A Multilevel Investigation of Factors Influencing Employee Service Performance and Customer Outcomes
A MULTILEVEL INVESTIGATION OF FACTORS INFLUENCING EMPLOYEE SERVICE PERFORMANCE AND CUSTOMER OUTCOMES
HUI LIAO Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey AICHIA CHUANG National Taiwan University of Science and Technology Previous work on service performance has focused on either organization- or individual-level analysis. This multilevel study of 257 employees, 44 managers, and 1,993 customers from 25 restaurants demonstrated that both individual- and store-level factors were significantly associated with employee service performance: conscientiousness and extraversion explained within-store variance, and service climate and employee involvement explained between-store variance. Further, employee service performance aggregated to the store level explained between-store variance in customer satisfaction and loyalty. In response to an increasingly competitive marketplace, growing research attention is being devoted to factors contributing to desirable customer outcomes. Front-line service employees, placed at the organization-customer interface and representing an organization to its customers, play a pivotal role in service encounters, which often involve dyadic interactions between customers and service employees (Solomon, Suprenant, Czepiel, & Gutman, 1985). Empirical evidence shows that, to the extent employees are able to deliver high-quality service, customers are more likely to generate favorable evaluations of service encounters, experience higher satisfaction, and increase their purchases and the frequency of their future visits (e.g., Borucki & Burke, 1999; Bowen, Siehl, & Schneider, 1989). Therefore, it is important to understand what predicts employee service performance. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a multilevel framework in which employee service performance was examined as a joint function of employee individual characteristics and service environment characteristics.