Does role clarity explain employee‐perceived service quality?

Avinandan Mukherjee (School of Business, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA)
Neeru Malhotra (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

International Journal of Service Industry Management

ISSN: 0956-4233

Publication date: 1 October 2006



Role clarity of frontline staff is critical to their perceptions of service quality in call centres. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of role clarity and its antecedents and consequences on employee‐perceived service quality.


A conceptual model, based on the job characteristics model and cognitive theories, is proposed. Key antecedents of role clarity considered here are feedback, autonomy, participation, supervisory consideration, and team support; while key consequences are organizational commitment, job satisfaction and service quality. An internal marketing approach is adopted and all variables are measured from the frontline employee's perspective. A structural equation model is developed and tested on a sample of 342 call centre representatives of a major commercial bank in the UK.


The research reveals that role clarity plays a critical role in explaining employee perceptions of service quality. Further, the research findings indicate that feedback, participation and team support significantly influence role clarity, which in turn influences job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

Research limitations/implications

The research suggests that boundary personnel in service firms should strive for more clarity in perceived role for delivering better service quality. The limitations are in sample availability from in‐house transaction call centres of a single bank.


The contributions of this study are untangling the confusing research evidence on the effect of role clarity on service quality, using service quality as a performance variable as opposed to productivity estimates, adopting an internal marketing approach to understanding the phenomenon, and introducing teamwork along with job‐design and supervisory factors as antecedent to role clarity.



Mukherjee, A. and Malhotra, N. (2006), "Does role clarity explain employee‐perceived service quality?", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 444-473.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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