The effects of employee behaviours on customer participation in the service encounter: The mediating role of customer emotions

Publication Type:
Journal Article
European Journal of Marketing, 2018, 52, (5-6), pp. 1203-1222
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Purpose: There is considerable research examining the consequences and contingency factors of customer participation in the service encounter. In comparison, there is disproportionately less research examining the antecedents of customer participation. This paper aims to propose and test an appraisal-emotive framework of the effects of front-line employees’ in-role and extra-role behaviours on customer participation. Design/methodology/approach: A survey on 583 customers of retail banks in China has been conducted to test the framework. Structural equation modelling and dominance analysis have been used for hypotheses testing. Findings: Employees’ extra-role behaviour (i.e. organisational citizenship behaviour or OCB) has a stronger effect than their in-role behaviour (i.e. role-prescribed behaviour) in inducing customer participation. These effects are mediated by customer emotions. Specifically, the effect of employees’ in-role behaviour on customer participation was mediated by customers’ positive and negative emotions, whereas the effect of employees’ OCB was mediated by customers’ positive emotions but not by their negative emotions. Practical implications: The findings reveal that strategic management of employee behaviours can influence customer participation. While organisations often provide training to enhance employees’ in-role behaviour to deliver service performance, they should also recognise and encourage employees’ OCB as a means of increasing customer participation. In particular, employees who display positive emotions tend to evoke positive emotions in customers, which increase customer participation in the service encounter. Originality/value: To the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the few studies in marketing to examine the differential effects of employees’ in-role and extra-role behaviours on customer participation. Importantly, the findings show that employees’ OCB is not only more effective than employees’ in-role behaviour in influencing customer participation but also these two behaviours have varying effects on customer emotions. These findings are new and contribute to the literatures on customer participation, value co-creation and human resource management.
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