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Perspectives on Queues: Social Justice and the Psychology of Queueing

Richard C. Larson
Operations Research
Vol. 35, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1987), pp. 895-905
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/171439
Page Count: 11
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Perspectives on Queues: Social Justice and the Psychology of Queueing
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Abstract

Queues involve waiting, to be sure, but one's attitudes toward queues may be influenced more strongly by other factors. For instance, customers may become infuriated if they experience social injustice, defined as violation of first in, first out. Queueing environment and feedback regarding the likely magnitude of the delay can also influence customer attitudes and ultimately, in many instances, a firm's market share. Even if we focus on the wait itself, the "outcome" of the queueing experience may vary nonlinearly with the delay, thus reducing the importance of average time in queue, the traditional measure of queueing performance. This speculative paper uses personal experiences, published and unpublished cases, and occasionally "the literature" to begin to organize our thoughts on the important attributes of queueing. To flesh out more of these issues, the author asks for your cards and letters.

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