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How does leader conscientiousness influence frontline staff under conditions of serious anxiety? An empirical study from integrated resorts (IRs)

Jin Xue (University of Macau, Macao, China) (Suzhou Institute of Trade and Commerce, Suzhou, China)
Ziying Mo (International School of Business and Finance, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China)
Matthew Tingchi Liu (University of Macau, Macao, China)
Ming Gao (University of Macau, Macao, China)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights

ISSN: 2514-9792

Article publication date: 16 November 2021

Issue publication date: 20 January 2023




The objective of this study was to improve understanding of frontline staff's subjective happiness and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic by investigating the roles of employees' busy mindset and leader conscientiousness.


The link between employee anxiety and subjective happiness was also explored, and the cross-level mediating effect of employee anxiety was tested using a multilevel design. A survey of 373 frontline staffers and 74 team leaders in the integrated resorts (IRs) was conducted in three waves: April (Time 1), May (Time 2) and June (Time 3) in 2020. The data were analysed with SPSS and Mplus using a hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) method.


The results indicated that during the COVID-19 pandemic, a busy mindset increased frontline staff's anxiety and thus decreased their subjective happiness, and leader conscientiousness remedied the effect of anxiety on subjective happiness.

Practical implications

The findings are relevant to frontline staffers, team leaders in the hospitality industry and corporate service departments. Against the background of COVID-19, conscientious leaders can significantly help employees to overcome their anxiety and insecurity and improve their subjective happiness, answering the urgent call to deal with the challenges of the new work–life environment.


The study differs from previous other studies in two dimensions: First, the authors explored the interactions of the affective events from the cross-level perspectives, i.e. both team level and individual level. Second, the authors conducted this research on the mental issues of the hospitality frontline staffers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which remains a black box to be explored.



The work was funded by MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Project of Humanities and Social Sciences (20YJC630105), Philosophy and Social Science Program of Guangdong Province in China (GD19YGL20), and University of Macau (MYRG2020-00129-FBA).


Xue, J., Mo, Z., Liu, M.T. and Gao, M. (2023), "How does leader conscientiousness influence frontline staff under conditions of serious anxiety? An empirical study from integrated resorts (IRs)", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 90-109.



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