Download PDF

Explaining citizen satisfaction and dissatisfaction with public services

Publication date: 2017-01
Pages: 221 - 241
ISBN: 9781137552686
DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-55269-3_11
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan; London


Van de Walle, S


© The Author(s) 2018. With citizens being considered customers, public administration scholars have become interested in explaining satisfaction with public services and studying the consequences of high or low satisfaction. This chapter reviews current scholarship on satisfaction with public services and in particular the mechanisms and theories to explain such satisfaction. Differences between objective performance and subjective evaluations are discussed, as well as the impact of a halo effect in attitude formation and of direct user experience with service. Special attention goes to the expectancy disconfirmation model of satisfaction. The chapter does not only look at satisfaction as an attitude but also at voice and exit behaviours from which satisfaction or dissatisfaction can be inferred. It ends by critically assessing the value of behaviours as signals of public dissatisfaction with public services.