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A contingency model of “Face” loss in service encounters: an Eastern cultural context

A contingency model of “Face” loss in service encounters: an Eastern cultural context The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of a loss of face on the psychological well-being of frontline employees (FLEs) in an Eastern cultural context (Thailand) when subjected to customer aggression. Importantly, it adopts a contingency approach and examines moderating effects by which social status, a “customer is always right” organisational philosophy and a public/private context impact the nature of the association between customer aggression and loss of face. Finally, it examines the moderating effect of regulation of emotion on the association between loss of face on psychological well-being.Design/methodology/approachA survey, administered to 319 FLEs in retail stores in Thailand, asked them to recall a recent experience dealing with customer aggression. The data were analysed using structural equation modelling and a moderator regression.FindingsCustomer aggression expressions are associated with FLEs’ loss of face, which in turn affects FLEs’ emotional exhaustion and anxiety. FLEs social status and a “customer is always right” organisational philosophy moderate the association between customer aggression and loss of face, and FLEs’ loss of face is greater when their physical well-being is threatened publicly rather than in private. In addition, regulation of emotion was found to increase the negative impact of loss of face on emotional exhaustion.Practical implicationsThe way FLEs respond to customer aggression during service encounters, as well as the FLEs’ status and the context, can intensify their loss of face and psychological well-being. This has implications for the extent to which organisations impose a “customer is always right” dictum on FLE, as well as the need for counselling and peer support immediately following customer aggression incidents.Originality/valueThis study is the first to investigate the moderating effects of social status, a “customer is always right” philosophy and public/private context on the expression of customer aggression and FLEs’ accompanying loss of face. In other words, rather than simply examining what causes face loss, the authors shift the focus from the “Is” question to “When” – i.e., under what contingency condition is there more or less face loss? http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Service Theory and Practice Emerald Publishing

A contingency model of “Face” loss in service encounters: an Eastern cultural context

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2055-6225
DOI
10.1108/jstp-03-2016-0055
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of a loss of face on the psychological well-being of frontline employees (FLEs) in an Eastern cultural context (Thailand) when subjected to customer aggression. Importantly, it adopts a contingency approach and examines moderating effects by which social status, a “customer is always right” organisational philosophy and a public/private context impact the nature of the association between customer aggression and loss of face. Finally, it examines the moderating effect of regulation of emotion on the association between loss of face on psychological well-being.Design/methodology/approachA survey, administered to 319 FLEs in retail stores in Thailand, asked them to recall a recent experience dealing with customer aggression. The data were analysed using structural equation modelling and a moderator regression.FindingsCustomer aggression expressions are associated with FLEs’ loss of face, which in turn affects FLEs’ emotional exhaustion and anxiety. FLEs social status and a “customer is always right” organisational philosophy moderate the association between customer aggression and loss of face, and FLEs’ loss of face is greater when their physical well-being is threatened publicly rather than in private. In addition, regulation of emotion was found to increase the negative impact of loss of face on emotional exhaustion.Practical implicationsThe way FLEs respond to customer aggression during service encounters, as well as the FLEs’ status and the context, can intensify their loss of face and psychological well-being. This has implications for the extent to which organisations impose a “customer is always right” dictum on FLE, as well as the need for counselling and peer support immediately following customer aggression incidents.Originality/valueThis study is the first to investigate the moderating effects of social status, a “customer is always right” philosophy and public/private context on the expression of customer aggression and FLEs’ accompanying loss of face. In other words, rather than simply examining what causes face loss, the authors shift the focus from the “Is” question to “When” – i.e., under what contingency condition is there more or less face loss?

Journal

Journal of Service Theory and PracticeEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 26, 2017

Keywords: Culture; Service encounter; Psychological well-being; Customer aggression; Loss of face

References