The purpose of this paper is to test the influence of managerial coaching on frontline employee customer orientation, sales orientation and performance in a Chinese context. Further to this first goal, the authors also aim to compare these results with those obtained with a sample of Canadian bank employees in order to understand to what extent differences between Eastern and Western cultures affect business practices and employee responses in both environments.
This paper replicates a study from 2014 that used a sample of Canadian financial advisors to test the impact of managerial coaching on customer orientation, sales orientation and performance. In this new study, 185 frontline employees from a large insurance company in Chongqing (China) answered a paper-and-pencil questionnaire in Mandarin providing information about the coaching received from their managers, their own customer and sales orientation, as well as performance. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling in AMOS as well as multigroup confirmatory factor analysis to evaluate cross-cultural differences.
The authors found that for the Chinese respondents managerial coaching is positively related to employee performance both directly and through the mediation effect of customer orientation. The authors found no support for the mediation of sales orientation between coaching and performance. These results suggest that managerial coaching might be a good strategy to promote relational behaviors in frontline employees, but not to reduce manipulative behaviors. The authors also found that these results are statistically equivalent for Chinese and Canadian respondents, suggesting that cultural differences are less prevalent than expected in this business sector.
The study makes several contributions to research. First, it suggests that managerial coaching can help employees develop their customer orientation–a central construct for commercial organizations working under a relational marketing approach. Second, it presents one of the first studies that evaluate the efficiency of managerial coaching in an Eastern country. And finally, results underline the equivalence of results for Eastern (China) and Western (Canada) respondents suggesting that in a global environment (like the financial industry) the business logic guiding the development of good customer relationships and employee customer-oriented behaviors prevails over potential cultural differences and makes leader and employee behaviors more similar and comparable across different regions in the world.
First, the use of managerial coaching seems to increase frontline employee relational behaviors, like customer orientation. Accordingly, managerial coaching seems to be a link that can help financial institutions bridge the formulation of a marketing relational strategy in the boardroom and the implementation of such a strategy at the customer interface between frontline employees and customers. Second, given the equivalence of results between the Canadian and the Chinese sample, it seems that the similarities between business models and business logics within the financial services sector are more important—and supersede—the potential cross-cultural differences between Eastern and Western countries.
The study makes a contribution to the limited literature on the use of managerial coaching in financial institutions to increase frontline employee relational behaviors. At the same time, it presents one of the few cross-cultural studies comparing results obtained from Chinese and Canadian respondents.
Pousa, C., Hardie, T. and Zhang, X. (2018), "Promoting frontline employee customer orientation in China: a replication and a comparison", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 849-867. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-04-2017-0078Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited