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Service excellence in the light of cultural diversity: the impact of metacognitive cultural intelligence

Melanie P. Lorenz (Department of Marketing and International Business, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Jase R. Ramsey (Department of International Business, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA)
Ayesha Tariq (Department of Marketing, Troy University, Troy, Alabama, USA)
Daniel L. Morrell (Department of Management, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 13 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to understand when, how, and why service employees adapt the service encounter to meet the values and expectations of culturally disparate customers.


The authors tested the hypothesized framework utilizing a scenario-based experimental study. In total, a sample of 296 prospective restaurant service employees were asked to evaluate their willingness to adapt their behavior when faced with cultural differences as well as out group status. Furthermore, respondents were asked to assess their level of metacognitive cultural intelligence.


The authors found that both perceived cultural differences and out group status positively affect the service employee’s willingness to adapt their behavior. Further, cultural intelligence (CQ) positively moderates one of those two direct relationships.


The authors extend the literature on the service-adjustment process, as well as the managerial implications of service adjustment. The study is among the first to introduce the role of the service employees’ CQ in adaptation to an intercultural service encounter.



The authors would like to thank Jamey Hurst for the inspiration to this manuscript, Tom Baker and Andrew Kaikati for their valuable feedback, and Editor Marianna Sigala and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments that allowed us to significantly improve and further develop this manuscript.


Lorenz, M.P., Ramsey, J.R., Tariq, A. and Morrell, D.L. (2017), "Service excellence in the light of cultural diversity: the impact of metacognitive cultural intelligence", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 475-495.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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