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How perceptions of firm environmental and social values influence frontline employee outcomes

Colin B. Gabler (Department of Marketing, College of Business, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
V. Myles Landers (Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis, and Business Law, College of Business, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA)
Adam Rapp (Department of Marketing, College of Business, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 30 July 2020

Issue publication date: 30 November 2020

691

Abstract

Purpose

More than ever, consideration of the natural environment and social welfare are values that firms must signal to their stakeholders. One way to do this is by adopting an environmental orientation (EO) and pro-social organizational identity (PSOI). The purpose of this paper is to examine how frontline employees (FLEs) respond to these firm-level values through four outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Polynomial structural equation modeling with response surface analysis was implemented on FLEs survey data to uncover how different levels of EO and PSOI impact sales performance, word-of-mouth, turnover intent and job satisfaction.

Findings

Both firm-level values have a positive and direct effect on all four outcomes. However, each imposes a boundary condition as well. Specifically, salespeople perform better when their firm has a stronger EO, but they are happier in their work, less likely to quit and more likely to spread positive word-of-mouth when PSOI is stronger.

Practical implications

The results suggest that perceptions of a firm-level EO or PSOI enhance employee-level outcomes. Signaling to employees that your firm cares about the natural environment and the greater social good positively influences employee outcomes, but optimization of each outcome depends on the strength of those values.

Originality/value

This research answers two specific research calls. First, it applies signaling theory to the workplace context, positioning FLEs as the receivers and feedback mechanisms of firm-level signals. Second, using too-much-of-a-good-thing logic, it uncovers boundary conditions imposed by social and environmental constructs on frontline outcomes.

Keywords

Citation

Gabler, C.B., Landers, V.M. and Rapp, A. (2020), "How perceptions of firm environmental and social values influence frontline employee outcomes", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 7, pp. 999-1011. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-10-2019-0376

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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