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Customer Service Stress: A Meta-Analysis of Customer Mistreatment

Examining the Role of Well-being in the Marketing Discipline

ISBN: 978-1-78973-946-6, eISBN: 978-1-78973-945-9

ISSN: 1479-3555

Publication date: 9 September 2019


This chapter summarizes a meta-analysis of 72 studies (N= 20,701) that link customer mistreatment (abusive, nasty, and rude behavior of customers toward employees) to psychological, attitudinal, and behavioral strains. Results showed that customer mistreatment related significantly to a variety of psychological and attitudinal strains (emotional exhaustion, emotional strain, job (dis)satisfaction, turnover intentions, perceived organizational support, and supervisor support) and behavioral strains (reduced customer service performance and counterproductive work behavior (CWB) directed toward organizations and customers). These results were similar to those found with general mistreatment, suggesting that mistreatment by organizational outsiders might have similar effects to mistreatment from organizational insiders. These results suggest a clear association of mistreatment with strains, but recent work is discussed that questions the typical assumption that mistreatment leads to CWB rather than the reverse.



Arvan, M.L., Dreibelbis, R.C. and Spector, P.E. (2019), "Customer Service Stress: A Meta-Analysis of Customer Mistreatment", Perrewé, P.L. and Harms, P.D. (Ed.) Examining the Role of Well-being in the Marketing Discipline (Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 117-136.



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