A Multilevel Investigation of Factors Influencing Employee Service Performance and Customer Outcomes

Topics: Customer, Customer service, Service system, Big Five personality traits / Pages: 26 (6449 words) / Published: Oct 17th, 2012
® Academy of Management Journal 2004, Vol. 47, No. 1, 41-58.

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.

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