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Effects of the manager's goal orientation on frontline service employees' service–sales ambidexterity conversion

HsiuJu Rebecca Yen (Institute of Service Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan)
Paul Jen-Hwa Hu (Department of Operations and Information Systems, David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)
Yi-Chun Liao (Institute of Human Resource Management, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
Jiun-Yu Wu (Institute of Education, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 1 September 2022

Issue publication date: 3 November 2022




Ambidextrous frontline service employees (FSEs), capable of delivering quality services and carrying out sales responsibilities too, are crucial to service firms. This study seeks to extend ambidexterity research by examining how a manager's goal orientation could influence FSEs' ambidextrous conversion. The authors draw on achievement goal theory and conceptualize a link between a manager's achievement goal orientation and employees' service–sales ambidexterity (SSA). The authors then apply conservation of resources theory to complement this high-level conceptualization, hypothesize mediating roles of important resources that can facilitate employees' SSA, and the authors test them empirically.


This study adopts a questionnaire survey design. The empirical test relies on multilevel path analyses of dyadic data from 341 FSEs and 39 managers of a major logistics service company in Taiwan.


Managers with a prominent learning goal orientation can facilitate and foster FSEs' SSA through developmental inducements and change-related self-efficacy, two important resources for their ambidextrous conversion. Managers with a strong performance-avoid goal orientation instead might hinder employees' SSA conversion, due to a negative impact on developmental inducements. Furthermore, SSA enhances FSEs' service delivery value and sales performance.


By analyzing and empirically testing the influence pathways of essential resources perceived by FSEs, which channel the effects of a manager's goal orientation to employees' SSA conversion, this study offers insights about how managers can support and foster FSEs' service–sales ambidextrous conversion.



This research is supported by Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan (Grant numbers 102-2410-H-007-050-MY3 and 108-2410-H-007-089-MY3).


Yen, H.R., Hu, P.J.-H., Liao, Y.-C. and Wu, J.-Y. (2022), "Effects of the manager's goal orientation on frontline service employees' service–sales ambidexterity conversion", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 737-761.



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