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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2020

Lin Zhang, Jintao Wu, Honghui Chen and Bang Nguyen

Drawing on the branded service encounters perspective, the purpose of this study is to investigate how frontline service employees’ environmentally irresponsible behaviors…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on the branded service encounters perspective, the purpose of this study is to investigate how frontline service employees’ environmentally irresponsible behaviors affect customers’ brand evaluations.

Design/methodology/approach

The research conducted two experiments. The first experiment explored the effect of frontline service employees’ environmentally irresponsible behaviors on customers’ brand evaluations via corporate hypocrisy. The second experiment explored the moderation effect of employees’ prototypicality and the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) among customers.

Findings

Experiment 1 indicates that for firms with a green brand image, frontline employees’ environmentally irresponsible behaviors result in customers’ perception that the firm is hypocritical, thus reducing their brand evaluations. Experiment 2 shows that employee prototypicality and CSR importance to the customer enhance the negative impact of frontline employees’ environmentally irresponsible behaviors on customers’ brand evaluations through customers’ perception of corporate hypocrisy.

Research limitations/implications

This study is one of the first efforts to explore how frontline service employees’ environmentally irresponsible behaviors affect customers’ responses. It helps understand the impact of frontline employees’ counter-productive sustainable behaviors on customers’ brand perception, as well as the relationship between CSR and employees.

Practical implications

This study suggests that firms’ green brand image does not always lead to positive customer response. When frontline employees’ behaviors are inconsistent with firms’ green brand image, it can trigger customers’ perceptions of corporate hypocrisy and thus influence their brand evaluations. Therefore, firms should train frontline service employees to make their behaviors align with the firms’ green brand image.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first efforts to explore how frontline service employees’ environmentally irresponsible behaviors affect customers’ responses. It helps understand the impact of frontline employees’ counter-productive sustainable behaviors on customers’ brand perception, as well as the relationship between CSR and employee.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 August 2020

Daniel Belanche, Luis V. Casaló, Carlos Flavián and Jeroen Schepers

Service robots are taking over the organizational frontline. Despite a recent surge in studies on this topic, extant works are predominantly conceptual in nature. The…

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5147

Abstract

Purpose

Service robots are taking over the organizational frontline. Despite a recent surge in studies on this topic, extant works are predominantly conceptual in nature. The purpose of this paper is to provide valuable empirical insights by building on the attribution theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Two vignette-based experimental studies were employed. Data were collected from US respondents who were randomly assigned to scenarios focusing on a hotel’s reception service and restaurant’s waiter service.

Findings

Results indicate that respondents make stronger attributions of responsibility for the service performance toward humans than toward robots, especially when a service failure occurs. Customers thus attribute responsibility to the firm rather than the frontline robot. Interestingly, the perceived stability of the performance is greater when the service is conducted by a robot than by an employee. This implies that customers expect employees to shape up after a poor service encounter but expect little improvement in robots’ performance over time.

Practical implications

Robots are perceived to be more representative of a firm than employees. To avoid harmful customer attributions, service providers should clearly communicate to customers that frontline robots pack sophisticated analytical, rather than simple mechanical, artificial intelligence technology that explicitly learns from service failures.

Originality/value

Customer responses to frontline robots have remained largely unexplored. This paper is the first to explore the attributions that customers make when they experience robots in the frontline.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2011

Terje Slåtten, Göran Svensson and Sander Sværi

The purpose of this paper is to describe and explain the relationships between empowering leadership and a humorous work climate; and service employees' creativity and…

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2717

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and explain the relationships between empowering leadership and a humorous work climate; and service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs.

Design/methodology/approach

A model of causal relationships is presented, along with formulated hypotheses. The data were collected with a survey answered by frontline service employees in hotels.

Findings

The findings indicate a strong relationship between frontline cognitive creativity production of novel ideas and the behavioural implementation of these ideas into their respective work role. Moreover, the empirical findings indicate that both empowering leadership and a humorous work climate are able to trigger frontline service employees' creativity. In addition service employees' creativity appears to be a mediating variable in the relationship between empowering leadership, a humorous work climate, and the service employees' innovative behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

This study limits its focus on two factors: the stimulation of service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs, both of which offer opportunities for further research.

Practical implications

This study has indicated that both leadership practice and work climate play important roles in explaining service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour. In particular, managers should be aware of their empowering practices, as well focusing on the degree of a humorous work climate. An important practical managerial implication from the findings is to take humour into account and consequently to develop and implement strategies followed by necessary actions to manage humour in an appropriate manner in service organizations.

Originality/value

The reported study contributes to enhancing the knowledge of the roles of empowering leadership and a humorous work climate for service employees' creativity and innovative behaviour in frontline service jobs.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2018

Zizhen Geng, Caifeng Li, Kejia Bi, Haiping Zheng and Xia Yang

The purpose of this paper is to advance our understanding of the roles that service employees’ responses to high job demands play in service innovation, by examining the…

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1790

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance our understanding of the roles that service employees’ responses to high job demands play in service innovation, by examining the effects that service employees’ motivational orientation in self-regulation (regulatory focus) and their emotional labour strategy have on their creativity.

Design/methodology/approach

By integrating regulatory focus theory and emotion regulation theory, the authors developed a theoretical model to propose the links between promotion and prevention regulatory foci, different emotional labour strategies and frontline employee creativity. The research hypotheses were tested using hierarchical linear model based on data collected from 304 frontline employees and 72 supervisors in 51 restaurants.

Findings

The results showed that promotion focus was positively related to frontline employee creativity while prevention focus was negatively related to it. In addition, both emotional labour strategies (deep acting and surface acting) mediated the effect of promotion focus on frontline employee creativity. Surface acting mediated the effect of prevention focus on frontline employee creativity.

Originality/value

This is the first research conducted to explain, from a self-regulatory perspective, the influence that is exerted on service employeesservice innovation by their responses to high job demands. The findings identify the effects that service employees’ promotion focus or prevention focus in self-regulation have on their creativity, and the data unravel the role of emotional labour strategy as the mediating mechanism that explains the influence of regulatory focus on service employee creativity. On the basis of the findings, managerial directions are offered with regard to managing service employees’ regulatory focus and emotional labour, with a view to enhancing the creativity and innovation within a service organisation.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2011

Christine Mathies and Marion Burford

Despite widespread acknowledgement of the importance of employees to the success of service firms, research into how well frontline service staff understand service

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4774

Abstract

Purpose

Despite widespread acknowledgement of the importance of employees to the success of service firms, research into how well frontline service staff understand service remains scarce. This study aims to investigate what constitutes good customer service from the viewpoint of frontline service employees and to explore gender differences in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected from 876 frontline employees across a wide range of service industries. An automated text analysis using Leximancer explored general and gender‐specific patterns in employees' customer service understanding.

Findings

Irrespective of gender, frontline service staff share the perception that the pillars of good customer service are listening skills, making the customer happy, and offering service. Males have a more functional, outcome‐oriented interpretation of customer service; females focus more on the actual service interaction and emotional outcomes.

Practical implications

By acknowledging gender‐based dissimilarities in the customer service understanding of frontline service employees, the efficiency of recruitment and training processes will be enhanced.

Originality/value

This study contributes to limited work on service models of frontline staff and shows that gender can explain some differences. This study also adds another dimension to the understanding of gender effects in services, beyond its influence on customers' quality perceptions and behaviours. The results are important for services marketing research and for managers in charge of recruiting and training frontline service staff.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Zizhen Geng, Chao Liu, Xinmei Liu and Jie Feng

– The purpose of this study is to empirically test and extend knowledge of the effects of emotional labor of frontline service employee.

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2911

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to empirically test and extend knowledge of the effects of emotional labor of frontline service employee.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examined the effects of emotional labor (surface acting and deep acting) on frontline employee creativity, as well as the mediating effects of different kinds of job stress (hindrance stress and challenge stress) on the relationship between emotional labor and creativity. The research hypotheses were tested using data collected from 416 service employee–supervisor dyads in 82 Chinese local restaurants.

Findings

Results show that surface acting is negatively related to and deep acting is positively related to frontline employee creativity; surface acting is positively related to hindrance stress, while deep acting is positively related to challenge stress; and hindrance stress mediates the relationship between surface acting and creativity.

Originality/value

This study extends the consequences of emotional labor to frontline employee creativity from a cognitive perspective. It also advances knowledge about the effects of emotional labor on stress by classifying different kinds of job stress caused by different cognitive appraisals of surfacing acting and deep acting, and revealing the role of hindrance stress as psychological mechanism through which surface acting affects creativity.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 26 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 29 November 2012

Flemming Sørensen and Jens Friis Jensen

This chapter argues that substantial potential exists for service encounter-based innovation in tourism. However, there are also a number of obstacles. Based on…

Abstract

This chapter argues that substantial potential exists for service encounter-based innovation in tourism. However, there are also a number of obstacles. Based on theoretical discussions on potentials and obstacles, a Knowledge Chain Model of service encounter-based innovation in tourism is developed. It suggests how weak or broken knowledge chains limit companies’ potential for benefiting from service encounter-based innovation. The relevance of the model is illustrated by a comparative case study of four tourism companies. In light of the theoretical frameworks and empirical findings, the chapter suggests how experimental methods can join research and practice to enhance the innovative potential of tourism companies while providing the research community with valuable knowledge.

Details

Knowledge Management in Tourism: Policy and Governance Applications
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-981-3

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2021

Gary Mortimer and Shasha Wang

Fashion retail employees sometimes “bend the rules” to help their customers. Referred to as customer-oriented deviance, this study responds to calls to examine the…

Abstract

Purpose

Fashion retail employees sometimes “bend the rules” to help their customers. Referred to as customer-oriented deviance, this study responds to calls to examine the motivational antecedents of this behavior. This research also tests the moderating effect of tenure on the relationships between a frontline employee's motivations, their customer-oriented deviance behaviors and commitment to the organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected via a self-completed, anonymous, online survey provided to a sample of 390 sales associates employed in retail fashion businesses.

Findings

Findings demonstrate that fashion retail employees were inclined to adapt service procedures and engage in deviant communication about either their organization and/or the products they sell for both pro-social and self-directed reasons. Interestingly, long-tenured employees demonstrated consistently lower motivations to engage in consumer-oriented deviance compared to short-tenured employees. However, analysis indicated no significant differences between short-tenured and long-tenured employees in their consumer-oriented deviance behaviors and commitment to the organization.

Research limitations/implications

The cross-sectional nature and single-level data collection naturally put limitations on the generalizability of this research. The study does not examine alternative constructs that might mediate/moderate tested relationships, such as perceived empowerment, gender or risk, hence, future potential avenues for further inquiry are presented.

Originality/value

This research contributes to positive deviance theory and extends existing knowledge by developing an extensive model of motivational antecedents, a moderator and an outcome of consumer-oriented deviant behavior. For managers, this research provides valuable insights for organizations, which may create positive effects on service quality and a reduction in employee turnover.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2020

Mehmet Okan, Ayse Banu Elmadag and Elif İdemen

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive meta-analytic examination of the relationship between employee age and customer mistreatment. Drawing on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive meta-analytic examination of the relationship between employee age and customer mistreatment. Drawing on socioemotional selectivity theory and taking the cross-cultural and cross-sectoral differences into account and making the country-level and occupation-level comparisons possible for uncovering when age matters, the role of employee age on decreasing customer mistreatment is examined.

Design/methodology/approach

The data comprises of 103 independent samples collected from 48,067 frontline employees. Random effects individual correction meta-analysis procedure is used to aggregate correlation coefficients and correct them for sampling, measurement and range restriction errors. Meta-regression is used for examining the impact of key moderators.

Findings

Results consistently show that frontline employee exposure to customer mistreatment is decreased with age. Regarding national differences, negative associations are stronger in low power distance countries. Age has more potential to provide high-quality relations with customers in healthcare, banking, compared to call centers and hospitality sectors.

Practical implications

Healthy customer relations with fewer customer mistreatments come with employee age. However, results warn service managers about cultural and industry-related boundary conditions such as power distance and service orientation expectations.

Originality/value

This study is the first meta-analysis on the relationship between two contemporary challenges in organizational frontlines: the aging workforce and customer mistreatment. By conducting comprehensive data collection and analyses, this study concludes that older employees, especially in low power distance cultures, bring wisdom to service environments.

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Article
Publication date: 16 April 2020

Long-Zeng Wu, Yijiao Ye, Xuan-Mei Cheng, Ho Kwong Kwan and Yijing Lyu

Drawing from self-determination theory, this study aims to examine the effect of leader humor on frontline hospitality employeesservice performance and proactive…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing from self-determination theory, this study aims to examine the effect of leader humor on frontline hospitality employeesservice performance and proactive customer service performance (PCSP) via harmonious passion (HP) for work with employee neuroticism as the moderating mechanism.

Design/methodology/approach

This study controlled for the nested effect and tested all the hypotheses with Mplus 7.0 using a time-lagged three-wave survey of 232 Chinese supervisor–subordinate dyads.

Findings

The results indicated that leader humor promotes frontline hospitality employeesservice performance and PCSP by enhancing their HP. Furthermore, neuroticism was shown to strengthen the direct impact of leader humor on employee HP and its indirect impact on employee service performance and employee PCSP through HP.

Originality/value

First, this research contributes to the leader humor literature through exploring its impact on the service performance and PCSP of frontline hospitality employees. Second, this research develops a new framework to explain the leader humor-employee service outcomes relationship using self-determination theory. Finally, the focus on the moderating role of neuroticism helps to explain the “when” question of leader humor.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

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