ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This article reviews the service management and marketing literature on managing people with a particular emphasis on managerial relevance. This review explores the market and financial results of managing people effectively, emphasizing that it is probably harder to duplicate high-performing human assets than any other corporate resource. The challenges inherent in boundary-spanning frontline jobs are discussed, including role conflict and emotional labor. Next, recommended HR strategies and practices related to recruitment, training, empowerment, service delivery teams, and employee motivation are reviewed. The literature review concludes with a section on service culture, climate, and leadership. Each section is complemented with further research suggestions that emerged from interviews with eight academic and practitioner experts. The last section outlines six themes for new research opportunities with high potential managerial relevance; they relate to (1) the financial impact of HR practices and strategies, (2) motivating service employees, (3) training, (4) emotional labor, (5) dealing with rude customers, and (6) the impact of technology on managing service employees.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Managing service employees: literature review, expert
opinions, and research directions
Jochen Wirtz
and Christina Jerger
Department of Marketing, National University of Singapore, Singapore;
Ingolstadt School of Management,
Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany
This article reviews the service management and marketing
literature on managing people with a particular emphasis on
managerial relevance. This review explores the market and
financial results of managing people effectively, emphasizing that
it is probably harder to duplicate high-performing human assets
than any other corporate resource. The challenges inherent in
boundary-spanning frontline jobs are discussed, including role
conflict and emotional labor. Next, recommended human
resources (HR) strategies and practices related to recruitment,
training, empowerment, service delivery teams, and employee
motivation are reviewed. The literature review concludes with a
section on service culture, climate, and leadership. Each section is
complemented with further research suggestions that emerged
from interviews with eight academic and practitioner experts. The
last section outlines six themes for new research opportunities
with high potential managerial relevance; they relate to (1) the
financial impact of HR practices and strategies, (2) motivating
service employees, (3) training, (4) emotional labor, (5) dealing
with rude customers, and (6) the impact of technology on
managing service employees.
Received 24 August 2016
Accepted 27 December 2016
Service employees; employee
engagement; service
excellence; service
leadership; human resources
Introduction and method
The quality of a service organizations frontline employees plays a critical role in determin-
ing market success and financial performance (Heskett, Sasser, & Schlesinger, 2015).
Behind most successful service organizations stands a firm commitment to effective man-
agement of human resources (HR), including the recruitment, selection, training, motiv-
ation, and retention of employees (Schneider, 1994). To succeed in the increasingly
competitive service economy, service organizations have to pursue competitive advan-
tage (Aragón-Sanchez, Barba-Aragón, & Sanz-Valle, 2003), which frequently is related to
the management of frontline employees who are a key component of delivering service
excellence (Altinay, Altinay, & Gannon, 2008; Berry, 2009; Salanova, Agut, & Peiró, 2005).
In fact, proven HR strategies allied with strong management leadership at all levels
often lead to a sustainable competitive advantage (Heskett et al., 2015; Hong, Liao, Hu,
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Jochen Wirtz Department of Marketing, National University of Singapore, 119245
Singapore, Singapore
VOL. 36, NOS. 1516, 757788
& Jiang, 2013). It is probably harder for competitors to duplicate high-performance human
assets than any other corporate resource (Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, p. 443), and the market,
financial, and business results of managing people effectively for service advantage can be
phenomenal (Chahal, Jyoti, & Rani, 2016; Heskett et al., 2015).
This article reviews and synthesizes the extant academic literature on managing service
employees through a lens of managerial relevance. To do this, we first reviewed the past
15 volumes of key service journals (including Journal of Service Management,Journal of
Service Research, and Service Industries Journal) and supplemented those with relevant
research from key management, marketing, and psychology journals. Second, we
reviewed the research from prominent academics who have made important contri-
butions to the service employee literature (including Leonard Berry, David Bowen, Alicia
Grandey, Anat Rafaeli, and Benjamin Schneider). Third, we reviewed key trade books on
managerial practice (e.g. Heskett et al., 2015; Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser, & Schle-
singer, 1994; Heskett, Sasser, & Schlesinger, 1997; Hsieh, 2010; Schneider & Bowen,
1993). Finally, to gain insights into future research opportunities with potentially high
impact on management practice, we identified key themes highlighted in the literature
and complemented this with email and telephone interviews with eight academic and
practitioner experts on organizational behavior and human resource management
(HRM) in service organizations.
The eight experts interviewed are (in alphabetical order): Leonard L. Berry (Professor of
Marketing, Texas A&M University), Niels Feldmann (Researcher, Karlsruhe Service Research
Institute), Alicia A. Grandey (Professor of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University), Ron
Kaufman (CEO of UP! Your Service, practitioner expert and author on service culture and
training), Anat Rafaeli (Professor, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology), Benjamin Schnei-
der (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Maryland), Heather Yurko (Senior
Manager Service Logistics and Operations Systems, Cisco Systems Inc.), and Kelly Wolske
(Trainer, We thank all experts for their time and valuable contributions.
The interviewees were selected based on their prominence in service research and
practice. We approached experts who have had a distinguished career in research and
can arguably be considered as the most prominent researchers in this field (e.g. Schnei-
der), have vast experience in driving change in service culture (e.g. Kaufman), are execu-
tives from highly innovative organizations that experiment with their HR (e.g. Wolske), or
are experienced consultants and practitioners whom we were referred to by knowledge-
able academics. We ensured that the experts covered key areas from different disciplines
ranging from organizational psychology to service culture, and training and change man-
agement to new organizational designs.
The interviews were conducted via email (except in the case of Wolske who requested a
phone interview). The literature review was presented as a backdrop, and a form was pre-
sented that listed key topics from the literature review on the left and open fields for
respondents to enter their suggested research topics on the right. The experts were
asked where they see the most significant research opportunities, specifically with a
view on managerial relevance. We asked at each main section whether there are other
promising topics for further research beyond what is covered in the literature review.
That is, we adapted a soft positivism approach in our interviews and analysis (Kirsch,
2004; Ravishankar, Pan, & Leidner, 2011), whereby experts were guided to reflect on the
literature review while they were also explicitly prompted to think beyond the topics
covered so that additional and unexpected research opportunities could emerge. The
expert answers were analyzed using the content analysis and coding approach (Bitner,
Booms, & Tetreault, 1990). Findings from both the literature review and the expert inter-
views were synthesized into managerially relevant recommendations for future service
research directions. Throughout the manuscript, the names of experts who raised any par-
ticular point are provided in brackets.
The remainder of this article is organized around key topics and related research oppor-
tunities in the following order: (1) the role of frontline employees for organizational
success, (2) HR challenges in service organizations, (3) HRM in service organizations, includ-
ing recruitment, enabling employees, training and internal communications, empower-
ment, service delivery teams, and motivation, and (4) service culture, climate, and
leadership. The article ends with key themes of potentially impactful managerially relevant
research opportunities.
Service employees are critical for organizational success
Service employees are important for an organizations competitiveness for a number of
reasons. First, the service employees are a highly visible service element for customers
and a core part of the service product (Hennig-Thurau, 2004). Second, service employees
represent the service organization from a customers point-of-view (Berry, 2009), signifi-
cantly shape the customersservice experience (Hausknecht & Langevin, 2010; Verhoef
et al., 2009), and determine customer value and the brand promise (Sirianni, Bitner,
Brown, & Mandel, 2013; Zhang, Liu, Wang, & Shen, 2011). Third, frontline employees
tend to have a good understanding of customer needs and wants, and can adapt the
service delivery accordingly, and thereby frequently help to establish personalized
relationships with customers and build loyalty (Bove & Johnson, 2001; Rafaeli, Ziklik, &
Doucet, 2008; Söderlund & Rosengren, 2008). Fourth, service personnel affects the firms
revenue as they often are tasked with generating sales in addition to their regular
service work (Jasmand, Blazevic, & de Ruyter, 2012; Yu, Patterson, & de Ruyter, 2012).
Finally, service employees impact operational productivity (Heskett et al., 2015).
Highly motivated employees showing discretionary effort are at the core of service
excellence (Heracelous & Wirtz, 2010). Over 20 years ago, Heskett and colleagues provided
ample case evidence regarding the strong relationship between employee and customer
satisfaction, which they termed the service-profit chain (Heskett et al., 1994) and later called
its basic prescriptions a way of lifefor leading service organizations (Heskett et al., 2015).
Their research demonstrates the chain of relationships among (1) employee satisfaction,
retention, and productivity; (2) service value; (3) customer satisfaction and loyalty; and
(4) revenue growth and profitability for the firm (Heskett et al., 1994).
So-called shop-floor workersin services (i.e. frontline staff) are in constant contact with
customers while serving, and there is clear evidence showing that employee experiences
of the service climate in which they work and customer satisfaction are significantly cor-
related (Schneider & Bowen, 1993). Satisfied, loyal, and productive service employees who
demonstrate care toward customers are frequently viewed as a key opportunity for service
differentiation (Heskett et al., 2015). A recent meta-analysis (Hong et al., 2013) and integra-
tive literature reviews (Gabriel, Cheshin, Moran, & van Kleef, 2016; Subramony & Pugh,
2015) confirm these relationships.
Similarly, Barroso Castro, Armario, and Ruiz (2004) established the link between extra-
role effort and customer satisfaction. There are many studies that have documented
how and why employees have such a strong impact on customer satisfaction and custo-
mer loyalty (e.g. Delcourt, Gremmler, van Riel, & van Birgelen, 2013; Evanschitzky, Groen-
ing, Mittal, & Wunderlich, 2011; Gazzoli, Hancer, & Kim, 2013; Ranjan, Sugathan, &
Rossmann, 2014). Interestingly, Grandey, Goldberg, and Pugh (2011) found that satisfied
employees lead to satisfied customers even via affective transfer (i.e. emotional contagion)
and performance motivation (i.e. extra-effort service behaviors).
We had not explicitly asked in our expert interviews on the financial impact of HR prac-
tices and strategies in service organizations, but this topic was highlighted by Yurko and
Bridges (editor of SIJ) as an interesting area for quantitative research. Notwithstanding a
large body of existing research, both felt that more large-scale quantitative research is
needed on the financial implications and return on investment (ROI) for service organiz-
ations that invest in best HRM practices versus those that do not. Such research could
follow the customer satisfaction literature that has already established such linkages
through large-scale empirical studies and has shown that increasing customer satisfaction
is linked to improved business performance (Anderson, Fornell, & Mazvancheryl, 2004;
Anderson, Fornell, & Rust, 1997) and increased risk-adjusted equity returns (Aksoy, Cooil,
Groening, Keiningham, & Yalcin, 2008; Fornell, Mithas, Morgeson III, & Krishnan, 2006),
largely through the positive effects that customer satisfaction has on repeat purchase,
cross-buying, and referrals. We need similar studies that link key HR strategies to improved
customer satisfaction, loyalty, and subsequent financial returns.
HRM challenges in service organizations
The literature on organizational behavior entitles frontline service employees as boundary
spanners. Service employees link the inside of an organization to the outside world, oper-
ating at the boundary of the organization and being responsible to both internal and
external stakeholders (Agnihotri, Rapp, Andzulis, & Gabler, 2014). These roles frequently
entail that frontline employees externally represent the firm to customers, conduct the
service delivery, and internally represent customers and communicate their requests
and needs. Because of their position in an organization, boundary spanners often
have conflicting roles with a negative impact on their performance and well-being (Bet-
tencourt & Brown, 2003). This multiplicity of roles in their service job frequently leads
employees to experience role conflicts and role stress (Boles & Babin, 1996; Bowen &
Schneider, 1985).
Sources of role conflicts and role stress
Role conflicts and role stress have three main sources. They are organization/client,
person/role, and inter-client conflicts. Organization/client conflict is caused by frontline
employees having to attend to frequently conflicting goals (e.g. Chan & Wan, 2012;
Chung & Schneider, 2002), which include marketing (e.g. customer satisfaction, sales,
cross- and up-sales; Jasmand et al., 2012) and operations goals (e.g. productivity and effi-
ciency). Further, employees can even be responsible for enforcing rate integrity and
pricing schedules that might be in direct conflict with achieving customer satisfaction.
Role conflicts are especially acute in organizations that are not customer-oriented as the
integration of conflicting goals is pushed to the frontline (Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016,
pp. 406408).
Person/role conflict is caused when service employees perceive conflicts between what
their job requires them to do, and their own personality, self-perceptions, and beliefs. For
example, employees might be expected to smile and be friendly even to rude customers
as part of the service with a smilepremise (Grandey, Rafaeli, Ravid, Wirtz, & Steiner, 2010).
Mahesh and Kasturi (2006) note from their consulting engagements with service organ-
izations from around the globe that frontline employees consistently describe customers
with negative attributes using phrases such as arrogant, overdemanding, and unreason-
able. Providing high-quality service requires serving personnel to have an independent,
warm, and friendly personality, and such personality traits are more likely to be found
in staff with higher self-esteem. However, many service jobs are seen as low level and
are associated with low education, low pay, and limited advancement opportunities
(Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, p. 407).
Inter-client conflicts are caused by clashes between customers, as it is usually the
service employees who have to mediate misbehaving customers during service encoun-
ters (e.g. Bougie, Pieters, & Zeelenberg, 2003; Grandey, Dickter, & Sin, 2004). For
example, conflicts between passengers have become increasingly common and are fre-
quently triggered by crowded planes, small seats, and limited legroom (McCartney,
2016), and personality traits such as low self-control (Meldrum, 2016). Dealing with such
situations can be stressful and unpleasant for service employees.
In summary, service employees may perform triple roles: satisfying customers,
delivering productivity, and generating sales, which frequently results in role conflict
and stress. Conflicting goals are a key cause of burnout (Ellway, 2014; Jasmand et al.,
2012; Rod & Ashill, 2013), job dissatisfaction, and employee absenteeism (Chung &
Schneider, 2002).
Emotional labor
Emotional labor, first introduced by Hochschild (1983) in her book The managed heart,
emerges when way frontline employeesfeelings differ from the emotions they are
asked to display toward customers (also referred to as emotional dissonance) (Grandey,
2003; Van Dijk & Brown, 2006; Zapf, Vogt, Seifert, Mertini, & Isic, 1999). Frontline employees
are expected to be cheerful, compassionate, genial, sincere, or even self-effacing all
emotions that can be conveyed to customers through facial expressions, gestures, and
tone of voice (Mattila & Enz, 2002). Although some service organizations make an effort
to recruit employees with a positive outlook and low levels of neuroticism (Hopp, Rohr-
mann, Zapf, & Hodapp, 2010), frequently enabled by psychometric testing (Bateson,
Wirtz, Burke, & Vaughan, 2014), there will inevitably be situations when service employees
do not feel positive emotions themselves, yet they are required to suppress their true feel-
ings in interactions with customers in order to fulfill customer expectations of a nice and
friendly employee (Grandey et al., 2010).
Making this even more difficult is that it is the authentic display of positive emotions
rather than surface acting with faked emotions which affects customer satisfaction (Hur,
Moon, & Jung, 2015; Wang & Groth, 2014). Emotional contagion for both positive and
negative emotions from service employees to customers (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1989), and how
frontline employees physically display their handling of stress is important for the custo-
mer experience (Du, Fan, & Feng, 2011; Grandey et al., 2011). Furthermore, Biron and van
Veldhoven (2012) found employeespsychological flexibility (i.e. handling emotions by
accepting them) to mitigate the relationship between emotional demands and employee
daily exhaustion, whereas surface acting worsened it, and deep acting had no significant
impact. As Constanti and Gibbs (2005, p. 109) point out, the power axis for emotional labor
tends to favor both the management and the customer, with the frontline employee
[needs] being subordinate,thus creating a potentially exploitative situation for
service employees.
It is clear that employees will experience ongoing stress and that service organizations
should train their employees in dealing with emotional stress, cope with pressure from
customers, and further get support from their team leaders. Here, high job autonomy
buffers the impact of emotional regulation on emotional exhaustion (Grandey, Fisk, &
Steiner, 2005). Emotional support seems particularly important when employees have to
deal with unreasonable and dysfunctional customers (Gong, Yi, & Choi, 2014), of which
service employees commonly encounter 710 abusive customers per day (Grandey
et al., 2004). If little or no support is provided, employees will use various ways to resist
the stress caused by emotional labor (Crosno, Rinaldo, Black, & Kelley, 2009; Hollander &
Einwohner, 2004; Rod & Ashill, 2009; Seymour, 2000), which include avoiding contact
with customers (Sandiford & Seymour, 2011), and developing intentions of leaving the
organization (Kraemer & Gouthier, 2014). Improving self-efficacy (e.g. through training)
is one way to reduce the negative effects of customer aggression on employee emotional
exhaustion (Goussinsky, 2012). The service providersmood can even be enhanced by a
nicer service environment, which in turn translated into improved customer perceptions
(Fowler & Bridges, 2012).
A number of research opportunities were mentioned by the experts related to the chal-
lenges discussed in this section and are summarized in Table 1.
HRM in service organizations
It is widely accepted that satisfied and engaged employees deliver better service quality,
and foster more satisfying customer relationships (Heskett et al., 2015), and through
increased customer loyalty, these strategies also pay off financially (Rust, Moorman, &
Dickson, 2002). Therefore, pursuing good HRM strategies and practices is considered
crucial so that organizations can hire, motivate, and retain engaged service employees
who are willing and able to deliver quality service, productivity, and sales. Figure 1
shows the Service Talent Cycle which is used as the guiding framework for successful HR
practices in service organizations, and is used as the organizing framework for the follow-
ing sections.
Jim Collins (2001a) advocates that The old adage People are the most important assetis
wrong. The right people are your most important asset.To this Wirtz and Lovelock (2016,
p. 417) added: ‘… and the wrong people are a liability that is often difficult to get rid of.
Table 1. Research opportunities related to HR challenges.
Topics Expert comments
.How do service providers respond (and how do they personally feel) when customers make reasonable
requests that violate company policy? (Berry)
.What happens when management/supervisor actions are inconsistent with their stated values? What are
the consequences of asking people to both sell and serve customers? What kind of training do people
need in how to deal with difficult customers? What are the consequences of failure to support service
employeestask performance with sufficient resources and/or asking service employees to violate ethical
or fairness rules of interpersonal behavior? (Schneider)
.Measure a baseline of frontline employees and conduct daily checkpoints on stress, productivity, and
outcomes. I postulate that even if employees do not identify as being stressedor consciously sense
conflict and simply say they are having a bad day, it is often tied to role conflict. Also, I postulate that the
higher the conflict, the lower the productivity, and the worse the outcomes for the organization and its
customers. (Yurko)
.The most pressing research opportunity is for me to dig deeper into how to resolve conflicts at the
frontline, especially role conflicts relating to customer service (i.e. customer satisfaction) versus sales and
versus productivity. At Zappos, we side-stepped the service-sales-productivity conflicts. We have a
separate sales team, service staff is not required to sell, and we dont have KPIs regarding productivity (i.e.
call duration). We address the person-role conflict by hiring people who are aligned with Zappos.
However, wed like to know more on how to reduce these conflicts further. At Zappos, we train empathy,
and thereby hope to minimize frontline employee conflict. We adapted Brené Browns work on empathy
from a mental health context to service, and base a lot of our training on her work. I dont see empathy
featured much in the services literature and feel that it should be integrated and explored with rigorous
academic research on how empathy and training (and hiring) for empathy can help frontline employees.
.What are the dimensions of emotional labor, and how do they differ in intensity in low-emotion services
compared to high-emotion services? (Berry)
.We could be asking about the emotional labor involved for employees performing services via chat,to
learn more about how faking itvia written text is different than via face-to-face or voice. (Grandey)
.For which kinds of people (what personality attributes) permit some employees to experience more or
less stress in emotionally demanding jobs? Thus, being thoughtful, kind, interpersonally sensitive, and
agreeable comes more naturally to some people than others; situations requiring such behaviors may not
be emotional-labor for all people. (Schneider)
.How can managers better prepare frontline service providers to respond to rude or offensive customer
behavior? (Berry)
.Measure the long term effects of working in an environment that requires high emotional labor. Because
employees have to actfor most of the day in this environment, do they stop caring for realover time?
How long does it take? Does this behavior transfer into their personal lives? That is, do they act all of the
time and forget their own beliefs and feelings? (Yurko)
.This literature review assumes that positive emotions are critical to customer service. But then we know
from available research that when times are busy emotions are less critical. We also know that customers
want bottom line results over and above emotion. And research in psychology suggests some effects of
positive and negative emotions that can challenge this assumption. So maybe investing in positive
customer emotions and employee emotions when service is automated is less critical than might appear?
Other topics
to HR
.To help managers make better decisions, we might question the expectation that employees always
provide service with a smile, and instead set expectations to show value for both customers and
employees. This means compensating employees better for effortfully maintaining positive interactions
with customers, which makes such labor less dissatisfying, and having no tolerance for customer
mistreatment of employees. Taking care of the financial and social experience of the high proportion of
workers in service is also likely to improve their health and home lives. (Grandey)
.What is required in different types of service jobs to prevent burnout? (Berry)
.One of the challenges in conducting service research is that there are dyads (customer-employee) and
triads (customer-employee-supervisor/coworker) that are constantly changing. Although a few studies
have been successful in obtaining both employee and customer perceptions of the same interaction,
obtaining customer reactions to the same employee (and vice versa) repeatedly over time is challenging.
But this would provide insights about some recent theoretical models that take a dynamic and cyclical
approach to service interactions. How does experiencing a friendly (or rude) service interaction affect the
customer after they leave the store do they pay it forward? To what extent do experiences from one
customer carry over to the next for employees? (Grandey)
.We know quite a bit about employeesperception that customers mistreat them, but very little about (a)
how that matches objective behaviors by customers, (b) how positive customer behaviors affect the
reactions, and (c) how managers can encourage positive and discourage negative behaviors from
customers. Attending to customers as co-producers of service interactions seems fruitful, but I have seen
little work on this. (Grandey)
.The increasing availability of information and services online may increase the complexity of demands on
service employees, such that cognitive skills and training are even more necessary; and perhaps the status
of these jobs will similarly increase. More research is needed on this topic as the existing evidence is
scenario-based or perceptual, and mostly negative in focus. (Grandey)
Getting HR right definitely starts with recruiting the right people, which includes compet-
ing for applications from the most suitable candidates in the labor market and then select-
ing the best candidates from this pool for the specific jobs at hand.
Candidate pool
Service organizations have a brand in the labor market, and potential candidates prefer
organizations that are known to be good to work for and that have an image that fits
their own values and beliefs (Andreassen & Lanseng, 2010). Job seekers regularly approach
current and former employees of an organization to learn about the working climate, sal-
aries, benefits, and even interview questions (Keeling, McGoldrick, & Sadhu, 2013). All of
this means that an organization has to first compete for talent market share (OReilly III
& Pfeffer, 2000, p. 1).
To effectively compete in the labor market requires an attractive value proposition for
potential employees. This includes having a positive image as an employer, being seen as
delivering high-quality products and services, being seen as good corporate citizens and
engaging in relevant corporate social responsibility (Korschun, Bhattavharya, & Swain,
2014), and having a reputation of the best employees already working in the firm
(McCord, 2014), which together make employees feel proud to be part of the organization
(Wirtz, Heracleous, & Pangarkar, 2008). Finally, reasonable compensation is another cri-
terion needed to be perceived as a preferred employer (Heskett et al., 2015, p. 82). The
offered compensation packages cannot be below average because it would violate appli-
cantsfairness perceptions; it takes a salary in the range of the 60th to 80th percentile of
the market to attract top performers to top organizations, less well-known organizations
will have to pay higher salaries (Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, p. 417).
Figure 1. The service talent cycle. Source: Adapted from Wirtz and Lovelock (2016, p. 416).
Selection criteria
Outstanding service employees tend to have qualities that cannot be taught. That is, these
qualities, such as energy, charm, and work ethics, are intrinsic which makes these employ-
ees so valuable to hire (Fromm & Schlesinger, 1994). Furthermore, recruiters should favor
candidates who are customer-oriented by nature (Rafaeli et al., 2008). As emphasized by
Collins (1999, p. 77) the right people are those who would exhibit the desired behaviors
anyway, as a natural extension of their character and attitude, regardless of any control
and incentive system.Typically, this would include hiring people with a high level of extro-
version, conscientiousness, and agreeableness, and a low level of neuroticism (e.g. Barrick
& Mount, 2000; Ekinci & Dawes, 2009; Hopp et al., 2010; Judge, Woolf, & Hurst, 2009). Fur-
thermore, service organizations might want to hire employees who are high on personal
control as they experience service with a smileand emotional labor as less stressful
(Grandey et al., 2005).
However, there are no perfect employees.Different positions in different organizations
are typically best filled by employees with different skills, serving styles, and personalities.
Brands have their own values and beliefs, and a good employee-brand fit should be
ensured. That is, it should be natural for frontline employees to deliver the service in a
way that is congruent with the organizations image, and the customer should perceive
the employees behavior as authentic (Löhndorf & Diamantopoulos, 2014; Sirianni et al.,
2013). Furthermore, employees have mental models regarding the meaning of customer
service, which can include satisfying customersneeds efficiently, filling the designated
sales quota, and forming a mutually beneficial relationship with customers. The mental
model of employees should further fit the organizations marketing strategy and position-
ing (Di Mascio, 2010).
Ideally, the recruitment and selection processes are explicitly designed to encourage a
good fit between employees, the brand and the marketing strategy, which leads to
employees having better identification with the brand and smaller skills gaps (Hurrell &
Scholarios, 2014), and lower employee turnover intentions (Jung & Yoon, 2013). A good
employee fit can be achieved by presenting key brand attributes in recruitment advertise-
ment, encouraging potential candidates to reflect on their fit with the brand and market-
ing strategy in job interviews, designing selection tests that convey brand values and
marketing strategy, further encouraging employees to make a self-assessment of their
fit, and ensuring that recruiters are proactively looking out for fit and potential misfit
when selecting employees (Hurrell & Scholarios, 2014; Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, p. 419).
Tools to identify the best suited candidates
A number of tools are available to identify the candidates with the best fit; widely used
approaches include interviews, personality tests, observations, and realistic job previews
(Bateson et al., 2014; Schneider & Bowen, 1995).
First, successful recruiters like to use more than one interviewer and build structured
interviews around job requirements to enhance their reliability and validity (Chapman &
Zweig, 2005). Using more than one interviewer leads to interviewers being more careful
in their assessments and it reduces the similar to mebias of interviewers (Lin, Dobbins,
& Farh, 1992; Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, p. 420).
Next, personality tests help to assess how a candidates traits fit the ones required for a
particular position. There is a large body of literature on how to select employees based on
their personality and personality traits. For example, willingness to treat customers with
consideration, courtesy and tact, perceptiveness of customer service needs, and ability
to communicate effectively with customers can be measured and used for selection
(e.g. Brown, Mowen, Donovan, & Licata, 2002; Kusluvan, Kusluvan, Ilhan, & Buyruk, 2010;
Liao & Chuang, 2004; Papadopoulou-Bayliss, Ineson, & Wilkie, 2001; Tews, Stafford, &
Tracey, 2011). Usually, hiring decisions based on personality tests tend to be accurate,
especially regarding the identification and rejection of unsuitable candidates (Bateson
et al., 2014), and analytics are increasingly used to identify the characteristics of top per-
formers in any given position (Davenport, Harris, & Shapiro, 2010).
Furthermore, good hiring decisions are often based on the observed behavior of can-
didates rather than the words recruiters hear in job interviews. As expressed by Wooden
(1997, p. 66), Too often, the big talkers are the little doers.Behavior can be observed by
using behavioral simulations and assessment center tests using standardized service situ-
ations. Some service organizations let candidates know the realities of the job during the
recruitment process by asking them to try on the job.This allows candidates develop rea-
listic expectations of their potential new job (Schlesinger & Heskett, 1991) and recruiters
can observe how candidates respond to the jobs realities and assess their fit to job
requirements (Berry, 1995). Unsuitable candidates often withdraw their application if
the job does not fit.
Finally, if behavior cannot be observed, past behavior and performance tend to be
good predictors of future performance. For example, applicants who have won service
excellence awards, received many compliment letters, and have great references from
past employers are likely to be excellent candidates for a similar position as these are
good predictors of the future performance of service employees (Wirtz & Lovelock,
2016, p. 420).
Recruitment-related research opportunities with a high potential impact on managerial
practice suggested by the experts are provided in Table 2.
Enabling employees
After recruiting the right employees it is critical to enable them which requires training and
development, internal communications, empowerment, and team building (Schneider &
Bowen, 1995).
Training and internal communications
Excellent service organizations show a strong commitment to training and internal com-
munications, which lead to better-skilled employees that deliver higher quality, customer
satisfaction, and sales (Aragón-Sanchez et al., 2003). As Schneider and Bowen expressed it,
the combination of attracting a diverse and competent applicant pool, utilizing effective
techniques for hiring the most appropriate people from that pool, and then training the
heck out of them would be gangbusters in any market(1995, p. 131). Key aspects gener-
ally covered in training include (1) organizational culture, purpose, and strategy, (2) inter-
personal and technical skills, (3) coping mechanisms, and (4) product knowledge.
Organizational culture, purpose, and strategy
Common recommendations include: (1) start strong and focus on getting emotional com-
mitment from new hires to the service firms core strategy; (2) promote and communicate
core values such as commitment to service excellence, responsiveness, team spirit, mutual
respect, honesty, and integrity; (3) use managers to teach, and focus on why,’‘how,and
what,rather than on the specifics of the job (Berry, 1999, p. 161; Simo, Enache, Sallan, &
Fernandez, 2014).
Interpersonal and technical skills
Interpersonal skills tend to be generic across service jobs, and include reading customers
needs, attentive listening, effective communications, understanding body language, and
visual communications skills such as making eye contact and displaying appropriate facial
expressions. Technical skills include the knowledge related to processes (e.g. how to handle
a return), equipment (e.g. how to operate a cash machine), and rules and guidelines related
to service processes (e.g. how to recover from a service failure). Both interpersonal and tech-
nical skills are necessary for high job performance(Tansik, 1990; Wilder, Collier, & Barnes, 2014).
Coping skills
In addition to interpersonal and technical skills, training should include coping mechan-
isms. These include on how to take complaining customers professionally, not personally,
and to help employees toward engaging in deep acting (Huelsheger & Schewe, 2011).
Table 2. Research opportunities related to recruitment.
Topics Expert Comments
Candidate pool .How do the characteristics of a preferred employer vary depending upon type of service
organization (e.g. healthcare versus leisure, or profit versus non-profit organizations)?
.Knowledge that a company is an excellent service provider will make a company a
preferred employer. The logic is that if a company does well by its customers it will do
well by its employees too, but research is required to understand the nuances here. For
example, which kinds of service settings attract which kinds of recruits, and what role
does company advertising play in attracting potential employees? (Schneider)
.Studying connections between S&P500 companies and how they use their brand to
recruit how does the brand resonate with newly hired employees? (Yurko)
Selection criteria .How do the personal success predictors vary for service providers in different types of
service organizations? (Berry)
.It is a myth that getting people with the right attitude is all it takes. People who have
the required skills, knowledge and ability to do the job is definitely required. Abilities
are difficult to teach so you have to hire for those. Customer orientation is a valid
personality trait and can be used to get close to the attitude piece, but attitude will be
helped by the environment (see service climate). Most service businesses have bought
the Southwest mantra uncritically, but research is definitely required to establish how
much ability matters relative to attitude in delivering service quality. (Schneider)
.Re-defining what is rightfor the services industry servant leadership, team-focused/
highly collaborative employees, boundary spanners, T-shaped people. How do we move
education in this direction? How can we measure how critical these skills are for
profitability and differentiation tying back into be the preferred employer? (Yurko)
Selection tools .It is likely that job simulations where behavior can be observed work better than paper
and pencil tests, but research is required to clarify how well each tactic works relative to
the other. (Schneider)
Other topics related to
.Is it better to hire family and friends, or to keep this element out of the workforce?
.How does positive onboarding/socialization experiences interact with the positive
effects of hiring the right people? (Schneider)
Product knowledge
To deliver excellent service, employees need to be able to explain goods and services to
customers effectively. For example, at service outlets of a mobile operator, employees
need to be able to answer questions about subscription plans, value added services, con-
tract details, phone features, and many other aspects of the operatorsservices including
maintenance and repair, and payment options.
Internal communications
In addition to an effective training platform, culture has to be shaped by strong communi-
cation efforts. Internal marketing and communications play a vital role in maintaining and
nurturing a corporate culture founded on specific service values, and establishing a strong
service orientation for the entire organization (George, 1990; Rafiq & Ahmed, 2000).
Leading service organizations use multiple tools to build their service cultures, including
internal marketing and training, creating and sharing core principles, company events
and celebrations.
Objectives and outcomes of training and internal communications
The aim of training and communications is to achieve observable changes in employee
behavior and decision making. If employees do not apply what they learn, the investment
will not yield returns. Here, supervisors play a crucial role by following up regularly on
learning objectives and reinforcing key training lessons (e.g. on how to handle complaints
and service recovery).
The outcomes of training and communications are to make service employees feel
more professional, helps overcome their (self)-image of working in low-end jobs and
enhance the customers service experience (Bettencourt & Gwinner, 1996). For example,
waiters who know about food, ingredients, cooking, wines, dining etiquette, and how to
effectively interact with satisfied and dissatisfied customers, feel professional, have a
higher self-esteem and are respected by their customers (Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016,
p. 428). As such, training and internal communications can be highly effective in reducing
person/role stress, and in enabling and energizing frontline employees to deliver service
excellence and high productivity (Aragón-Sanchez et al., 2003). Finally, training and devel-
opment combined with a good career development program has been shown to make
employees feel that they are valued and taken care of, and in turn motivated them to
meet customersneeds (Garlick, 2010; Hinkin & Tracey, 2010; Jackson & Sirianni, 2009).
The research opportunities related to training and internal communications are listed in
Table 3.
After being seen as a preferred employer, having selected the right candidates, and having
trained them well, the next logical step is empowering employees to make appropriate
decisions about customizing service delivery and finding solutions to service problems
(Chebat & Kollias, 2000; Lashley, 2001). It is important that frontline employees are self-
directed as they operate frequently on their own and face-to-face with their customers,
and it is difficult for supervisors to closely monitor them (Yagil, 2002). Furthermore,
many legendary stories of employees who walked the extra mile for a customer, recovered
from a service failure, or avoided some kind of disaster for a customer would not have
been possible without empowerment. Research has linked high empowerment to
enhanced customer satisfaction (Bowen & Lawler III, 1992; Bradley & Sparks, 2000; Raub
& Liao, 2012; Schepers, Falk, de Ruyter, de Jong, & Hammerschmidt, 2012). Further,
empowerment was positively associated with employee service-sales ambidexterity (Yu
et al., 2012) and found to drive growth in small firms (Altinay et al., 2008).
Levels of empowerment
High levels of empowerment are likely to be important when: (1) The service is personal-
ized and customized; (2) when the organization differentiates on service; (3) when there
are extended relationships with customers; (4) when complex and non-routine technol-
ogies are used; and (5) when service failures tend to be non-routine (Bowen & Lawler III,
1992). However, when there is low heterogeneity of services, employee empowerment
can be counterproductive and lead to lower productivity (Chebat & Kollias, 2000). Further-
more, good judgment is important as it is a fine line between going the extra mile for a
customer and service sweethearting, such as, unnecessarily giving freebies to boost a
units satisfaction rating, or to avoid a confrontation with a customer who is in the
wrong (Brady, Voorhees, & Brusco, 2012).
Requirements for empowerment
Empowerment is based on the involvement (or commitment) model which assumes that
employees will generate ideas and make good decisions if they are properly socialized,
trained, and informed. The model also suggests that employees are capable of self-
control and self-direction, and can be intrinsically motivated to perform. Specifically,
Schneider and Bowen (1995, p. 250) emphasize that empowerment isnt just setting
the frontline freeor throwing away the policy manuals. It requires systematically redis-
tributing four key ingredients from the top downwards throughout the organization.
These four ingredients are: (1) Information about the performance of the organizational,
team, and individual (e.g. operating results and measures of competitive performance);
(2) Knowledge that enables employees to understand and contribute to organizational,
team, and individual performance (e.g. problem-solving skills); (3) Power to make decisions
Table 3. Research opportunities related to training and internal communications.
Topics Expert comments
Training .Service employees must be equipped with the skills necessary to perform the job right the
first time, especially if they are in constant interaction with customers. Constant interaction
does not permit for do-overs, so they must be behaviorally equipped to handle a wide variety
of difficult situations. The training must be behaviorally-based and not just lectures. However,
what kind of behaviorally-based training is best for which kinds of situations requires
research. (Schneider)
.The efficacy of ethnomethodological studies in improving service delivery warrants research.
For example, how much does observation and shadowing customers improve the
performance of service employees? (Yurko)
.What are the opportunities to do internalbranding of the service to shape service providers
behavior? (Berry)
.Research is needed to establish which modes of communication (e.g. emails versus face-to-
face meetings; one-on-one meetings versus team meetings) are superior. (Schneider)
.Does it matter who communicates (level of executive/team member) regarding a teams
culture, foundational beliefs, and behaviors that will be rewarded? (Yurko)
that influence work procedures and organizational direction at the higher level (e.g.
through self-managing teams and quality circles), and transaction-specific decisions at
the micro level (e.g. decisions regarding customization for a customer and service recov-
ery); and (4) Rewards based on organizational, team, and individual performance, such as
bonuses and profit sharing.
Pushing these four features to the frontline empowers and rewards high performers,
fosters a culture of performance, and makes service firms more profitable overall
(Girotra & Netessine, 2014; Netessine & Yakubovich, 2012). Furthermore, empowered
employees can become an important source of organizational learning and innovation
(Ye, Marionova, & Singh, 2012), especially when employees get involved in the design
and implementation of new services (Cadwallader, Jarvis, Bitner, & Ostrom, 2010).
The research opportunities related to empowerment are shown in Table 4.
Service delivery teams
To provide customers seamless service, employees are often required to operate in teams,
usually across functions. Effective teams, and especially the team leaders, support com-
munication among their team members, share their knowledge, and drive team align-
ment. As many service teams are set up as small, self-managed units, they typically take
on more responsibility for their activities, which in turn, requires less supervision compared
to more traditional functionally organized customer service units (de Jong, de Ruyter, &
Lemmink, 2004). Furthermore, self-managed teams have been shown to set higher per-
formance targets for themselves than their supervisors would; within a well-functioning
team, the pressure to perform tends to be high (Berry, 1995). Finally, a positive team
environment has been shown to result in more positive service outcomes (Lin & Lin,
2011) and in higher sales growth (Batt, 2002).
Generally, too little attention is placed on hiring employees who work well in service
teams. This is often as important as how good people work on their own, and individual
stars can be outperformed by others through superior teamwork (OReilly III & Pfeffer,
2000, p. 9).
Team structure
It is important to make teams successful, especially so if employees are not well prepared
to work in teams. The skills needed for teamwork include, for example, listening to others,
cooperation, coaching and encouraging one another, an understanding of how to air
differences, tell one another hard truths, and ask tough questions. All of these skills
require training (Berry, 1995, p. 225; Schneider & Bowen, 1995, p. 141).
Table 4. Research opportunities related to empowerment.
Topics Expert comments
Empowerment .What is the relationship between empowerment levels and role conflict intensity? (Berry)
.Research must establish the degree to which companies, by their policies, permit staff to earn
autonomy/become empowered in their service behavior. Is it possible that people need to earn
empowerment by their own behavior and that empowerment is a reward, not a right? (Schneider)
.The difference between empowering new versus seasoned employees (those with more knowledge
know how to best wield their power) has not been researched yet. (Yurko)
.How can experience and training tie into empowerment under do the right thing for our customers
and our company? (Yurko)
Furthermore, a team structure needs to be established that helps teams to succeed,
which includes identifying what the team should achieve, selecting members with
care based on required skills, monitoring the team and providing feedback, keeping
team members informed of goal progress and achievement, rewarding them for effort
and performance, and coordinating and integrating them with other teams, depart-
ments, and functions to achieve the overall organizational objectives (Osheroff, 2007,
p. 25/61). Finally, it is necessary to achieve congruent perceptions between service
teams and their leaders regarding on aspects, including service leadership, service com-
mitment, and service systems, to strengthen the overall team performance (Benlian,
Integration across departments and functional areas
Service employees report lacking interdepartmental support as a crucial barrier for
them for delivering satisfaction to their customers (Sergeant & Frenkel, 2000). To reduce
this barrier, cross-functional teams with responsibility to serve their customers from
end-to-end can be deployed as kind of self-managing teams (de Jong et al., 2004), and
frequently hold a coordinating role for communication and interaction (Melton & Hartline,
Other ways to reduce conflicts between departments, break down potential barriers,
and enhance cooperation include: (1) job rotation and transfers to other departments
to support the development of a more holistic, organization-wide perspective, and
achieve better integration across departments (Ortega, 2001); (2) establishment of
cross-departmental and -functional project teams to foster interdepartmental
cooperation; (3) creation of cross-departmental or -functional service delivery teams; (4)
appointment of individual employees to integrate specific objectives, activities, and pro-
cesses between departments, or even from a department in charge of service experience
management that integrates marketing and operations (Kwortnik & Thompson, 2009); (5)
use internal marketing and training, and integration programs; and (6) top management
commitment to ensure that the overarching objectives of all departments are integrated
(Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, pp. 433434).
Research opportunities highlighted by our experts that relate to teamwork are provided
in Table 5.
Motivation of service employees
Employee performance is a function of ability and motivation. Effective hiring, training,
empowerment, and teamwork attains able people for an organization; performance
appraisal and reward systems are key to motivating them (Schneider & Bowen, 1995).
Service employees must get the message that performing high-quality service is the
key to getting rewarded (Bowen & Johnston, 1999). Motivating and rewarding for
service performance retains well-performing employees and also reduces their job
stress (Bowen & Johnston, 1999; Chung & Schneider, 2002). If done well, employees
quickly understand that promoted colleagues are great service performers and that
those who do not deliver good services will not advance or even be let go (Wirtz & Love-
lock, 2016, p. 434).
Basic pay and performance bonuses
Basic pay generally is not a sustained and effective motivator for service employees, and
tends to provide mere short-term motivating (Hansen, Smith, & Hansen, 2002). However,
bonuses that are contingent on performance and have to be re-earned in every assess-
ment period tend to be more lasting in their effectiveness. Hansen et al. (2002) suggest
a differentiation between rewards and recognitions as they represent different employee
motivation mechanisms. Other, more lasting rewards include the job content itself, goal
accomplishment, and recognition and feedback.
Job content
Service employees are often satisfied and motivated simply by knowing that they are
doing a good job, and they feel good about themselves and like to reinforce that
feeling. This applies especially if a job includes a variety of activities, allows the completion
of whole and identifiable pieces of work, is seen as important in that it is seen as having an
impact on the lives of others, allows autonomy and flexibility, and provides direct feedback
about how well employees do their work (Frey, Bayón, & Totzek, 2013; Heskett et al., 2015;
Schneider & Bowen, 1995).
Feedback and recognition
Employees derive a sense of identity and belonging from the recognition and feedback
they receive from their customers, colleagues, and managers. If employees receive
acknowledgment for good work in addition to periodic formal performance appraisals,
they will be motivated to continue to deliver it. If done well, service employee of the
month’–type of awards recognize excellent employee performance and can be highly
motivating (Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, p. 435).
Furthermore, it can be motivating for service employees when they are in direct
touch with end-users and receive positive feedback from them (Nasr, Burton, Gruber,
& Kitshoff, 2014). Positive effects were observed even if employees just saw pictures
of customers or read stories of wowexperiences customers had with their service
(Grant, 2011).
Table 5. Research opportunities related to service delivery teams.
Topics Expert comments
Service delivery teams .What are the characteristics of services that require high-performance teamwork? (Berry)
.Differences between teams with members that have rotated across departments and/or
through industries will they perform better than those that have been in a position for
extended periods of time? (Yurko)
.If teams are required to serve customers, then the hiring of people who can work well
together, and training them as a team are required; there is no short-cut to teamwork
and research is needed to identify the parameters surrounding which kinds of people
require what kinds of training and feedback to produce superior teamwork. (Schneider)
Other topics related to
team work
.The whole issue of work from homeand telecommuteas it relates to building service
teams requires research. What are the success factors for virtual service teams? (Kaufman)
.There are questions that need answers with regard to the relative merits of rewarding
individuals versus the teams of which they are a part when service is delivered by teams
and/or in team settings (e.g. call centers). So, do you reward the call center team or just
the individuals who work in the call center? (Schneider)
Goal achievement
Goals focus employees energy, and if well-communicated and mutually accepted, they
are effective and strong motivators, especially if they are specific, difficult but attainable,
and accepted by employees. Specific goals result in higher performance than no goals, or
vague goals (e.g. do your best), or goals that are impossible to achieve (Locke & Latham,
For effective goal setting, a number of issues should be considered (for a review see
Locke & Latham, 2002). When seen as important, achieving a goal is in itself a reward
and still can be used as a basis for providing rewards, including bonuses, feedback, and
recognition. Feedback and recognition from peers can be given faster and more
cheaply than financial rewards, and they provide the added benefit of gratifying employ-
ees self-esteem. Furthermore, progress reports about goal accomplishment (i.e. feedback),
and goal accomplishment itself ideally should be public (i.e. recognition) if they are to
satisfy employeesesteem needs. As long as the goal is specific, perceived as difficult
but achievable, and accepted by employees, goal pursuit will result in goal accomplish-
ment, even in the absence of other rewards. Finally, although goals should be specific,
they can be intangible (e.g. improved employee courtesy ratings) (Wirtz & Lovelock,
2016, p. 436).
To measure performance, Heskett et al. (2015) suggest a mixture of both financial and
non-financial measures a balanced scorecard approach that includes employee, custo-
mer, and financial metrics. Here, the authors consider the employee portion of these
metrics (e.g. employee engagement, loyalty, and productivity) as the most important as
employees constitute the core part of service production and delivery (Heskett et al.,
2015, p. 95).
Research opportunities highlighted by our experts that relate to the motivation of
service employees are shown in Table 6.
Service culture, climate, and leadership
To deliver service excellence and achieve a competitive advantage, service organizations
have to build a strong service culture and climate, and the supporting leadership struc-
tures (cf. Hong et al., 2013).
Service culture
Service organizations that strive toward delivering service excellence need to establish a
strong service culture that is continuously reinforced and developed by management to
achieve alignment with the firms strategy. A service culture concerns the basic assump-
tions and values that govern an organization related to customer service (Bowen & Schnei-
der, 2014; Schneider & Bowen, 1995). It includes the shared perceptions in the
organization, shared values about what is right and wrong, a shared understanding of
what works and what does not, and shared beliefs and assumptions about why these
beliefs are important, and shared styles of working and relating to others (Bowen & Schnei-
der, 2014).
Essential of a strong service culture is the employeesbelief that delivering service
excellence and outstanding customer value is important, and effective leadership
should bring out the employeespassion for delivering both. Some of the core values
Berry (1995) found in superior service organizations include excellence, innovation, joy,
teamwork, respect, integrity, and social profit. As such, it is the responsibility of the
leaders of these organizations to create a service culture with values that inspire, energize,
and guide service employees (Berry, 1995; Berry & Seltman, 2008).
Table 6. Research opportunities related to motivating service employees.
Topics Expert comments
Job content .Can routinized jobs be made more motivating, and if so, by what means?
Feedback and recognition .How should team accomplishments be recognized and celebrated? Is it better
to give informal feedback to staff or formal feedback, and how often should it
be done? (Schneider)
.When should we recognize service providers for excellent service individually,
and when as a team? Where is the payoff greatest? (Kaufman)
.At what point does feedback/recognition become meaningless? Whose
feedback provides the most meaning and motivation? (Yurko)
.If my workforce is global with different cultural preferences (e.g. individualistic
Americans and collective Asians) how do I implement an effective feedback
and recognition program across cultures? (Kaufman)
Goal achievement .How specific and challenging should service quality goals be and how should
accomplishment of those goals be recognized? Is money the best reward for
goal accomplishment? (Schneider)
.Does an achievement need to be publicly recognized in order to bring closure
to the goal? What kind of recognition is needed for short-, medium- and long-
term goals? (Yurko)
Other topics related to motivating
service employees
.How important are pay-based incentive systems in motivating service quality
in service jobs? (Schneider)
.Research is needed on which metric(s) to use (e.g. NPS, customer satisfaction),
and when and how to use them to align and motivate (as well as observe and
assess) service teams? (Kaufman)
.How do we best reward to enhance the service-profit chain? How can we
better tie individual and team rewards to profitability? (Yurko)
.What are the consequences on service quality of rewarding people with high
sales but poor service in sales and service teams? (Schneider)
.Jobs provide both demands on staff and resources needed to do the job, but
we do not yet know which kinds of resources are required to compensate for
which kinds of demands across service delivery jobs (e.g. high versus low
personal contact; routinized versus non-routinized; tangible versus less
tangible). (Schneider)
.The service-profit chain, even in the new version, makes too much of employee
satisfaction and not enough of the importance of the situation, on the one
hand, and personal service orientation and training on the other hand. People
who are service-oriented and well-trained and well-resourced and supported
will do a good job and be happy because of that. (Schneider)
.How can firms help their service employees to align their personal career goals
with business needs? How much does this alignment improve motivation and
productivity? (Yurko)
.Motivating Millennials in a service environment is not well understood (i.e. for
people who expect to be rewarded regularly and do not stay in a job for a long
period of time). How does this impact rewards and recognition within a
services-based industry, especially one which requires deeper knowledge and
more time in role? (Yurko)
.Are we rewarding managers who reward the right behaviors both in their
teams and through their own actions/behaviors? Consistency in rewards
what kind of role conflict does it create when one team rewards and another
does not within the same organization? (Yurko)
.Does investing in new skills adequately motivate employees? (Yurko)
Service climate
While culture is more holistic and value-focused, organizational climate is the part of the
organizations culture that can be clearly felt and seen by employees. As a climate gener-
ally relates to something specific (e.g. to service, innovation, or safety), multiple climates
often coexist within an organization. A climate for service includes clear goals and a
strong drive and support to deliver superior customer value and service quality (Clark,
Hartline, & Jones, 2009; Kasper, 2002). A service climate represents employeesshared per-
ceptions about the practices, procedures, and types of behaviors that get supported and
rewarded in a particular setting (Bowen & Schneider, 2014).
What employees perceive as important is what their organization and its leaders do.
Therefore, employees gain their understanding concerning importance through their
daily experiences with the policies, practices, and procedures of key departments such
as HR, operations, marketing, and IT (cf. Heskett et al., 1994). As advocated by Chung
and Schneider (2002), it is crucial to align all subsystems (e.g. HRM, marketing, operations,
and IT) by establishing a strong climate for service. For example, a number of studies linked
service climate to service innovation, customer loyalty (Kao, Pai, Lin, & Zhong, 2015; Sala-
nova et al., 2005; Wang, 2015; Zhang et al., 2011), and financial performance (Schneider,
Macey, Lee, & Young, 2009).
Service leadership
Service leaders are responsible for creating a supportive culture and climate for service.
Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, highlighted the role of managers as servant
leaders (Heskett et al., 1997, p. 236). Leaders do not require a larger-than-life personality;
rather, leaders who aspire to take a company to greatness need to have personal humility
blended with intensive professional will, ferocious resolve, and a willingness to give credit
to others while taking the blame themselves (Collins, 2001b). Moreover, a service-oriented
leadership has been shown to have a strong impact on service climate and implies appre-
ciating high-quality service performances and setting high service standards (Hong et al.,
2013; Schneider, Ehrhart, Mayer, Saltz, & Niles-Jolly, 2005).
Service climate research has contrasted two leadership styles: management of the
basics versus transformational leadership that sets strategy and drives change (Bowen &
Schneider, 2014). The persistent management of the basics and their endless details
creates a strong climate for service. Furthermore, leaders who create a strong climate
for service generally demonstrate a commitment to service quality, set high standards,
recognize and remove obstacles, and ensure the availability of resources required to do
it. This basic leadership style seems mundane compared to transformational leadership,
but both are needed for a recognition of the importance of the mundane and providing
a strong service vision that inspires and motivates everyone in the organization (Heskett
et al., 1994).
Successful leadership often is aligned with the ability to model behavior and thereby
focus the organization on the basics. One approach to achieve this is known as manage-
ment-by-walking-around(Peters & Waterman, 1982, p. 122), which involves regular visits
by leaders, often unannounced, to various parts of the organization. This approach pro-
vides leaders with insights into both backstage and frontstage operations, gives
opportunities to observe and meet employees and customers, and allows to see how cor-
porate strategy is implemented at the customer interface. For example, Disney Worlds
management spends two weeks every year in frontline staff job such as sweeping
streets, selling ice-cream, and working as the ride attendant, to gain a better appreciation
and understanding of what happens on the ground (DeVrye, 2000). Furthermore, it can be
motivating for employees when encountering senior leaders on such visits and it provides
leaders with an opportunity to model service excellence.
Finally, empirical research has shown why it is so important for management to walk
the talk.Simons (2002) showed that behavioral integrity of a hotels manager was
highly correlated to employeestrust, commitment, and willingness to go the extra
mile. In fact, of all manager behaviors measured, it was the single most important factor
driving profitability.
Organizational focus on the frontline
A strong service culture implies that an organization is firmly focused on the frontline, truly
acknowledging that it is the lifeline of its business and that revenues are largely driven by
what happens at the customer interface. Top management shows by their actions that
what happens at the frontline is crucially important to them (Mascarenhas, Kesavan, & Ber-
nacchi, 2006).
Effective service leaders are not only interested in the big picture, but also in the details;
they see opportunities in service nuances which competitors might consider trivial, and
they believe that the way the service organization handles little things sets the tone for
how it handles everything else. According to Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, this goes back to
our belief that customer service shouldnt just be a department, it should be the entire
company(2010, p. 153).
Our experts mentioned a few interesting research opportunities related to service
culture, climate, and leadership as presented in Table 7.
Directions for impactful managerially relevant research
The expert interviews allowed us to derive a number of exciting ideas and directions for
future research with high managerial relevance which were presented at the end of
Table 7. Research opportunities related to service culture, climate, and leadership.
Topics Expert comments
Service culture .How do the highest-performing service organizations use middle managers to help
build and sustain a strong service culture? (Berry)
Service climate .What level of the organization needs to set a services-basedclimate for the
organization to be successful at meeting customer needs? (Yurko)
Service leadership .Can you transition leadership to a servant-basedmindset can it be learned, or must
it be inherent in the people you hire? If it is inherent, what is the best instrument to
detect servant leadership? (Yurko)
Organizational focus on the
.Differentiation of organizations that do shadowing, learning, asking management to
periodically work in frontline jobs versus those that do not. (Yurko)
.How important is organizational design, alignment, and accountability to services
success? Can an organization be successfully leveraging various designs, or is there a
best fit? How does one determine best fit? (Yurko)
each main section of the literature review. In addition, a number of new, emerging topics
were highlighted that were not covered in our review; they related mostly to the interfaces
between new technologies, employees, and customers, and learning from the frontline
(see Table 8). Finally, we highlight six key themes we find particularly promising and
relate to comments from several experts.
Theme 1: financial impact of HR practices and strategies
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence on the market and financial outcomes of strategies
following the service-profit chain. However, the large-scale financial impact of HRM prac-
tices and strategies is underresearched. The ROI on investing in employees and best prac-
tice HR is not well-established for service organizations (Yurko). For example, future
research could contrast the financial and market impact of alternative HR strategies,
such as comparing a strategy based on high employee retention through investments
in best practices, compared to HR strategies that do not make these investments
(Yurko). Similarly, though emotional labor is assumed to benefit the bottom line
through customer loyalty and sales, the limited evidence that exists does not support
this (Grandey). More research is needed for how the emotional culture of an organization
or store affects the bottom line.
Theme 2: motivating service employees
The service-profit chain puts a lot of emphasis on employee satisfaction but not enough on
the situation on the one hand, and personal service orientation and training on the other
hand. As suggested in our expert interviews, service employees who are service-oriented,
well-trained, well-resourced, and supported will do a good job and be happy because of
that (Schneider). Research exploring intrinsic motivation would be of value.
Theme 3: training
The broader availability of information to customers is changing demands on employees,
which then will likely lead to a stronger focus on employeescognitive skills and training
(Grandey). In addition, employees need all-round training to better respond to the great
variety of different and potentially difficult situations in service encounters. Research is
required in specific settings to determine the different training foci required (Schneider).
Training related to new technologies (Rafaeli) and the usage of new technologies in train-
ing also offer interesting research opportunities.
Services are often provided by teams (e.g. consulting projects and restaurant services).
That means, for service teams, hiring, training, monitoring, and feedback should focus on
the team as well as individual mindset, and research on these team mindset issues is
needed (Schneider). Furthermore, differences between the kinds of teams required for
different kinds of services requires study (Berry). For example, high-performing teams
are often those that include members with rotation experience through industries and
include members who train new team members themselves (Yurko).
Table 8. Research opportunities related to emerging topics.
Topics Expert comments
Employee and customer
interfaces with new
technologies (e.g. Robots
and Artificial Intelligence)
.Much of the current research is based on face-to-face service or maybe call
center service. However, service is increasingly delivered through Internet
channels, through chat, Twitter, and Facebook. Employees are still a part of
the story. But the contact between employees and customer is mediated
through technology. This complicates things for employees, because the
ability to fully understand customers is challenged. And it is threatening to
employees because technology makes it easy to monitor everything about
employees, so service work can easily turn into a modern sweatshop.
.In a sense the employee now has to handle three managers: The formal
manager, the customer, and the technology. This also means other issues
will require new tools for assessments. Like employee effort so what is
effort in a phone or chat or twitter service? How can it be assessed? And how
can it be communicated? When employees try to understand how to solve a
customer problem in chat or twitter or even phone, they put a customer on
hold. And this is annoying and alienating to customers, who have no
knowledge of the employee effort. Effort can become a double edged sword.
The remoteness makes the work of employees much more challenging and
research is needed to better understand these dynamics. (Rafaeli)
.Automated service raises a number of interesting and complicated issues,
including what are the right things for an automated service agent to
express; should a robot express emotions or not, and assuming so, what
emotions? (Rafaeli)
.The idea of hiring the right people also become challenging, because do we
know who the right people are? What are their qualities, abilities, or traits?
The ability to manage the technology becomes a central tenant. And it can
also be a double edged sword, for employers and for customers. In general
service employees can pose a risk to customers because of their access to
personal information. Savvy employees with good technology skills can
become a real risk. I suppose this relates to the issues of empowerment.
Clearly, there are new challenges that need to be researched and managed.
.A broadly stated research question would be how do the patterns and
effects identified in previous research manifest in technology-mediated
service?For example, what do we know about the dynamics of busyness, or
of stress in technology mediated service? And what do we know about
employees expressing emotions or recognizing customer emotion in
technology mediated service? We currently know very little. And it is critical
to develop knowledge about this for effective management of modern day
customer service. (Rafaeli)
Closing the feedback loop and
innovation management
.Closing the feedback loop; that is, how can service organizations leverage
the knowledge and experiences their service employees more effectively? In
fact, building on the notion of service co-creation, we can say that, in many
cases, service employees gain a solid understanding of their customers
needs, circumstances, organizational requirements, resources, etc. (e.g.,
Wirtz, Tambyah, & Mattila 2010). Hence, service employees can function as
proxies for their customersand as such be involved in management tasks,
in particular in the area of service innovation (trend scouting, generating
ideas for new services, idea selection, etc.). Frontline employees can be an
incredible source of knowledge and a huge potential for innovation
management that is rarely tapped in a structured way. Hence, identifying
possibilities for opening up this source of knowledge and innovation, while
at the same time not overloading frontline employees with yet another
burden, is an interesting topic for further research. So far, we have seen a
couple of approaches in the area of Enterprise 2.0 (e.g. forums, crowd voting,
wikis, and idea contests). However, their success and sustainable adoption
has been moderate. Recently, new approaches have been tested such as
enterprise crowdsourcing (SAP, LEGO), or enterprise crowdfunding (IBM),
serious games, and participatory budgeting. It would be interesting to
conduct rigorous research on the contexts in which these different
approaches are effective. (Feldmann)
Theme 4: emotional labor
Being emotional, sensitive, and thoughtful is a natural behavior for some service employ-
ees and not for others not all employees feel the same way when operating at the front-
line, and further research should explore this more deeply (Schneider). Regarding the
customer service experience, research has not yet explored the different dimensions of
emotional labor that can be distinguished, and how these dimensions differ in their inten-
sity in different services (e.g. low- versus high-emotion services (Berry); one-time and
ongoing service encounters, and online versus offline interactions (Grandey)). Employees
are likely to deal differently with emotional labor in, for example, providing service via chat
functions, whereby faking emotionsmight feel very different compared to personal
service contexts (Grandey). Future research should also examine the long-term effects
of employees serving in a high emotional labor context. In particular, how does emotional
labor take over from time to time at work, and does this perhaps transfer to the employees
personal life as well and affect their overall well-being (Yurko)?
Theme 5: dealing with rude customers
Managers need to better prepare their frontline employees to respond to offensive custo-
mers, and research needs to focus on helping to develop effective strategies (Berry),
including employee training (Schneider). The service with a smilepremise should get
questioned in such situations, as it is important not to tolerate customer mistreatment
directed at employees and to take care of frontline employeesjob satisfaction and
health (Grandey). More research is needed to better understand how managers can
encourage positive and discourage negative customer behaviors in service encounters
(Grandey). Moreover, service encounters usually include dyads or triads between employ-
ees and customers, and require a more dynamic or cyclical research approach than used in
the majority of past studies (Grandey).
One example is Zappos which trains its employees in empathy to help resolve conflicts
with customers at the frontline before they escalate (Wolske). Zappos feels that empathy is
critical, and more research should focus on the empathy in hiring and training of employ-
ees (Wolske). Furthermore, future work should explore deeper how negative employee
experiences with one rude customer carry over to the next service interaction (Grandey).
Theme 6: impact of technology
Interactions between employees and customers are increasingly mediated by technology.
The role of technology complicates service work for employees, as it is more difficult for
them to fully understand their customersneeds, and customers can easier monitor the
work of employees due to greater transparency (Rafaeli). Furthermore, future research
could focus on how to integrate service employees and robots and other technologies
such as the Internet of Things, and where service delivery will happen in a largely auto-
mated world (Yurko). These changes may mean that customer demands on employees
increase, and the status of service jobs might change (Grandey). In addition, service
employees increasingly have to handle three parties: their manager, customers, and tech-
nology, which will change the job requirements, skills for hiring, and training (Rafaeli).
Research is needed to better understand the effects technology will have on frontline
This literature review shows that the quality of a service organizations people is crucial for
its market success and financial performance. However, boundary-spanning frontline jobs
are challenging, they often come with role conflict and emotional labor. Successful service
organizations address those challenges and are committed to the effective management
of HR, including best practices related to recruitment, training, empowerment, service
delivery teams, employee motivation, and creating a strong service culture, climate, and
effective service leadership. Excellent HR strategies with strong service leadership often
result in a sustainable competitive advantage as it seems harder to duplicate high-per-
forming human assets than any other corporate resource (Wirtz & Lovelock, 2016, p. 443).
For each main section we presented expert opinions on new research opportunities
with high potential managerial relevance and we highlighted six main themes in the
last section. We hope that this literature review combined with the expert interviews
will encourage further research on the effective management of service employees. It is
a fascinating and important topic that warrants the sustained emphasis of academic
service research.
The literature review section of this article was adapted and updated from Jochen Wirtz and Chris-
topher Lovelock (2016), Services Marketing: People, Technology, Strategy. 8th edition, World Scien-
tific. The authors gratefully acknowledge the valuable feedback provided by Eileen Bridges, Editor of
Service Industries Journal and Professor at Kent State University, Michael Frese, Amy Yi Ou and Sam
K.C. Yam, from the National University of Singapore, David Bowen from Thunderbird School of Global
Management, Richard Chase from USC Marshall School of Business, and Heather Yurko from Cisco.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Agnihotri, R., Rapp, A. A., Andzulis, J. M., & Gabler, C. B. (2014). Examining the drivers and performance
implications of boundary spanner creativity. Journal of Service Research,17, 164181. doi:10.1177/
Aksoy, L., Cooil, B., Groening, C., Keiningham, T. L., & Yalcin, A. (2008). The long-term stock market
valuation of customer satisfaction. Journal of Marketing,72(4), 105122. doi:10.1509/jmkg.72.4.105
Altinay, L., Altinay, E., & Gannon, J. (2008). Exploring the relationship between the human resource
practices and growth in small service firms. The Service Industries Journal,28, 919937. doi:10.
Anderson, E. W., Fornell, C., & Mazvancheryl, S. K. (2004). Customer satisfaction and shareholder value.
Journal of Marketing,68(4), 172185. doi:10.1509/jmkg.
Anderson, E. W., Fornell, C., & Rust, R. T. (1997). Customer satisfaction, productivity, and profitability:
Differences between goods and services. Marketing Science,16, 129145. doi:10.1287/mksc.16.2.
Andreassen, T. W., & Lanseng, E. J. (2010). Service differentiation: A self-image congruency perspec-
tive on brand building in the labor market. Journal of Service Management,21, 212236. doi:10.
Aragón-Sanchez, A., Barba-Aragón, I., & Sanz-Valle, R. (2003). Effects of training on business results.
International Journal of Human Resource Management,14, 956980. doi:10.1080/
Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (2000). Select on conscientiousness and emotional stability. In E. A.
Locke (Ed.), Handbook of principles of organizational behavior (pp. 1528). Oxford: Blackwell.
Barroso Castro, C., Armario, E. M., & Ruiz, D. M. (2004). The influence of employee organizational citi-
zenship behavior on customer loyalty. International Journal of Service Industry Management,15,
2753. doi:10.1108/90564230410523321
Bateson, J. E. G., Wirtz, J., Burke, E. F., & Vaughan, C. J. (2014). Sifting to efficiently select the right
service employees. Organizational Dynamics,43, 312320. doi:10.1016/j.orgdyn.2014.09.008
Batt, R. (2002). Managing customer services: Human resource practices, quit rates, and sales growth.
Academy of Management Journal,45, 587597. Retrieved from
Benlian, A. (2014). Are we aligned enough? The effects of perceptual congruence between service
teams and their leaders on team performance. Journal of Service Research,17, 212228. doi:10.
Berry, L. L. (1995). On great service a framework for action. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Berry, L. L. (1999). Discovering the soul of service the nine drivers of sustainable business success.
New York, NY: The Free Press.
Berry, L. L. (2009). Competing with quality service in good times and bad. Business Horizons,52, 309
317. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2009.02.002
Berry, L. L., & Seltman, K. D. (2008). Management lessons from Mayo Clinic: Inside one of the worlds
most admired service organization. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Bettencourt, L. A., & Brown, S. W. (2003). Role stressors and customer-oriented boundary-spanning
behaviors in service organizations. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,31, 394408.
Bettencourt, L. A., & Gwinner, K. (1996). Customization of the service experience: The role of the front-
line employee. International Journal of Service Industry Management,7,320. doi:10.1108/
Biron, M., & van Veldhoven, M. (2012). Emotional labour in service work. Psychological flexibility and
emotion regulation. Human Relations,65, 12591282. doi:10.1177/0018726712447832
Bitner, M. J., Booms, B. H., & Tetreault, M. S. (1990). The service encounter: Diagnosing favourable and
unfavourable incidents. Journal of Marketing,54(1), 7184. doi:10.2307/1252174
Boles, J. S., & Babin, B. J. (1996). On the front lines: Stress, conflict, and the customer service provider.
Journal of Business Research,37,4150. doi:10.1016/0148-2963(96)00025-2
Bougie, R., Pieters, R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2003). Angry customers dont come back, they get back: The
experience and behavioral implications of anger and dissatisfaction in services. Journal of the
Academy of Marketing Science,31, 377393. doi:10.1177/0092070303254412
Bove, L. L., & Johnson, L. W. (2001). Customer relationships with service personnel: Do we measure
closeness, quality or strength? Journal of Business Research,54, 189197. doi:10.1016/S0148-2963
Bowen, D. E., & Johnston, R. (1999). Internal service recovery: Developing a new construct.
International Journal of Service Industry Management,10, 118131. doi:10.1108/
Bowen, D. E., & Lawler, III, E. E. (1992). The empowerment of service workers: What, why, how and
when. Sloan Management Review,33(3), 3139. Retrieved from
Bowen, D. E., & Schneider, B. (1985). Boundary-spanning role employees and the service encounter:
Some guidelines for management and research. In J. A. Czepiel, M. R. Solomon, & C. F. Surprenant
(Eds.), The service encounter (pp. 127148). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
Bowen, D. E., & Schneider, B. (2014). A service climate synthesis and future research agenda. Journal
of Service Research,17,522. doi:10.1177/1094670513491633
Bradley, G. L., & Sparks, B. A. (2000). Customer reactions to staff empowerment: Mediators and mod-
erators. Journal of Applied Social Psychology,30, 9911012. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2000.tb02507.x
Brady, M. K., Voorhees, C. M., & Brusco, M. J. (2012). Service sweethearting: Its antecedents and cus-
tomer consequences. Journal of Marketing,76(2), 8198. doi:10.1509/jm.09.0420
Brown, T. J., Mowen, J. C., Donovan, D. T., & Licata, J. W. (2002). The customer orientation of service
workers: Personality trait effects on self- and supervisor performance ratings. Journal of Marketing
Research,39, 110119. doi:10.1509/jmkr.
Cadwallader, S., Jarvis, C. B., Bitner, M. J., & Ostrom, A. L. (2010). Frontline employee motivation to
participate in service innovation implementation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,
38, 219239. doi:10.1007/s11747-009-0151-3
Chahal, H., Jyoti, J., & Rani, A. (2016). The effect of perceived high-performance human resource prac-
tices on business performance: Role of organizational learning. Global Business Review,17(3S), 1S
26S. doi:10.1177/0972150916631193
Chan, K. W., & Wan, E. W. (2012). How can stressed employees deliver better customer service: The
underlying self-regulation depletion mechanism. Journal of Marketing,76(1), 119137. doi:10.
Chapman, D. S., & Zweig, D. I. (2005). Developing a nomological network for interview structure:
Antecedents and consequences of the structured selection interview. Personnel Psychology,58,
673702. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2005.00516.x
Chebat, J.-C., & Kollias, P. (2000). The impact of empowerment on customer contact employeesroles
in service organizations. Journal of Service Research,3,66
81. doi:10.1177/109467050031005
Chung, B. G., & Schneider, B. (2002). Serving multiple masters: Role conflict experienced by service
employees. Journal of Services Marketing,16,7087. doi:10.1108/08876040210419424
Clark, R. A., Hartline, M. D., & Jones, K. C. (2009). The effects of leadership style on hotel employees
commitment to service quality. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly,50, 209231. doi:10.1177/
Collins, J. (1999). Turning goals into results: The power of catalytic mechanisms. Harvard Business
Review,77,7082. Retrieved from
Collins, J. (2001a). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap and others dont. New York,
NY: HarperBusiness.
Collins, J. (2001b). Level 5 leadership: The triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business
Review,79,6676. Retrieved from
Constanti, P., & Gibbs, P. (2005). Emotional labour and surplus value: The case of holiday reps.The
Service Industries Journal,25, 103116. doi:10.1080/0264206042000302432
Crosno, J. L., Rinaldo, S. B., Black, H. G., & Kelley, S. W. (2009). Half full or half empty: The role of opti-
mism in boundary-spanning positions. Journal of Service Research,11, 295309. doi:10.1177/
Davenport, T. H., Harris, J., & Shapiro, J. (2010). Competing on talent analytics. Harvard Business
Review,88,5258. Retrieved from
Delcourt, C., Gremmler, D. D., van Riel, A. C. R., & van Birgelen, M. (2013). Effects of perceived
employee emotional competence on customer satisfaction and loyalty: The mediating role of
rapport. Journal of Service Management,24,524. doi:10.1108/09564231311304161
DeVrye, C. (2000). Good service is good business. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Di Mascio, R. (2010). The service models of frontline employees. Journal of Marketing,74(4), 6380.
Du, J., Fan, X., & Feng, T. (2011). Multiple emotional contagions in service encounters. Journal of the
Academy of Marketing Science,39, 449466. doi:10.1007/s11747-010-0210-9
Ekinci, Y., & Dawes, P. L. (2009). Consumer perceptions of frontline service employee personality
traits, interaction quality, and consumer satisfaction. The Service Industries Journal,29, 503521.
Ellway, B. P. W. (2014). Is the quality-quantity trade-off in call centres a false dichotomy? Managing
Service Quality,24, 230251. doi:10.1108/MSQ-09-2013-0192
Evanschitzky, H., Groening, C., Mittal, V., & Wunderlich, M. (2011). How employer and employee sat-
isfaction affect customer satisfaction: An application to franchise services. Journal of Service
Research,14, 136148. doi:10.1177/1094670510390202
Fornell, C., Mithas, S., Morgeson, III, F. V., & Krishnan, M. S. (2006). Customer satisfaction and stock
prices: High returns, low risk. Journal of Marketing,70(1), 314. doi:10.1509/jmkg.2006.70.1.3
Fowler, K., & Bridges, E. (2012). Service environment, provider mood, and provider-customer inter-
action. Managing Service Quality,22, 165183. doi:10.1108/09604521211218972
Frey, R.-V., Bayón, T., & Totzek, D. (2013). How customer satisfaction affects employee satisfaction and
retention in a professional service context. Journal of Service Research,16, 503517. doi:10.1177/
Fromm, B., & Schlesinger, L. (1994). The real heroes of business. New York, NY: Currency Doubleday.
Gabriel, A. S., Cheshin, A., Moran, C. M., & van Kleef, G. A. (2016). Enhancing emotional performance
and customer service through human resources practices: A systems perspective. Human Resource
Management Review,26,1424. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2015.09.003
Garlick, R. (2010). Do happy employees really mean happy customers? Or is there more to the
equation? Cornell Hospitality Quarterly,51, 304307. doi:10.1177/1938965510368623
Gazzoli, G., Hancer, M., & Kim, B. C. (2013). Explaining why employee-customer orientation influences
customersperceptions of the service encounter. Journal of Service Management,24, 382400.
George, W. R. (1990). Internal marketing and organizational behavior: A partnership in developing
customer-conscious employees at every level. Journal of Business Research,20,6370. doi:10.
Girotra, K., & Netessine, S. (2014). Four paths to business model innovation: The secret to success lies
in who makes the decisions when and why. Harvard Business Review,92,96103. Retrieved from
Gong, T., Yi, Y., & Choi, J. N. (2014). Helping employees deal with dysfunctional customers: The under-
lying employee perceived justice mechanism. Journal of Service Research,17, 102116. doi:10.
Goussinsky, R. (2012). Coping with customer aggression. Journal of Service Management,23, 170196.
Grandey, A. A. (2003). When the show must go on: Surface acting and deep acting as determinants
of emotional exhaustion and peer-rated service delivery. Academy of Management Journal,46,86
96. doi:10.2307/30040678
Grandey, A. A., Dickter, D. N., & Sin, H.-P. (2004). The customer is not always right: Customer aggres-
sion and emotion regulation of service employees. Journal of Organizational Behavior,25, 397418.
Grandey, A. A., Fisk, G. M., & Steiner, D. D. (2005). Must service with a smilebe stressful? The mod-
erating role of personal control for American and French employees. Journal of Applied Psychology,
90, 893904. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.5.893
Grandey, A. A., Goldberg, L. S., & Pugh, S. D. (2011). Why and when do stores with satisfied employees
have satisfied customers? The roles of responsiveness and store busyness. Journal of Service
Research,14, 397409. doi:10.1177/1094670511410304
Grandey, A. A., Rafaeli, A., Ravid, S., Wirtz, J., & Steiner, D. D. (2010). Emotion display rules at work in
the global service economy: The special case of the customer. Journal of Service Management,21,
388412. doi:10.1108/09564231011050805
Grant, A. M. (2011). How customers can rally your troops. Harvard Business Review,89,96103.
Retrieved from
Hansen, F., Smith, M., & Hansen, R. B. (2002). Rewards and recognition in employee motivation.
Compensation & Benefits Review,34(5), 6472. doi:10.1177/088636802237148
Hausknecht, J. P., & Langevin, A. M. (2010). Selection in sales and service jobs. In J. L. Farr, & N. T.
Tippins (Eds.), Handbook of employee selection (pp. 765780). New York, NY: Routledge.
Hennig-Thurau, T. (2004). Customer orientation of service employees: Its impact on customer satis-
faction. International Journal of Service Industry Management,15, 460478. doi:10.1108/
Heracleous, L., & Wirtz, J. (2010). Singapore Airlinesbalancing act - Asias premier carrier successfully
executes a dual strategy: It offers world-class service and is a cost leader. Harvard Business Review,
88(7/8), 145149. Retrieved from
Heskett, J. L., Jones, T. O., Loveman, G. W., Sasser, W. E. J., & Schlesinger, L. A. (1994). Putting the
service profit chain to work. Harvard Business Review,72, 164170. Retrieved from http://hbr.
Heskett, J. L., Sasser, Jr, W. E., & Schlesinger, L. A. (1997). The service profit chain: How leading compa-
nies link profit and growth to loyalty satisfaction and value. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Heskett, J. L., Sasser, Jr, W. E., & Schlesinger, L. A. (2015). What great service leaders know and do.
Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Hinkin, T. R., & Tracey, J. B. (2010). What makes it so great? An analysis of human resources practices
among fortunes best companies to work for. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly,51, 158170. doi:10.
Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University
of California Press.
Hollander, J. A., & Einwohner, R. L. (2004). Conceptualizing resistance. Sociological Forum,19, 533554.
Hong, Y., Liao, H., Hu, J., & Jiang, K. (2013). Missing link in the service profit chain: A meta-analytic
review of the antecedents, consequences, and moderators of service climate. Journal of Applied
Psychology,98, 237267. doi:10.1037/a0031666
Hopp, H., Rohrmann, S., Zapf, D., & Hodapp, V. (2010). Psychophysiological effects of emotional dis-
sonance in a face-to-face service interaction. Anxiety, Stress, Coping,23, 399414. doi:10.1080/
Hsieh, T. (2010). Delivering happiness: A path to profits, passion and purpose. New York, NY: Business
Huelsheger, U. R., & Schewe, A. F. (2011). On the costs and benefits of emotional labor: A meta-analy-
sis of three decades of research. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology,16, 361389. doi:10.
Hur, W. M., Moon, T. W., & Jung, Y. S. (2015). Customer response to employee emotional labor: The
structural relationship between emotional labor, job satisfaction, and customer satisfaction.
Journal of Services Marketing,29,7180. doi:10.1108/JSM-07-2013-0161
Hurrell, S. A., & Scholarios, D. (2014). The people make the brand: Reducing social skills gaps through
person-brand fit and human resource management practices. Journal of Service Research,17,54
67. doi:10.1177/1094670513484508
Jackson, Jr, D. W., & Sirianni, N. J. (2009). Building the bottomline by developing the frontline: Career
development for service employees. Business Horizons,52, 279287. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2009.01.
Jasmand, C., Blazevic, V., & de Ruyter, K. (2012). Generating sales while providing service: A study of
customer service representativesambidextrous behavior. Journal of Marketing,76(1), 2037.
de Jong, A., de Ruyter, K., & Lemmink, J. (2004). Antecedents and consequences of the service climate
in boundary-spanning self-managing service teams. Journal of Marketing,68(2), 1835. doi:10.
Judge, T. A., Woolf, E. F., & Hurst, C. (2009). Is emotional labor more difficult for some than for others?
A multilevel, experience-sampling study. Personnel Psychology,62,5788. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.
Jung, H. S., & Yoon, H. H. (2013). The effects of organizational service orientation on person-organ-
ization fit and turnover intent. The Service Industries Journal,33,729. doi:10.1080/02642069.
Kao, P.-J., Pai, P., Lin, T., & Zhong, J.-Y. (2015). How transformational leadership fuels employee
service innovation behavior. The Service Industries Journal,35, 448466. doi:10.1080/02642069.
Kasper, H. (2002). Culture and leadership in market-oriented service organizations. European Journal
of Marketing,36, 10471057. doi:10.1108/03090560210437325
Keeling, K. A., McGoldrick, P. J., & Sadhu, H. (2013). Staff word-of-mouth (SWOM) and retail employee
recruitment. Journal of Retailing,89,88104. doi:10.1016/j.retai.2012.11.003
Kirsch, L. J. (2004). Deploying common systems globally: The dynamics of control. Information
Systems Research,15, 374395. doi:10.1287/isre.1040.0036
Korschun, D., Bhattavharya, C. B., & Swain, S. D. (2014). Corporate social responsibility, customer
orientation, and the job performance of frontline employees. Journal of Marketing,78(3), 2037.
Kraemer, T., & Gouthier, M. H. J. (2014). How organizational pride and emotional exhaustion explain
turnover intentions in call centers. Journal of Service Management,25, 125148. doi:10.1108/JOSM-
Kusluvan, S., Kusluvan, Z., Ilhan, I., & Buyruk, L. (2010). The human dimension: A review of human
resources management issues in the tourism and hospitality industry. Cornell Hospitality
Quarterly,51, 171214. doi:10.1177/1938965510362871
Kwortnik, Jr, R. J., & Thompson, G. M. (2009). Unifying service marketing and operations with service
experience management. Journal of Service Research,11, 389406. doi:10.1177/
Lashley, C. (2001). Empowerment HR strategies for service excellence. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann.
Liao, H., & Chuang, A. (2004). A multilevel investigation of factors influencing employee service per-
formance and customer outcomes. Academy of Management Journal,47,4158. doi:10.2307/
Lin, J.-S. C., & Lin, C.-Y. (2011). What makes service employees and customers smile: Antecendents
and consequences of the employeesaffective delivery in the service encounter. Journal of
Service Management,22, 183201. doi:10.1108/09564231111124217
Lin, T., Dobbins, G. H., & Farh, J. (1992). A field study of race and age similarity effects on interview
ratings in conventional and situational interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology,77, 363371.
Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall.
Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motiv-
ation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist,57, 705717. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.57.9.705
Löhndorf, B., & Diamantopoulos, A. (2014). Internal branding: Social identify and social exchange per-
spectives on turning employees into brand champions. Journal of Service Research,17, 310325.
Mascarenhas, O. A., Kesavan, R., & Bernacchi, M. (2006). Lasting customer loyalty: A total customer
experience approach. Journal of Consumer Marketing,23, 397405. doi:10.1108/
Mahesh, V. S., & Kasturi, A. (2006). Improving call centre agent performance: A UK-India study based
on the agentspoint of view. International Journal of Service Industry Management,17, 136157.
Mattila, A. S., & Enz, C. A. (2002). The role of emotions in service encounters. Journal of Service
Research,4, 268277. doi:10.1177/1094670502004004004
McCartney, C. (2016, November 1). You spotted someone doing what on an airplane? Incidents of
unruly flyer are climbing globally; busy flights being the worst. The Wall Street Journal, p. A14.
McCord, P. (2014). How netflix reinvented HR. Harvard Business Review,92,7076. Retrieved from
Meldrum, R. C. (2016). Low self-control takes flight: The association between indicators of low self-
control and imprudent airline passenger behavior. The Social Science Journal,53, 444454.
Melton, H. L., & Hartline, M. D. (2012). Employee collaboration, learning orientation, and new service
development performance. Journal of Service Research,16,6781. doi:10.1177/1094670512462139
Nasr, L., Burton, J., Gruber, T., & Kitshoff, J. (2014). Exploring the impact of customer feedback on the
well-being of service entities: A TSR perspective. Journal of Service Management,25, 531555.
Netessine, S., & Yakubovich, V. (2012). The Darwinian workplace. Harvard Business Review,90,2528.
Retrieved from
OReilly, III, C. A., & Pfeffer, J. (2000). Hidden value how great companies achieve extraordinary results
with ordinary people. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Ortega, J. (2001). Job rotation as a learning mechanism. Management Science,47, 13611370. doi:10.
Osheroff, M. (2007). Teamwork in the global economy. Strategic Finance,88(8), 25, 61.
Papadopoulou-Bayliss, A., Ineson, E. M., & Wilkie, D. (2001). Control and role conflict in food service
providers. International Journal of Hospitality Management,20, 187199. doi:10.1016/S0278-4319
Peters, T. J., & Waterman, R. H. (1982). In search of excellence. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Rafaeli, A., & Sutton, R. L. (1989). The expression of emotion in organizational life. In L. L. Cummings, &
B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 11 (pp. 142). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Rafaeli, A., Ziklik, L., & Doucet, L. (2008). The impact of call center employeescustomer orientation
behaviors and service quality. Journal of Service Research,10, 239255. doi:10.1177/
Rafiq, M., & Ahmed, P. K. (2000). Advances in the internal marketing concept: Definition, synthesis
and extension. Journal of Services Marketing,14, 449462. doi:10.1108/08876040010347589
Ranjan, K. R., Sugathan, P., & Rossmann, A. (2014). A narrative review and meta-analysis of service
interaction quality: New research directions and implications. Journal of Services Marketing,29,
314. doi:10.1108/JSM-01-2014-0029
Raub, S., & Liao, H. (2012). Doing the right thing without being told: Joint effects of initiative climate
and general self-efficacy on employee proactive customer service performance. Journal of Applied
Psychology,97, 651667. doi:10.1037/a0026736
Ravishankar, M. N., Pan, S. L., & Leidner, D. E. (2011). Examining the strategic alignment and
implementation success of a KMS: A subculture-based multilevel analysis. Information Systems
Research,22,3959. doi:10.1287/isre.1080.0214
Rod, M., & Ashill, N. J. (2009). Symptoms of burnout and service recovery performance. Managing
Service Quality,19,6084. doi:10.1108/09604520910926818
Rod, M., & Ashill, N. J. (2013). The impact of call centre stressors on inbound and outbound call-center
agent burnout. Managing Service Quality,23, 245264. doi:10.1108/09604521311312255
Rust, R. T., Moorman, C., & Dickson, P. R. (2002). Getting return on quality: Revenue expansion, cost
reduction, or both? Journal of Marketing,66(4), 724. doi:10.1509/jmkg.
Salanova, M., Agut, S., & Peiró, J. M. (2005). Linking organizational resources and work engagement to
employee performance and customer loyalty: The mediation of service climate. Journal of Applied
Psychology,90, 12171227. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.6.1217
Sandiford, P. J., & Seymour, D. (2011). Reacting to the demands of service work: Emotional resistance
in the coach inn company. The Service Industries Journal,31, 11951217. doi:10.1080/
Schepers, J., Falk, T., de Ruyter, K., de Jong, A., & Hammerschmidt, M. (2012). Principles and principals:
Do customer stewardship and agency control compete or complement when shaping frontline
employee behavior? Journal of Marketing,76(6), 120. doi:10.1509/jm.11.0112
Schlesinger, L. L., & Heskett, J. L. (1991). Breaking the cycle of failure in services. Sloan Management
Review, 32(3), 1728. Retrieved from
Schneider, B. (1994). HRM a service perspective: Towards a customer-focused HRM. International
Journal of Service Industry Management,5,6476. doi:10.1108/09564239410051911
Schneider, B., & Bowen, D. E. (1993). The service organization: Human resources management is
crucial. Organizational Dynamics,21(4), 3952. doi:10.1016/0090-2616(93)90032-V
Schneider, B., & Bowen, D. E. (1995). Winning the service game. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School
Schneider, B., Ehrhart, M. G., Mayer, D. M., Saltz, J. L., & Niles-Jolly, K. (2005). Understanding organiz-
ation-customer links in service settings. Academy of Management Journal,48, 10171032. doi:10.
Schneider, B., Macey, W. H., Lee, W. C., & Young, S. (2009). Organizational climate drivers of the
American customer satisfaction index (ACSI) and financial and market performance. Journal of
Service Research,12,314. doi:10.1177/1094670509336743
Sergeant, A., & Frenkel, S. (2000). When do customer contact employees satisfy customers? Journal of
Service Research,3,1834. doi:10.1177/109467050031002
Seymour, D. (2000). Emotional labour: A comparison between fast food and traditional service
work. International Journal of Hospitality Management,19, 159171. doi:10.1016/S0278-4319
Simo, P., Enache, M., Sallan, J. M., & Fernandez, V. (2014). Relations between organizational commit-
ment and focal and discretionary behaviors. The Service Industries Journal,34, 422438. doi:10.
Simons, T. (2002). The high cost of lost trust. Harvard Business Review,80,1819. Retrieved from
Sirianni, N. J., Bitner, M. J., Brown, S. W., & Mandel, N. (2013). Branded service encounters: Strategically
aligning employee behavior with the brand positioning. Journal of Marketing,77(4), 108123.
Söderlund, M., & Rosengren, S. (2008). Revisiting the smiling service worker and customer satisfac-
tion. International Journal of Service Industry Management,19, 552574. doi:10.1108/
Subramony, M., & Pugh, S. D. (2015). Services management research: Review, integration, and future
directions. Journal of Management,41, 349373. doi:10.1177/0149206314557158
Tansik, D. A. (1990). Managing human resource issues for high contact service personnel. In D. E.
Bowen, R. B. Chase, T. G. Cummings, & Associates (Eds.), Service management effectiveness (pp.
152176). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Tews, M. J., Stafford, K., & Tracey, J. B. (2011). What matters most? The perceived importance of ability
and personality for hiring decisions. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly,52,94101. doi:10.1177/
Van Dijk, P. A., & Brown, A. K. (2006). Emotional labour and negative job outcomes: An evaluation of
the mediating role of emotional dissonance. Journal of Management and Organization,12, 101
115. doi:10.1017/S1833367200004053
Verhoef, P. C., Lemon, K. N., Parasuraman, A., Rogeveen, A., Tsiors, M., & Schlesinger, L. (2009).
Customer service experience creation: Determinants, dynamics, and management strategies.
Journal of Retailing,85,3141. doi:10.1016/j.retai.2008.11.001
Wang, K. L., & Groth, M. (2014). Buffering the negative effects of employee surface acting: The mod-
erating role of employee-customer relationship strength and personalized services. Journal of
Applied Psychology,99, 341350. doi:10.1037/a0034428
Wang, M.-L. (2015). Linking service climate to customer loyalty. The Service Industries Journal,35, 403
414. doi:10.1080/02642069.2015.1015518
Wilder, K. M., Collier, J. E., & Barnes, D. C. (2014). Tailoring to customersneeds: Understanding how to
promote an adaptive service experience with frontline employees. Journal of Service Research,17,
446459. doi:10.1177/1094670514530043
Wirtz, J., & Lovelock, C. H. (2016). Services marketing: People, technology, strategy (8th ed.). Hackensack,
NJ: World Scientific.
Wirtz, J., Heracleous, H., & Pangarkar, N. (2008). Managing human resources for service excellence
and cost effectiveness at Singapore Airlines. Managing Service Quality,18(1), 419. doi:10.1108/
Wirtz, J., Tambyah, S. K., & Mattila, A. S. (2010). Organizational learning from customer feedback
received by service employees: A social capital perspective. Journal of Service Management,
21(3), 363387. doi:10.1108/09564231011050814
Wooden, J. (1997). A lifetime of observations and reflections on and off the court. Chicago, IL:
Yagil, D. (2002). The relationship of customer satisfaction and service workersperceived control
examination of three models. International Journal of Service Industry Management,13, 382398.
Ye, J., Marionova, D., & Singh, J. (2012). Bottom-up learning in marketing frontlines:
Conceptualization, processes, and consequence. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science,
40, 821844. doi:10.1007/s11747-011-0289-7
Yu, T., Patterson, P. G., & de Ruyter, K. (2012). Achieving service-sales ambidexterity. Journal of Service
Research,16,5266. doi:10.1177/1094670512453878
Zapf, D., Vogt, C., Seifert, C., Mertini, H., & Isic, A. (1999). Emotion work as a source of stress: The
concept and development of an instrument. European Journal of Work and Organizational
Psychology,8, 371400. doi:10.1080/135943299398230
Zhang, R. Y., Liu, X. M., Wang, H. Z., & Shen, L. (2011). Service climate and employee service perform-
ance: Exploring the moderating role of job stress and organizational identification. The Service
Industries Journal,31, 23552372. doi:10.1080/02642069.2010.503873
... Human-resource integration and knowledge have become increasingly important for driving innovation in the service industry (Wang and Chiu, 2023). Research has shown that employee collaborative behvaviours is critical for improving a service firm's performance (Kuo et al., 2021;Melton and Hartline, 2013;Oja et al., 2022;Wirtz and Jerger, 2016). Different forms of employees' collaborative behaviours with other employees and customers can facilitate innovative behaviours, which further increase effectiveness and cohesiveness (Melton and Hartline, 2013). ...
... Although the importance of employee-employee collaboration and employee-customer collaboration for service innovation has been established (Chowdhury et al., 2022;Kuo et al., 2021;Wang and Chiu, 2023;Wirtz and Jerger, 2016), the way in which this behaviour influences their beliefs and innovative behaviours in the fitness service context remains unclear (Oja et al., 2022;Paek et al., 2020). Notably, creative self-efficacy can be viewed as a process variable that explains how personal self-beliefs influence an individual's performance (Paek et al., 2020;Royston and Reiter-Palmon, 2019). ...
... In addition, employees have different roles and responsibilities and are generally divided into frontline and non-frontline employees (Melton and Hartline, 2013;Oja et al., 2022;Wirtz and Jerger, 2016), which leads to the existence of different types of collaborative behaviours amongst employees. Because of the different nature of the jobs of frontline and non-frontline employees in the fitness service context, the roles of their collaborative behaviours in creative self-efficacy and service innovation may also differ (Kuo et al., 2021;Wang and Chiu, 2023). ...
Purpose In this study the authors examined the impact of employees' collaborative behaviours with colleagues and customers (i.e. employee–employee collaboration and employee–customer collaboration) on their creative self-efficacy and service innovation from the perspective of service-dominant logic. The authors also examined the differences between frontline and non-frontline fitness service employees in our research model. This study aims to discuss the aforementioned objectives. Design/methodology/approach Participants were fitness-centre employees in Taiwan recruited via convenience sampling. A total of 410 participants completed our online survey, and the authors analysed the data using partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM). Findings The authors found that collaboration with both colleagues and customers had a positive impact on employees' creative self-efficacy. Collaboration with colleagues directly affected service innovation, while collaboration with customers indirectly affected service innovation via creative self-efficacy. In addition, there was a significant difference between frontline and non-frontline employees in our research model. Specifically, the path from collaboration with customers to creative self-efficacy was stronger for frontline employees, and the path from creative self-efficacy to service innovation was stronger for non-frontline employees. Originality/value This study improves the understanding of the way in which different collaborative behaviours promote employees' creative self-efficacy and service innovation. Further, it is the first to identify the difference between frontline and non-frontline employees and it shows how the effects of collaborative behaviours differ between them in the context of fitness services.
... Frontline employees are typically regarded as the primary representation of a service company, responsible for ensuring the quality of the service through their skills, training, emotions, personality, and attitude (Wirtz & Jerger, 2017). For service organizations, the human touch can be a distinguishing factor depending on the company's approach. ...
... Human-to-human interaction allows for genuine emotions to be exchanged, which is absent in AI-based customer interfaces. The service management literature has differentiated between "deep acting," where employees display authentic emotions, and "surface acting," where employees display superficial, insincere emotional responses (e.g., Wirtz & Jerger, 2017). Since AI-based service agents do not feel real emotions, their emotional expressions will likely be perceived as artificial. ...
Full-text available
The world economy received a significant boost during the late eighteenth century with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which introduced automated manufacturing processes.KeywordsIntelligent AutomationService RobotsArtificial IntelligenceChatGPTMetaverseEthics, Service Revolution
... Frontline employees play a significant role in achieving market success and satisfactory business performance (Wirtz and Jerger, 2016). For example, bank employees provide value added services, respond to clients' problems, ensure delivery of quality services and help customers choose from a variety of complex financial services (Iqbal et al., 2018). ...
... Recognizing the critical role played by employees, banks must facilitate a working system that can promote positive behaviors and outcomes (e.g. reduced turnover intention and enhanced work engagement) (Karatepe and Aga, 2016;Wirtz and Jerger, 2016). ...
Purpose- This study proposes and examines a research model where work engagement mediates the impacts of high-involvement work practices (HIWPs) on bank employees’ turnover intentions. Specifically, the paper assesses: (a) the effects of empowerment, information sharing, rewards, and training on work engagement and turnover intention, (b) work engagement as a mediator of the effects of these HIWPs on turnover intention (c) and functional competence as a moderator of the effects of these HIWPs on work engagement. Design/methodology/approach- An online survey was employed to gather data from 343 employees working in commercial banks in Bangladesh. We applied partial least squares structural equation modeling to assess the aforesaid linkages. Findings- Empowerment and information sharing increase bank employees’ work engagement, while training and rewards reduce their proclivity to leave. Work engagement partly mediates the relationships of empowerment and information sharing to turnover intention. Functional competence moderates the relationship between three HIWPs (empowerment, information sharing and rewards) on work engagement. Originality/value- The paper examines the association between HIWPs and turnover intention, which has been subjected to little empirical inquiry among bank employees during a crisis (e.g., Covid-19 pandemic). The paper provides new insights into the underlying mechanism linking HIWPs and turnover intention and highlights the moderating effect of functional competence. Additionally, the study offers new knowledge on the impact of the pandemic on bank employees’ HIWPs. Finally, our paper used data gathered from bank employees in Bangladesh, which is an underrepresented Asian country in the extant service research. Keywords High-involvement work practices, Turnover intention, Job demands-resources theory, Work engagement, Functional competence. Paper type Research paper
... Many service jobs are characterized by repetitive tasks, low discretion, and little or no empowerment (Wirtz & Jerger, 2017). For such roles, robots may be a better service delivery channel for all key stakeholders. ...
Full-text available
Intelligent Automation in form of robots, smart self-service technologies, wearable technologies, software and systems such as machine learning (ML), generative artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT, and the metaverse are increasingly adopted in a wide range of customer-facing service settings. The shift toward robot-and AI-powered services will lead to improved customer experiences, service quality, and productivity all at the same time. However, these also carry ethical, fairness, and privacy risks for customers and society. In this opinion piece, we discuss the implications of the service revolution for service firms, their marketing, and their customers, and provide avenues for future research opportunities.
... Additionally, the associated publications specify that employees' intrinsic job motivation (e.g., focus on their purpose) rather than extrinsic job motivation (e.g., compensation) is pivotal for companies pursuing high service quality (Chan and Wan 2012;Suhartanto et al. 2018). Taken together, the results pertaining to the employee development first-order concept suggest that the human resources department is a critical driver of the differential advantage of service firms because it has the biggest impact on the necessary employee skills and competencies (Harris and Fleming 2005;Wirtz and Jerger 2016). Moreover, the authors of the articles associated with this first-order concept affirm that employee training programs must improve not only required in-role behaviors but also extra-role behaviors to sustainably improve service productivity (Sawyerr et al. 2009). ...
Full-text available
The service productivity literature has grown remarkably over the last two decades and has gathered substantial knowledge. However, with the gradual acceleration of knowledge production about service productivity, the collective evidence becomes more fragmented and interdisciplinary. The purpose of this literature review is to systematically identify and analyze 190 publications focusing on service productivity to link previously dispersed studies as a next step in theory development. By clustering existing service productivity research into macroeconomic, mesoeconomic, and microeconomic dimensions, our review reveals that much progress has been made in advancing the open-ended theory of optimal service productivity. Reviewing key insights from the existing literature, we show that the majority of service productivity research adopts a one-sided industrial perspective that primarily focuses on firm productivity. Although valuable, these studies most often leave out consumers’ time and effort, neglecting the value of consumer-generated input. Thus, the present research offers a new conceptualization of service productivity by emphasizing it as an open and customer-inclusive process that transcends the service producer–customer divide. Finally, we contribute a set of propositions. Within these propositions, we identify beneficial conditions and means for firms to improve service productivity. In sum, the article provides policymakers, researchers, and practitioners with valuable guidance for developing means to generate positive effects in a service economy that lacks productivity.
... Customer Relationships explain the relationship types of eco-tourism management established with potential tourists or specific customer segments. This element is vital because the relationship between customers and service providers influences overall experience and satisfaction (Wirtz & Jerger, 2016). Eco-tourism managers on Kaniungan Besar Island implemented two types of customer relationships, namely personal assistance and communities. ...
Full-text available
The primary objectives of this study was to identify business models to serve as the basis and offering alternative planning strategies for managing sustainable eco-tourism. To support these objectives, some methods were employed, including field observations and in-depth interviews applying questionnaires with stakeholders and visitors. Also, BMC and QSPM integration models were applied to determine the main alternative strategies. Results revealed that the existing eco-tourism management did not fully resolve the weaknesses and threats. Thus, it is also not in line with the sustainable eco-tourism requirements. However, current management strategies in the study area will likely improve and achieve maximum progress if stakeholders consider its opportunities and strengths. The most priority for the strategy for sustainable eco-tourism management is formulating model of carrying capacity.
... Similarly, service orientation-which ranked second in employer demand in our sample-has proven elusive in its definition (Ladhari, 2008;Vaish et al., 2016;Wirtz & Jerger, 2016;Yarimoglu, 2014); is often evaluated through inherently subjective measures, such as customer satisfaction (Hong et al., 2013); and may require industry-specific assessment (Ladhari, 2008). These factors contribute to inconsistent findings when attempting to empirically identify customer satisfaction predictors (Szymanski & Henard, 2001). ...
Full-text available
Individuals with a high school education represent the largest subset of the U.S. workforce. However, little is known about the employer expectations of these individuals, particularly in the area of soft skills—also known as 21st‐century skills. Online job advertisements offer useful data for examining these expectations, as they may supplement employer survey data and reflect actual recruitment practices. Our analysis of 68,505 online job advertisements suggests that employers hold generally lower expectations for the soft skills of high school–educated individuals than they do for postsecondary‐educated individuals. However, employer expectations for two soft skills—professionalism and customer service skills—appear to be substantially higher for high school–educated individuals than for postsecondary‐educated individuals. Additional results highlight similarities and differences within the high school–educated workforce across nine workplace industries. We discuss the implications of these results not only for high school–educated individuals and the organizations that employ them but also for practitioners and educators charged with assessing and providing training for these skills.
Managers have to endure some costs in order to develop human resources, which is one of the most significant providers of organizational performance. These costs are expenditures for human resources activities and customer dissatisfaction caused by work accidents and negative personnel behaviors. This study primarily aims to determine the expenditures made by the managers and the behavior of the employees that disturb the guests. Text mining methods is used to identify cost of human labor and employee behaviors referred to by managers' reviews, and association rules is used to find out common cost and behaviors in managers' reviews. The secondary aim of the study is to investigate the managers' intentions to employ robots to solve human-induced challenges. Contrary to the literature, managers believe that robots cannot contribute to the solution of these problems and they don’t think to work with service robots.
Purpose Following a contingency approach, this paper aims to understand when service automation can enhance or destroy value for customers in the frontline by (1) providing a comprehensive overview of factors that influence the value co-creation/co-destruction potential of service automation and (2) zooming in on the combination of service contexts and service tasks to develop research propositions. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a grounded theory approach based on qualitative data from multiple methods (i.e. a diary study with follow-up interviews, a consultation of academic experts and a storyboard study) as well as a systematic literature review to develop (1) a Framework of Automated Service Interactions (FASI) and (2) a contingency model for service tasks/contexts. Findings This paper presents a framework which gives an overview of factors influencing the value co-creation/co-destruction potential of service automation. The framework discerns between three types of factors: service design (i.e. controllable and manageable by the organization), static contingency (i.e. uncontrollable and fixed) and dynamic contingency (i.e. uncontrollable and flexible). Furthermore, the paper presents a contingency model based on the combination of service contexts and service tasks which results in seven research propositions. Originality/value This paper brings structure in the fragmented field of service automation. It integrates and summarizes insights regarding service automation and sheds more light on when service automation has the potential to create or destroy value in the organizational frontline.
Technology has been expanding the service encounter concept. Avatars, including virtual and robotic avatars, have been gaining popularity as an emerging technology to generate more human-like and even enhanced remote interactions in technology-mediated service encounters. However, service researchers have paid lesser attention to human-controlled avatar technologies compared to service robots as autonomous avatars. In response to the emerging business and research interests, the technology-mediated service encounter model needs to be updated by integrating avatar technologies. To address this gap, this study develops a conceptual framework of avatar-mediated service encounters. This concept amalgamates features of traditional technology-mediated service encounters and service robots from the aspects of service flexibility and interaction modality. The applications of avatar technologies are categorized based on two axes – user type and avatar embodiment type – and the impacts and research agenda are outlined for each category. The proposed framework contributes to improving remote service experiences and realizing resilient service workplaces.
Full-text available
The book consists of nine chapters explaining the concept of Good to Great. Starting from emphasizing that “good is the enemy of great”, Jim Collins provides great explanations as well as arguments of why his concept is very important for leaders who want to be successful in their efforts of building “enduring results” of their companies, organizations, or institutions. He in detail explains four principles underlining the framework of good to great. There are disciplined people (level 5 leadership and first who, then what concepts), disciplined thought (confront the brutal facts and the Hedgehog concepts), disciplined action (culture of discipline and the flywheel concepts), and building greatness to last (clock building, not the time telling and preserve the core/stimulate progress concepts). For further analysis of the Good to Great, I will shortly summarize the concept of how to make something good to be great explained in the book in the following section. I will also conclude this paper by commenting on the concept as my critique toward the theory of Good to Great.
Full-text available
A large body of research finds that low self-control is associated with a variety of antisocial behaviors and undesirable outcomes. Yet, several behavioral domains remain unexplored. The purpose of the current study is to expand the boundaries of the literature concerning the behavioral outcomes of low self-control by examining its association with the likelihood that individuals will engage in imprudent behavior when flying on airplanes. To consider this, survey data was collected from a U.S. sample of 750 adults. Results indicate that, controlling for a host of demographic characteristics and one's frequency of flying, individuals who are lower in self-control are more likely to report they would engage in a range of imprudent behaviors when flying. This association was particularly evident when the analysis was focused on the self-centeredness dimension of low self-control. Implications of this study and directions for future research are discussed with regard to the potential for low self-control to account for a very wide variety of behaviors not directly associated with crime. Note: This study was crowdfunded through the platform
Full-text available
The primary purpose of this study is to examine the effect of high-performance human resource (HR) practices, that is, extensive training, performance management, performance appraisal, performance based compensation, empowerment and competency development, on business performance of employees in telecommunication sector. Further, the role of the organizational learning as a mediator between high-performance HR practices and business performance has also been explored. Census method has been used for data collection from employees working in telecommunication sector in Jammu and Kashmir (North India). Reliability and validity have been proved with the help of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Structural equation modelling (SEM) has been used for hypotheses testing. Results indicate that HR practices positively affect business performance. Further, organizational learning act as a mediating variable between high-performance HR practices and business performance. The managerial implications have also been discussed.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recently, there has been a rapid proliferation of scholarship on resistance but little consensus on its definition. In this paper, we review and synthesize the diverse literatures that invoke the concept of resistance. This review illuminates both core elements common to most uses of the concept and two central dimensions on which these uses vary: the questions of whether resistance must be recognized by others and whether it must be intentional. We use these two dimensions to develop a typology of resistance, thereby clarifying both the meaning and sociological utility of this concept.