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Robot service failure: the double-edged sword effect of emotional labor in service recovery

Yunxia Shi (School of Management, Shandong Technology and Business University, Yantai, China)
Rumeng Zhang (School of Management, Shandong Technology and Business University, Yantai, China)
Chunhao Ma (Railroad Construction Services Department, China Railway Materials Tianjin Company Limited, Tianjin, China)
Lijie Wang (Sociology Department, Shandong Development Research Center, Jinan, China)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 28 December 2022

91

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss the effect of frontline employees' emotional labor (surface acting vs. deep acting) on customer satisfaction and the moderating role of responsibility attributions in the situation of robot service failure.

Design/methodology/approach

The scenario-based experimental method was designed to perform hypothesis testing and SPSS was used to analyze the data from the 363 questionnaires collected.

Findings

The results indicate that (1) employees' emotional labor recovery has a double-edged sword effect. Deep acting improves customer satisfaction, while surface acting undermines the effectiveness of service recovery and leaves customer satisfaction below previous levels. (2) Customers' responsibility attributions for service failure moderate the effect of service recovery.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to focus on the role of frontline employees' emotional labor in robot service failure contexts, which not only enriches and expands the relevant literature in this domain, but also deepens the understanding of how emotional labor and responsibility attribution effect the customer satisfaction.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This work was supported by the Social Science Foundation of Shandong Province of China (Award Number: 21CRCJ06).

Citation

Shi, Y., Zhang, R., Ma, C. and Wang, L. (2022), "Robot service failure: the double-edged sword effect of emotional labor in service recovery", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-03-2022-0048

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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