Beyond tit-for-tat: Theorizing divergent employee reactions to customer mistreatment

Journal article


Amarnani, Rajiv, Bordia, Prashant and Restubog, Simon Lloyd D.. (2019) Beyond tit-for-tat: Theorizing divergent employee reactions to customer mistreatment. Group and Organization Management. 44(4), pp. 687 - 717. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601118755239
AuthorsAmarnani, Rajiv, Bordia, Prashant and Restubog, Simon Lloyd D.
Abstract

Customer mistreatment is a ubiquitous and pernicious form of interpersonal mistreatment leveled by customers against employees. Service workers’ reactions to customer mistreatment have been traditionally viewed as tit-for-tat reactions in which service workers respond to customers’ aggression with retaliation in kind. However, this tit-for-tat account does not capture the broad range of possible service worker responses to customer misbehavior. We build the case for self-esteem threat as an overarching framework for divergent employee reactions to customer mistreatment, and explain how service workers’ behavioral reactions and emotional labor may systematically vary according to where service workers stake their self-esteem—in performance, in others’ approval, or in status—using contingencies of self-worth theory. Other features of the self-concept are identified as boundary conditions of the process.

Keywordscustomer mistreatment; contingencies of self-worth; incivility; self-concept; self-esteem threat; service work
Year2019
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Journal citation44 (4), pp. 687 - 717
PublisherSage Publications Ltd.
ISSN1059-6011
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601118755239
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85041392301
Page range687 - 717
Research GroupPeter Faber Business School
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/8qyz6/beyond-tit-for-tat-theorizing-divergent-employee-reactions-to-customer-mistreatment

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