Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1874-8767
  • E-ISSN: 1874-8775
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In this paper, we investigate the attention given to and the impact of interpersonal, people-oriented and transactional, problem-oriented stance in English complaint refusals in business correspondence. The analysis is based on a sample analysis of English e-mail sequences from a Belgian multinational as well as experimental research that probes into the effect of interpersonal strategies on customer outcomes. The sample analysis shows a sharp contrast between theory and practice: while the need for supportive language and interpersonal attention are standard items in textbook instructions, the data show little alignment with the customer through expressions of regret, gratitude, or empathy. The experiment, in its turn, shows a positive impact of interactional stance on interactional justice but little to no impact on satisfaction, perceived professionalism, and loyalty. This raises a number of questions regarding best practice and best practice models.


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