse consumer complaints regarding the COVID-19 vaccination drive. We extend the application of the organizational justice theory to study interactions between the consumers and the service providers with the objective to provide actionable insights for the service providers. This would increase the consumer satisfaction associated with the initiative and thereby improve participation. We extract data from an online consumer forum for complaints. To understand the overall structure of the topics mentioned by the consumers, we provide a network analysis of the keyword sin the text. We supplement this analysis by critically examining the text of the complaints and classifying them into meaningful themes.

The network analysis provides a descriptive overview of the complaints. The analysis highlights the most frequently occurring keywords in the text thus suggesting the central theme of the complaints. The analysis also identifies three clusters based on the co-appearance of the keywords. The findings of the thematic analysis suggest that the complaints can be broadly classified into those related to three categories viz. price, process and interaction. We further classify the complaints based on the stage of the consumption process, i.e., pre-consumption, service encounter and post-encounter. The complaints in all three stages of the consumption process are majorly related to the processes involved in getting the vaccination. This study adds to the organizational justice literature and the service consumption literature. The findings of the study can be utilized by the ground-level service providers to minimize consumer grievances. The methodology followed in the paper can be applied by service providers to identify critical situations.

Organizational Justice

The organizational justice theory identifies three categories, i.e., distributive justice, procedural justice and interactional justice (Greenberg, 1987). Distributive justice is the degree to which appropriate allocation norms are followed in a particular decision-making context. It is associated with the justness of the outcome with respect to one's inputs. Procedural justice is associated with the process followed for outcome allocation. A just process is characterized by accuracy, consistency, lack of bias and representation of all relevant stakeholders. Interactional justice is associated with the fairness of interpersonal interaction. It is based on relevant authorities providing correct and honest information in a respectful manner (Cropanzana et al., 2007; Colquitt, 2012). The presence of organizational justice ensures trust, commitment, better performance, improved customer satisfaction and reduced conflict (Cropanzana et al., 2007). Organizations can improve customer satisfaction by ensuring organizational justice and maintaining the perception of fairness among customers. Ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction is not solely dependent on the delivery of products and services but also the complementary management processes. (Campbell & Finch, 2004; Finch, 2004). Maintaining the perception of fairness amongst customers becomes even more challenging as the size of the organization increases (Campbell & Finch, 2004).

To ensure the smooth functioning of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, a myriad of organizations have accepted the challenge to coordinate with each other, such as the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, private and government hospitals and temporary vaccination centres. Our study focuses on the interactions between these organizations, hereby called the service providers and the consumers.

Social Listening

Social listening is defined as the process of attending, observing, interpreting and responding to different stimuli through electronic, mediated and social channels (Stewart & Arnold, 2018). Social media and mobile technologies have led to an increase in connectivity between entities, this forms the basis of social listening. Social listening has obvious implications for customer relationship management (CRM). Organizations can utilize social listening techniques to track, analyse and respond to conversations about them on social media (Stewart et al., 2017). Since consumers take to online platforms to express and voice their opinions, organizations must have a system in place that addresses any critical situations (Maity, 2017). Co-founder and president of Shoutlet, Aaron Everson says that social listening methods provide organizations with actionable insights based on consumer behavior (Wagner, 2014).

Extant literature talks about the strategic role of social media in customer relationship management. Stewart et al. (2017) examine how an academic library uses social listening techniques to enhance CRM. Maecker et al. (2016) empirically test the impact of interactions between the company and its users on social media platforms on a telecommunication company's churn rate and upselling efforts. Rosman and Stuhura (2013) talk about how interactions on social media platforms have influenced the hotel industry. Park et al. (2015) analyze the impact of social listening on interpersonal service quality and utilitarian value in the context of e-contact centres and e-retailers.

Our study uses a social listening tool to extract and analyze the complaints posted by consumers regarding their interactions with the service providers in the context of COVID-19 vaccination drive being conducted in India. Our study illustrates how extracting and analysing such data can provide actionable insights for service...

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