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Employees’ burnout and emotional intelligence as mediator and moderator in the negative spiral of incivility

Haemi Kim (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA)
Hailin Qu (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA and School of Management, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China and Business School, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 4 April 2019

Issue publication date: 30 April 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study how the negative spiral of incivility from customers to employees happens by measuring the mediating effect of employees’ burnout. Moreover, it investigates how to mitigate the detrimental influences of customer incivility by assessing the moderating effect of employees’ emotional intelligence.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional questionnaire survey using MTurk was conducted, targeting full-service restaurant employees. Descriptive statistic, confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling and hierarchical multiple regression analysis were applied.

Findings

The results presented that there is a direct relationship between customer incivility and employee incivility toward customers and coworkers. Additionally, employees’ burnout significantly mediates the relationship between customer incivility and employee incivility. Moreover, it presented the significant moderating effect of employees’ emotional intelligence on the relationship between customer incivility and employee incivility.

Research limitations/implications

Experiences of customer incivility during a service encounter directly trigger employee incivility. Moreover, customer incivility indirectly leads to employee incivility by increasing employees’ burnout. In addition, employees’ emotional intelligence mitigates a negative spiral of incivility from customers to employees. However, this study has limitations that provide suggestions for future research.

Originality/value

This research shows how customer incivility causes employee incivility in the workplace. It also shows a significant moderating role of employees’ emotional intelligence to mitigate the influence of customer incivility on employee incivility.

Keywords

Citation

Kim, H. and Qu, H. (2019), "Employees’ burnout and emotional intelligence as mediator and moderator in the negative spiral of incivility", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 1412-1431. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-12-2017-0794

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited