To read this content please select one of the options below:

The synergistic effects of LMX and procedural justice climate on employee motivation and customer loyalty in a retail service context

Jin Ho Jung (James F. Dicke College of Business Administration, Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio, USA)
Jaewon Yoo (Small Business and Entrepreurship, Soongsil University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Yeonsung Jung (Business Administration, Dankook University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 18 October 2021

Issue publication date: 9 March 2022




The aim of this paper is to test how leader–member exchange (LMX) interacts with procedural justice climate to influence three types of employee motivation (i.e. achievement striving motivation, status striving motivation and communion striving motivation). Furthermore, this study empirically examines the indirect effects of LMX on customer loyalty through employee motivation and service orientation.


This study used a matched sample of 188 retail service employees and 376 customers from a large shopping mall in South Korea to test the empirical model. Structural equation modeling (SEM) and bootstrapping method were employed to test a series of proposed hypotheses.


The results show that LMX significantly enhances customer loyalty through two motivational dimensions and service orientation. In particular, this study shows that achievement and status striving motivation are directly related to service orientation, but communion striving motivation does not affect customer-focused service attitude. In addition, procedural justice climate serves as a critical moderator and synergistically interacts with LMX to influence achievement and status striving motivation.

Research limitations/implications

This study offers new insight regarding how managers' roles in both individual (leader–member exchange) and organizational (procedural justice climate) level affect different forms of retail service employee motivation and service orientation, which in turn, result in customer loyalty.

Practical implications

The results suggest that when retail service employees perceive procedural fairness at retail stores, they are more motivated to work hard to complete their assignments and achieve their sales goals in conjunction with leader support. Therefore, managers must provide a clear guideline and procedure regarding salary raises and performance evaluations or engage in thorough discourse on such matters with employees prior to announcements of such decisions. Moreover, as retail service employees interact with customers in the frontline, and how they serve customers plays a key role in creating customer loyalty. Managers should encourage retail service employees to engage in service-oriented behaviors.


The results suggest that LMX facilitates more formal task-related motivation to achieve either tasks or status while it is less related to relationship-building motivation, which is a unique contribution of this study. The results offer better understating of how LMX differentially leads to specific types of employee motivation in the existing literature.



Jung, J.H., Yoo, J. and Jung, Y. (2022), "The synergistic effects of LMX and procedural justice climate on employee motivation and customer loyalty in a retail service context", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 232-257.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles