Exploring managers’ implicit theories of atmospheric music

Comparing academic analysis to industry insight

Charles S. Areni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)


A total of 90 hotel, restaurant, and pub managers completed unstructured telephone interviews exploring their implicit theories of how atmospheric music affects consumer behavior. Many of the implicit theories emerging in the interviews were grounded in previous research, but others had no obvious counterparts in the literature. The more novel theories suggested that atmospheric music: Must follow circadian rhythms to be effective; encourages or discourages anti-social behavior; and blocks out annoying and intrusive background noise. Each of the 14 industry-based explanations of the effects of music is compared with results reported in the academic literature, and directions for future research on the effects of atmospheric music are identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-184
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003

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