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Publication details

Chen, H 2016, 'Antecedents and consequences of post-tour dissonance: the case of Chinese group package tours in Australia', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright H Chen 2016


This study applies a significant, but under-researched, psychology theory—the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance — to the study of tourism in a cross-cultural context. Considered one of the most significant theories in social psychology, it is unfortunate that the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance is under-researched, with almost no work undertaken from a marketing perspective or in a Chinese context. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between cognitive dissonance, tour service quality and tourist loyalty among Chinese group package tourists in Australia. The study specifically examined two sets of relationships. The first were the antecedents of cognitive dissonance predicted by various dimensions of tour service quality. The second were the consequences of post-tour cognitive dissonance on tourist loyalty to tour operators. The study employed a quantitative survey-based approach. An exhaustive literature review identified validated scales to measure the constructs of tour service quality, cognitive dissonance and loyalty. A questionnaire was subsequently constructed by adapting these scales and translating them into Chinese. A total of 520 responses were collected using an internet panel provider. Multiple regression analyses identified a negative relationship between tour service quality and dissonance, as well as a negative relationship between dissonance and loyalty. Dissonance played a complex mediating role in the translation of service quality assessments into tourist loyalty. Structural equation modelling verified partial mediation effects of dissonance when shopping services and optional tours were used as predictors of tourist loyalty intentions. Therefore, to reduce post-tour dissonance and encourage tourist loyalty tour operators need to focus primarily on improving services related to shopping and optional tours. In an applied context, these findings may help Chinese tour operators to diagnose service shortfalls and to improve tourist loyalty through monitoring tour service quality. Given the predicted continued growth of Chinese outbound tourism and the unique characteristics of Chinese tourists these implications should be of broad interest to industry practitioners, policy-makers, and regional tourist associations.