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The effect of illegitimate tasks on hospitality employees’ service performance: a conservation of resources perspective

Lijing Zhao (Management School, Hainan University, Haikou, China)
Phillip M. Jolly (School of Hospitality Management, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Shuming Zhao (School of Business, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 23 December 2022

39

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the influence of illegitimate tasks on frontline hospitality employees’ in-role and extra-role performance via the mediating role of thriving at work and the moderating role of work centrality.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 264 supervisor–subordinate pairs from three hotels in Jiangsu, China and analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

Illegitimate tasks negatively affected hospitality employees’ in-role and extra-role performance by inhibiting thriving at work. In addition, work centrality strengthened the impact of illegitimate tasks on thriving at work and their indirect effect on in-role and extra-role performance via reduced thriving at work.

Practical implications

First, managers should avoid assignment of unnecessary tasks. However, many tasks that could be viewed as illegitimate must still be performed; the results demonstrate that managers must be mindful of how such tasks are assigned and to whom, and should take steps to minimize and/or manage potential negative reactions to illegitimate tasks.

Originality/value

This study enriches the illegitimate tasks literature by examining its influence on the frontline hospitality employees’ in-role and extra-role performance and highlights a novel mediating mechanism linking illegitimate tasks and employee performance using conservation of resource theory. In addition, this reveals the novel moderating effect of work centrality.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Editor-in-Chief Professor Fevzi Okumus and several anonymous reviewers for their very constructive comments and suggestions throughout the review process.

Funding: This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71832007; 72262020) and Gansu Provincial Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project (2022YB066).

Compliance with ethical standards: This paper and all authors' compiled with ethical standards, the authors are willing to accept all responsibility for any violation of ethical standards in the study.

Citation

Zhao, L., Jolly, P.M. and Zhao, S. (2022), "The effect of illegitimate tasks on hospitality employees’ service performance: a conservation of resources perspective", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-03-2022-0357

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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