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Customer aggression, emotional dissonance and employees' well‐being

Ruhama Goussinsky (Department of Human Services, Emek Yezreel College, Afula, Israel)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to explore the mediating role of emotional dissonance in the customer aggression‐job‐induced tension relationship and the role of job autonomy in buffering against the negative consequences of emotional dissonance.


In total, three samples of service workers were recruited from Northern Israel between the years 2007 and 2008 and data were collected with self‐reported questionnaires. Research hypotheses were tested with hierarchical regression analyses.


The present results show that emotional dissonance is significantly associated with a decreased sense of well‐being, even after controlling for negative disposition. The results also confirm that customer aggression relates to job‐induced tension through its influence on emotional dissonance, and that emotional dissonance is less likely to increase job‐induced tension and emotional exhaustion when the level of job autonomy is high.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that when intense emotional labor is required, helping service providers feel that they have control in their jobs may contribute to a better coping with its aversive effects.


Although it has been established that emotional dissonance plays a crucial role in explaining tension and psychological health‐related problems among service workers, an understanding of the factors at work that may protect employees from its negative consequences, is limited. This paper sheds light on the role of autonomy as a resource for service workers and especially for those whose jobs habitually require interactions with verbally abusive customers.



Goussinsky, R. (2011), "Customer aggression, emotional dissonance and employees' well‐being", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 248-266.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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