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When and why does relative leader-member exchange enhance service performance? The roles of self-efficacy, team commitment, and multifoci team-level differentiation

Mahn Hee Yoon (Department of Business Administration, Daegu University, Gyeongsan, Republic of Korea)
David J. Yoon (W. Frank Barton School of Business, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 3 June 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019




This paper aims to examine the mediating roles of self-efficacy and team commitment in linking service employees’ relative leader-member exchange (RLMX) with customer service behaviors and also the moderating roles of team-level differentiations in leader-member exchange (LMX) and team-member exchange (TMX) in influencing these mediation processes.


Data were collected from 467 customer-contact employees working in hotel restaurants. Hierarchical linear modeling analysis was used to test the mediation hypotheses, and moderated path was used to assess the moderated mediation.


Self-efficacy and team-commitment both mediated the relationship between RLMX and customer service behaviors. The differentiations in LMX and TMX significantly interacted with RLMX in predicting self-efficacy and team commitment and also moderated the indirect effects of RLMX on customer service behaviors.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies need to incorporate customers’ or immediate supervisors’ ratings of subordinates’ customer service behaviors and replicate the findings in different countries and work settings.

Practical implications

Hospitality managers should foster a work environment wherein they develop equal quality relationships with their subordinates in a workgroup and promote high-quality relationships among subordinates in the workgroup to improve subordinates’ self-efficacy, team commitment and, subsequently, their customer service behaviors.


This study incorporates both self-efficacy and team commitment as motivation-based and social exchange-based mediators, respectively, in predicting customer service behavior. It also extends the boundary condition for the mediations by considering the team-level differentiations in both vertical exchange (LMX) and horizontal exchange (TMX).



This research was financially supported by the Daegu University Research Grant 2015.


Yoon, M.H. and Yoon, D.J. (2019), "When and why does relative leader-member exchange enhance service performance? The roles of self-efficacy, team commitment, and multifoci team-level differentiation", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 2666-2690.



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