Workplace incivility and its effect upon restaurant frontline service employee emotions and service performance

Meehee Cho (Dedman School of Hospitality, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Mark A. Bonn (Dedman School of Hospitality, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Su Jin Han (Division of Business Administration, Hoseo University, Cheonan-si, South Korea)
Kyung Hee Lee (Department of Food Service Management, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 12 December 2016

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to acquire a better understanding about consequences of workplace incivility upon restaurant frontline service employees caused by customers, supervisors and coworkers. The moderating roles of perceived organizational support (POS) and emotion regulation ability (ERA) were also tested to determine the possibility for reducing the negative effect of workplace incivility upon the emotional exhaustion of restaurant frontline service employees.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data obtained from 239 restaurant frontline service employees, a 35-item instrument was used to assess workplace incivility and its effects upon emotional exhaustion, perceived service performance, POS and ERA. A structural equation model was used to test hypotheses. The multi-group approach was used to investigate the moderating effects POS and ERA have upon the relationships between workplace incivility, emotional exhaustion and perceived service performance.

Findings

Results documented that workplace incivility significantly increases emotional exhaustion and further leads to low levels of job service performance. Customer incivility was especially found to have the strongest power for increasing emotional exhaustion, followed by supervisor incivility. Also, results confirmed that POS and ERA play significant roles in moderating the relationships between workplace incivility, emotional exhaustion and perceived service performance. Based upon this study’s findings, theoretical and practical implications are offered for developing successful employee management strategies.

Practical implications

Results suggest specific practical management implications pertaining to restaurant frontline service employees. This study’s research findings recommend the development of more efficient support programs designed to diffuse potential situations involving workplace incivility. Findings further highlight the important role employee ERA has upon the effects of incivility and frontline service performance. Implications are provided with respect to specific strategic direction management should consider to recruit and select the most appropriate employees for restaurant frontline service positions.

Originality/value

The current study’s conceptual research was developed in an attempt to simultaneously address all three dimensions of workplace incivility to examine how they affect employee emotions and their job performance.

Keywords

Citation

Cho, M., Bonn, M., Han, S. and Lee, K. (2016), "Workplace incivility and its effect upon restaurant frontline service employee emotions and service performance", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 28 No. 12, pp. 2888-2912. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2015-0205

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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