Sector Biases in Adults' Recreation Fitness Facility Selections


  • Ted Bogle
  • Mark Havitz
  • Frederic Dimanche


Sector biases, public, commercial, private nonprofit, sector.


The purpose of this study was to analyze adult recreational fitness participants' perceptions of similarities and differences among the services provided by the three (public, commercial, and nonprofit) sectors. Sector bias was defmed by Havitz and Crompton (1989) as an individual's propensity to purchase a service from one sectorrather than another. This study extended previous sector bias research using the Sector Bias Instrument (SBI) to study public, commercial, and, for the first time, nonprofit sector participants in the contexts of aerobic dance and weight training. Factor analysis of the SBI revealed three dimensions that are consistent with previous research: professionalism, creativity, and empathy. Multivariate analysis of variance of these dimensions found significant sector biases that are favorable towards the participants' current sector choices. This fmding is consistent with previous research. In addition, the majority of commercial sector and public sector respondents demonstrated both short- and long-term behavioral loyalty to their sector, whereas the private nonprofit sector respondents showed more propensity to switch to other options. Despite evidence ofbiases in the aforementioned tests, sector bias ranked lowest in importance among 10 purchase decision criteria by respondents from all three sectors. The results suggest that sector biases are closely related to participants' perceptions of service quality and pricing issues across the three sectors.





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