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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2022

Misun (Sunny) Kim and Jichul Jang

Drawing on social penetration theory (SPT) and social exchange theory, this study examines whether and why customer empathy for frontline employees (FLEs) and employee…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on social penetration theory (SPT) and social exchange theory, this study examines whether and why customer empathy for frontline employees (FLEs) and employee self-disclosure influence customer citizenship behavior (CCB).

Design/methodology/approach

This study’s hypotheses were tested using two studies (study 1 had an experimental design, and study 2 had a survey design) with restaurant customers.

Findings

The results indicate that when customers have a higher level of customer empathy for FLE, the likelihood that customers will exhibit CCB increases. Employee self-disclosure provides a greater advantage in fostering CCB. A mediating effect of rapport in the relationship between customer empathy for FLE, employee self-disclosure and CCB is also found, while no interaction effect of customer empathy for FLE and employee self-disclosure on CCB is supported.

Originality/value

Maintaining a focus on the interpersonal nature of interactions between customers and employees in co-creating values, this research advances the CCB literature by newly identifying customer empathy for FLEs and employee self-disclosure as predictors of CCB that have not yet been tapped. The underlying mechanism via rapport is also explained using the value co-creation perspective.

Details

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

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