Drawing on social penetration theory (SPT) and social exchange theory, this study examines whether and why customer empathy for frontline employees (FLEs) and employee self-disclosure influence customer citizenship behavior (CCB).
This study’s hypotheses were tested using two studies (study 1 had an experimental design, and study 2 had a survey design) with restaurant customers.
The results indicate that when customers have a higher level of customer empathy for FLE, the likelihood that customers will exhibit CCB increases. Employee self-disclosure provides a greater advantage in fostering CCB. A mediating effect of rapport in the relationship between customer empathy for FLE, employee self-disclosure and CCB is also found, while no interaction effect of customer empathy for FLE and employee self-disclosure on CCB is supported.
Maintaining a focus on the interpersonal nature of interactions between customers and employees in co-creating values, this research advances the CCB literature by newly identifying customer empathy for FLEs and employee self-disclosure as predictors of CCB that have not yet been tapped. The underlying mechanism via rapport is also explained using the value co-creation perspective.
Kim, M.(S). and Jang, J. (2022), "I know you, you know me: the effects of customer empathy and employee self-disclosure on customer citizenship behavior", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-01-2022-0018
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