To read this content please select one of the options below:

The influence of the physical work environment on retail employees

Treasa Kearney (Marketing (University of Liverpool Management School), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
Joseph Coughlan (School of Business, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland)
Aileen Kennedy (School of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Technological University Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 3 January 2023




Despite repeated calls for research to explore the effects of the physical work environment on employees within the servicescape literature, gaps in knowledge remain. There is a need to understand the nature, influence and impact of environmental stimuli (e.g. music, colour) on employees. Extant research remains ambiguous on whether employees perceive individual stimuli within their work environment or perceive and interact with their physical work environment as a holistic experience. This study aims to explore the influence of environmental stimuli on employees within their physical work environment and the effect on their satisfaction and loyalty.


A two-stage approach was applied, with expert interviews followed by an employee survey which was analysed using structural equation modelling.


This research validates a holistic physical work environment construct, consisting of five dimensions: Colour & Design, Cleanliness & Odour, Music, Lighting and Layout. This study provides empirical evidence of the impact of environmental work stimuli on employee satisfaction, a relationship which is mediated by pleasure.


Firstly, this study examines the neglected side of servicescape research: employees. Secondly, the findings support the view that employees do not perceive individual elements of their physical work environment as distinct and separate elements but rather perceive, and interact with, their physical work environment as an integrated whole. Evidence of how environmental stimuli at work increase employee job satisfaction is a key takeaway for retail practitioners focussed on improving service experiences for all actors.



Research ethics approval: Ethical approval was obtained before the research was conducted from the Technological University Dublin (previously known at the Dublin Institute of Technology) ethics committee. There is no available reference number. For further information please contact the corresponding author. Informed consent was obtained from respondents.


Kearney, T., Coughlan, J. and Kennedy, A. (2023), "The influence of the physical work environment on retail employees", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles