Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD in Business


Department of Marketing

First Advisor

Pierre Berthon

Second Advisor

Nada Nasr

Third Advisor

Joby John


Mindfulness, i.e., nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness and attention, finds its roots in ancient spiritual traditions, and is most systematically articulated and emphasized in Buddhism. Although arguably relevant to a variety of practices, mindfulness research is sparse in marketing literature. In particular, there is a shortage of empirical research on the application of mindfulness in marketing (Ndubisi, 2014). This dissertation follows a three-paper model to begin to address this shortage in marketing literature. Paper one uses the Service-Dominant Logic of Marketing and Moral Development Model as theoretical lens to discuss how mindfulness could be a viable approach to fostering ethical marketing behaviors. Paper two (co-authored with Pierre Berthon, Leyland Pitt and Ian P. McCarthy) explores mindfulness in service encounters. Specifically, it looks at the effect of mindfulness on the emotional labor of service workers. We propose that mindfulness can change surface acting into deep acting, thereby significantly improving the service encounter for both the consumer and provider. We also explore other effects of mindfulness such as adaptability, flexibility and creativity, and their applications to the service encounter. This paper was published in Business Horizons (Vol. 59, No. 6) in 2016. Building on the second paper, paper three (sole-authored) empirically tests the effects of state mindfulness on the quality of the service encounter, i.e. quality of the interaction between a customer and a service employee. A mixed design experiment was conducted in a New England university in October to December 2018. In the experiment, both state mindfulness and structure of the task were manipulated between subjects while the nature of the encounter (emotionally charged or not) was manipulated within subjects. Results of this experiment suggest that high mindfulness manipulation groups provided significantly higher service quality than low mindfulness manipulation groups. This pattern holds across the four dimensions of service quality: responsiveness, assurance, reliability and empathy. The structure (highly or less structured) and nature (emotionally-charged or non-emotionally charge) of service encounters do not alter this pattern. In less structured encounters, the two mindfulness manipulation groups did not experience significantly different emotional labor, with quite similar emotive dissonance and effort, from each other. However, in highly structured encounters, high mindfulness manipulation groups were more aware of their emotive dissonance, but they did not spend more emotive effort than their counterparts. The mediation effect of emotional labor was not found in this experiment. Taken together, the three papers bring the notion of mindfulness to the marketing domain, more specifically the service domain, through discussions of the impact of mindfulness on marketing ethics, emotional labor and service quality. This dissertation expands and deepens the research of mindfulness in the marketing field and identifies opportunities for marketing researchers and practitioners to utilize the practice of mindfulness in their discipline.