This research examined how customer mistreatment activates individual customer-directed counterproductive work behavior (CWBC) by investigating the mediating roles of negative work reflection and negative affect. It also explored whether job autonomy buffers the negative impact of customer mistreatment on CWBC.
The authors tested their predictions using an experience-sample method with a sample of data from 79 service workers across eight days. A multilevel structural equation model was used to test the hypotheses.
The authors found that negative work reflection and negative affect mediated the association between customer mistreatment and CWBC. In addition, job autonomy moderated the indirect impact of daily customer mistreatment on employees' CWBC through negative work reflection and negative affect.
There are some concerns about a common method because all of the study variables were self-reported. Moreover, the study sample consisted of participants recruited exclusively from China, thus limiting this research's generality.
To eliminate the detrimental impact of customer mistreatment, supervisors can strive to improve the autonomy of those who interact with customers frequently to reduce their CWBC.
This study offers an integrative view to explain why service workers engage in CWBC when suffering customer mistreatment by testing the mediating mechanisms of negative reflection and negative affect in the association between daily customer mistreatment and CWBC. Second, the authors have broadened the study of customer mistreatment by introducing job autonomy as a critical condition, eliminating the indirect association between customer mistreatment and CWBC.
Data availability: The datasets used during the current study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
Conflict of interest: The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.
Informed of interest: Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the study.
Ethical approval: All procedures performed in our research followed the ethical standards of the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Funding information: This research was funded by the Youth Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (72002075, 71902037).
Lu, W., Sun, B., Yu, S. and Liu, S. (2023), "A dual-pathway model for examining the effects of customer mistreatment on an employee's customer-directed counterproductive work behavior: can job autonomy make a difference?", Career Development International, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 73-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-11-2021-0283
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