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Impacts of misbehaving air passengers on frontline employees: role stress and emotional labor

Hsin-Hui“Sunny” Hu (Department of Hospitality Management, Ming Chuan University, Taipei City, Taiwan)
Hsin-Yi Hu (Graduate Institute of Technology, Innovation and Intellectual Property Management, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan)
Brian King (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The study aimed to investigate the impact of customer misbehaviors on airline in-flight customer contact personnel. A theoretical framework was proposed to test the meditating role of role stress and emotional labor in the relationship between consumer misbehaviors and emotional exhaustion.

Design/methodology/approach

In all, 336 cabin crew members employed by international airline companies participated in the study. The hypothesized model was tested using structural equation modeling with AMOS 20.0.

Findings

The results provide evidence that customer misbehaviors relate positively to employee role stress, emotional labor and emotional exhaustion. Moreover, role stress and emotional labor play important roles in enhancing the impacts of customer misbehaviors and thereby influence employee emotional exhaustion.

Practical implications

The findings potentially impact on employers both within and beyond the airline industry by demonstrating how frontline employees can be provided with support to reduce stress or exhaustion, leading ultimately to increased satisfaction.

Originality/value

This study has provided deeper theoretical insights into customer misbehaviors and their effects on employee role stress, emotional labor and emotional exhaustion.

Keywords

Citation

Hu, H.-H., Hu, H.-Y. and King, B. (2017), "Impacts of misbehaving air passengers on frontline employees: role stress and emotional labor", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 29 No. 7, pp. 1793-1813. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-09-2015-0457

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited