Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Ellen S. Cohn

Second Advisor

Edward O'Brien

Third Advisor

Victoria L. Banyard


Consumer-brand relationships have led consumers to expect fair outcomes (i.e., distributive justice) consistent with their relationship norms with a brand. Deviation from these norms produced intuitive consequences such as a reduction of consumer loyalty and trust towards the brand. Yet, 65-85% of consumers still counterintuitively defect to a brand’s competitor. According to consumers, aspects of procedural justice qualitatively appeared to be major components that affected their attitudes towards brands. However, the effect of this construct within relationship norms has been underexamined, producing an empirical gap. The purpose of this dissertation was to bridge this gap by identifying the effect procedural justice has on consumer loyalty and trust within different consumer-brand relationships. In pursuit of this purpose, three studies were conducted. The first two studies examined how consumer-brand relationships influenced the perception of procedural justice. Study 1 replicated previous research. Procedural justice affected participants’ loyalty and trust similarly, while distributive justice affected them depending on their relationship with a brand. Study 2 addressed limitations within Study 1 and produced conflicting results. Study 2 found that positive brand relationships were associated with a larger change in loyalty and trust as perceptions of procedural justice increased compared to negative relationships. To address the conflicting evidence of Study 1 and Study 2, Study 3 examined initial and post consumers’ expectations of consistent or inconsistent procedural information in relation to their brand relationship to produce changes in consumer loyalty and trust. Inconsistent performance of procedural justice resulted in no change in consumer loyalty and trust. Yet regular performance of these inconsistent procedural actions resulted in reduced consumer loyalty and trust within positive brand relationships. Study 3 conceptually replicated both Study 1 and Study 2 by highlighting how procedural justice was initially discounted by consumers but was used to help maintain or adjust consumers’ relationship with a brand across many encounters with a positive CBR brand. Thus, the results of this dissertation have contributed and extended empirical knowledge within two separate areas of research while also providing evidence which accounted for previously unexpected changes in consumer behaviors and attitudes.