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Service quality and turnover intentions as perceived by employees
Antecedents and consequences
˚ Terje Slatten
Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway, and
Service quality and turnover
Received 30 June 2009 Revised July 2009 Accepted 8 January 2010
¨ Goran Svensson and Sander Sværi
Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway
Purpose – The objective of this paper is to test a selection of hypothesized relationships between: employees’ perceived service quality; employees’ turnover intentions; role clarity; and empowerment and coaching. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing from theory, this paper develops a set of hypothesized relationships. The data collection is based on a survey with a sample of 1,076 frontline employees in service organizations. Findings – There are indications that employees’ perceived service quality has a direct negative effect on employees’ turnover intentions. The effect of empowerment, coaching, and role clarity on turnover intention appears to be mediated through employees’ perceived service quality. Research limitations/implications – This study is limited to a selection of variables related to employees’ turnover intentions. Future research may focus on testing other variables that may be related to employees’ turnover intentions. Practical implications – This study stresses the importance for managers in service organizations to measure employees’ perceived service quality. The results show that there are both direct and indirect relationships to employees’ turnover intentions. The conclusion is that employees’ perceived service quality is an important consideration with respect to employee-turnover management. Originality/value – This study has developed and tested a set of hypothesized relationships in the ﬁeld of service management. Keywords Service industries, Customer services quality, Employee turnover, Management roles, Perception, Norway Paper type Research paper
Introduction Employees in service organizations are crucial in the building of service excellence. Ultimately, the success of service organizations often depends upon the performance of its frontline employees (Chung and Schneider, 2002; Chebat et al., 2003; Hartline and Ferrell, 1996; Singh, 2000; Wirtz et al., 2008). Frontline employees are an important source of competitive advantage in many service organizations (Pfeffer, 2005). A critical issue in service organizations may be to retain service employees in general, and speciﬁcally those employees who are talented in working with customers and delivering excellent service quality. Retaining employees is related to the ﬁeld of employee-turnover management (Lto and Brotherridge, 2005). Previous research has
Personnel Review Vol. 40 No. 2, 2011 pp. 205-221 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0048-3486 DOI 10.1108/00483481111106084
e. Research has indicated that there are several variables related to employees’ turnover intentions.. Chiu et al. there is need for both more and complementary approaches related to employees’ turnover intentions in service organizations. p. 2000. (2007) have found that variables such as organizational commitment and job satisfaction are both negatively related to employees’ turnover intentions. Luna-Acocas and Camps (2008) have demonstrated that employee commitment was negatively related to turnover intentions and that the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intentions was mediated by employee commitment.. Zimmerman and Darnold. 357).. Griffeth et al. it appears that research in services organizations has predominantly considered service quality and turnover intention (i. 2000). such job-related attitudes play only a relatively small role in employee retention and loss (Griffeth et al. 2009. Consequently.g. (2009) ﬁnd that variables such as compensation. Research dedicated to service employees has often focused on the “service climate” (Chung and Schneider. Zimmerman and Darnold. provide service organizations with an important practical tool for managing employee turnover. Alexandrov et al. 2005. Considering that previous research has indicated that employee turnover intentions predict organizations’ customer-turnover intentions (i. Taking an employee perspective on the relationship between service quality and turnover intentions would.. Employee performances refer to the employee’s own attitudes towards their level of service quality delivered to customers. employee-turnover cost in American companies reaches around $5 trillion annually (Frank et al. Such costs could include additional stafﬁng or overtime payments to alleviate shortages. Griffeth et al. However. Siebert and Zubanov. and the replacement of an experienced employee with an inexperienced new one (Alexandrov et al. However. 2009). Interestingly. there . in addition to a theoretical contribution. and employees’ perceived growth opportunities are all negatively related to employees’ turnover intentions. 2004). switching to another service provider) from a customer perspective.PR 40. 2007. switching intentions). 481) write that employees’ turnover intentions are an important topic much overlooked in service-based organizational research.g. One approach to studying employees’ turnover intentions would be to focus on how employee performance is related to their turnover intentions. 2002) by often using intermediate variables such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment when studying employee turnover. 2009).. Consequently. (2007) emphasize that employee turnover can be costly. According to one estimate. these authors contend that an employee perspective of the relationship between service quality and turnover intention would be a valuable contribution. Maertz and Campion (1998) review more than 25 years of voluntary turnover research and ﬁnd that variables other than job satisfaction and organizational commitment (which is most often used when studying employee turnover) are important for understanding employee turnover. employee training. For example. (2005..2 206 focused on the importance of employee-turnover management because it is related to several negative outcomes. Similarly. p. supervisory support. There are also several other studies that have uncovered variables relating to employee turnover (e. there is a need for complementary research that links service quality and turnover intention from an employee perspective. Bergiel et al. as indicated previously.e. Lee et al. Previous research has focused on this topic (e. 2000. Maertz et al. In addition.
p.. .. Accordingly. These ﬁndings ¨ support the deﬁnition of service quality by Gronroos (1984) as a perceived judgement. Dabholkar et al. Tax and Brown.g.g.. When a frontline employee interacts with a customer. this study tests the relationships between: . the objective of our study is to contribute to the call for more research on employee’s turnover intention. 2008). Wirtz et al. Chung and Schneider (2002. Schlesinger and Heskett (1991) conclude that there is a link between employees’ satisfaction and customer-perceived service quality. empowerment and coaching. Schneider et al. we deﬁne “employees’ perceived service quality” as an employee’s personal evaluation of the service quality that he or she delivers to customers.g. Consequences of employees’ perceived service quality Employees’ perceived service quality and turnover intention. Previously. role clarity. the focus on employees’ perceived judgement of their own abilities and actions in providing customers with excellent service quality is applicable. Hartline and Ferrell.. Speciﬁcally. 2005). Based on this. This feedback can be either direct (e. Current research also suggests that employees’ perception of service quality is closely related to other performance indicators (e. 2008). 2000). as when customers voice their appreciation or complain about the service) or indirect (e. 1994. gaining a reputation for giving customers excellent service). the present study concentrates on employees’ personal perceptions of the service quality they provide. Consequently.g. 2007. Yousef. It is assumed that employees’ perceived service quality is related to such psychological responses. and . In this regard. the concept of perceived judgement has been used when studying service quality from an employee perspective (e. 2000. employees’ perceived service quality. For example. Some service organizations collect feedback from customers by asking them to rate the level of service quality they have received from a given employee directly after their experience Service quality and turnover 207 . Bitner et al. Research background and hypotheses Employees’ perceived service quality Previous research has suggested that managerial practices and other job-related antecedents are critical determinants of employees’ frontline behaviors in creating service excellence (e. (1980) and Schneider and Bowen (1985) ﬁnd strong relationships between the employees’ thoughts about customers’ perceived service quality and the customers’ actual perceived service quality. Sellgren et al. Frontline employees in service organizations are required to interact with customers and are expected to deal with a number of requests (Karatepe and Uludag. This study deﬁnes “employees’ turnover intentions” as the psychological response to speciﬁc job and organizational conditions (Kraut. 73) characterize this feature as a “psychological closeness” between service employees’ perception of service quality and customers’ perception of service quality. .has been a call for more research on this important topic in service-based research (Chiu et al. 1998). the employee will capture signals that indicate the extent to which the service to the customer has been successful. 1975). employees’ turnover intentions.g.. 1996.
Employees who judge or perceive their own service quality as excellent would not intend to quit their jobs. it is reasonable to assume that the opposite judgement could also be true. Based on this reasoning. This “closeness” may give the employee an indication of whether he or she is suitable for this kind of job. move to another job within the same or another organization). It is reasonable to assume that employees’ perceived judgement of their own service quality might be used in making turnover decisions.g. . to a more holistic view of the antecedents to employees’ perceived service quality.PR 40. having the best customer service in this business . . switch jobs) when they judge or perceive their service quality as being insufﬁcient. Many service organizations use direct-feedback systems to evaluate the employee service quality to customers. medium or high service quality. second. This study supposes a direct link between employees’ perception of managerial empowerment. employees desire to deliver good service quality and may intend to quit (i. This study suggests that employees’ perceived service quality might foreshadow their turnover intentions. These employees may conclude that they would be “better off” somewhere else (e. to further insight about how these different types of conditions are related to employees’ turnover intentions. an employee is able to judge whether the service quality delivered to customers are within the zone of tolerance that customers generally perceive as acceptable. Furthermore. The perceived judgement of their own service quality tells the employees how well they have met the valued goals of the service organization.g. ﬁrst. Consequently. Speciﬁcally. Each of these three antecedents is discussed below and their linkages with employees’ perceived service quality are outlined. All are important constructs related to best managerial practices. It indicates the potential for meeting these stipulated goals in the future (e. ”). this study focuses on employees’ perceptions of two types of managerial practices and on employees’ perceptions related to speciﬁc characteristics of the job. . and employees’ perceived service quality. Just as customers desire good service quality and may intend to take their business elsewhere if they detect negative attitudes about their service quality they receive from an employee.e. in similar manner. . there is a “psychological closeness” between service employees’ perceptions of service quality and customers’ perception of experienced service quality. According to Chung and Schneider (2002). Employees’ perceived service quality is negatively related to employees’ turnover intentions. coaching practices. the employee may be able to evaluate if he or she provides low.2 208 with that employee. Managerial practices and employees’ perceived service quality. These antecedents are related to both the aspect of the job and the organizational conditions. It is likely that the employees’ perceptions of their own service quality are related to employees’ turnover intentions. This study assumes that using these two different levels of conditions will contribute. “. As a result of the above discussion on how employees judge their own service quality performance. Antecedents of employees’ perceived service quality There are three proposed antecedents to employees’ perceived service quality on turnover intention. . this study proposes its ﬁrst hypothesis: H1.
1998). Service quality and turnover 209 . Managerial coaching practices. As mentioned. This study deﬁnes an empowering practice as one whereby an employee perceives his or her manager as both granting the freedom and fostering the ability to make independent decisions and commitments (Forrester. and. Based on the above discussion. (2003) have claimed that empowered employees are likely to be more cognitively active and more likely to modify their own behaviors and attitudes towards customers. 2004. The literature as related how employees perceive different aspects of their role to job-related performance (cf. 1992). no previous study in service research has studied the effect of managerial coaching practices on employees’ perceived service quality. These cognitive activities triggered by empowerment are likely to improve the employee’s adaptability and level of service quality delivered to customers. in contrast to counseling and mentoring (which mostly focus on the past). However. 1985.Managerial empowering practices. as job characteristics. coaching is most often deﬁned as a process for improving present and future performance. More speciﬁcally. Consequently. According to Bowen and Lawler (1992). They internalize customer feedback into their personal conduct and analyse the effects of different behaviors in regard to their outcomes. Chebat et al. Job characteristics and employees’ perceived service quality. a successful coach will enable the employee to improve or exceed prior levels of performance.. Goleman. empowered employees are more enthusiastic about serving customers. however. 2000). The term “coaching” is often used interchangeably with terms as counseling and mentoring. the authors believe that it is reasonable to assume that these two construct are related. 2004). 2000. These terms differ. Based on the above discussion. this study proposes the third hypothesis: H3. 2003. Coaching is positively related to employees’ perceived service quality. Consequently. Empowerment is positively related to employees’ perceived service quality. “Counseling” refers to the emotional state and involves short-term interventions designed to remedy problems that interfere with the employee’s job performance (Burdett. Moreover. a tendency that results in quicker responses to customers’ needs and increased customer satisfaction. through this collaboration. Hanna. Consequently. Churchill et al. The term “coaching”. it is important to understand how role clarity. it is reasonable to assume that empowering practices are related to employees’ perceived service quality. 2000). Grand and Cavanagh. Singh.g. This study supposes a direct link between both employee’s perception of role clarity and employees’ perceived service quality.. Others have suggested that coaching is positively associated with job-related performance (e. is related to employees’ perceived service quality. we may deﬁne coaching as a day-to-day enterprise or label it as a hands-on process of helping employee’s recognize the opportunities to improve their performance and job skills (Popper and Lipshitz. the term “mentoring” typically describes a longer-term process that is developmental and career-focused and covers all life structures (Burdett. this study expects that employees’ perception of empowerment is positively related to the degree of employees’ perceived service quality. 1998). Pfeffer. 1994). the coaching practices feature a relatively close partnership between the coach and employee. this study proposes the second hypothesis: H2. empowerment is an important factor related to service excellence (Babakus et al. Speciﬁcally. To these authors’ knowledge.
such as: . Second. it seems that much of this research has been limited in two areas. there is a high degree of role clarity).e. Role clarity is positively related to employees’ perceived service quality. . Control variables There are several variables in the literature that are related to employees’ turnover intentions. 1978.2 210 Role clarity and employees’ perceived service quality. this study proposes the fourth hypothesis: H4. or the providing of incorrect information about what they can expect. 2003). The same authors (Katz and Kahn. 1985). there is a need for further research on the linkage between employees’ perception of role clarity in service jobs generally. According to this view. Previous research has found different variables are related to employees’ turnover intentions (Chiu et al.PR 40. how role clarity perception is related to service quality (using “soft data”) from an employee perspective. In this study. which leads to poor service-quality experiences for the customers. accepting them. 2005. Speciﬁcally. Role clarity in this study refers to the degree to which employee’s receives and understands the information required to do the job (Kelly and Hise. . role clarity is especially important for employees in service organizations or more speciﬁcally those who are in “boundary-spanning roles” in the principal interface between customers and service providers. tenure. gender. Consequently. and fulﬁlling them”. 1981). Based on this. p. 188) have observed that: “Key to effective role behavior is the process of learning the expectations of others. age. a lack of role clarity) will experience negative outcomes. According to the role theory. expectations from others (both internal and external organization) constitute one fundamental aspect how one should perform one’s role. it is expected that the results are in accordance with previous research that has studied the linkage between role clarity and job performance. there will be a positive effect on employees’ perceived service quality. . it seems that previous research has mostly focused on role clarity in call centres (cf. Katz and Kahn (1978) state that roles are sets of behaviors that are expected of a person in a certain position. and. one is not able really to accept and fulﬁl the role in a proper manner. . Based on this observation. Based on the above discussion.. If expectations are not clearly understood. education.. Although there has been previous research focusing on the linkage between role clarity and performance. moreover. it is also expected that when an employee receives and understands clearly the information required to do the job (that is. Chiu and Francesco. there is the expectation that a lack of role clarity has a negative impact on job performance (Churchill et al. Examples of such negative outcomes could be the misguiding of customers. 1980). First.g. agent sales) and “soft data” from a customer perspective. 1981). employees have a strong need for clarity of how they are expected to perform in their jobs (Bush and Busch. On the other hand. most studies when measuring performance appears to use “hard-data” indicators (e. Bush and Busch. it is reasonable to assume that personnel with customer-contact who do not have accurate information about the expectations from others (i.
the convergent properties of formative variables were tested by principal component extraction and varimax rotation. The average size of the service ﬁrms (counted as the number of employees) was 33. An example of the item used is: “I intend to stay in this job”. data was collected from 1. The data collected from the test questionnaire were not used for subsequent analysis. Their work arrangements were predominantly permanent and full-time (61. . The results showed satisfactory convergent properties for all the variables used in the study. Results and analysis Before performing a regression analysis to test the proposed hypotheses. 211 . . for example: “I am allowed to do anything to solve problems”.6 percent of the sample had been with their respective organizations for at least/up to six years.3 percent) and 74.3 percent). all items were checked for normality. means. . Items for measuring “employees’ perceived service quality” were based upon Dabholkar et al. personality traits. my overall service is excellent”. (2003). . In total. and dispositional traits. which was pre-tested with 53 respondents for content validity.7 percent) had attained higher education. The following is an example of item used: “I know exactly what is expected of me”. (2000).076 frontline employees through personal interviews. Half of the sample (49. Furthermore. The majority of respondents were working in the private sector (71. Items used to measure “role clarity” were based upon Rizzo et al. The data were limited to include only frontline employees in service organizations in Norway. The following is an example of the item used: “Generally. The sample was 52 percent male. . Methodology This study used a structured questionnaire that included questions derived from previous studies. standard deviations. An example of item used is: “My supervisor provides me with constructive feedback”. Items for measuring “employees’ turnover intentions” were based upon Boshoff and Allen (2000). (1970). Two experts evaluated the questionnaire.8. . Table I shows the descriptive statistics. Some questions were re-worded in order to improve validity. Employees were asked to indicate their perceptions of the service that they provide themselves. and the mean age was relatively young (32 years). Items used to measure “coaching behavior” were based on Ellinger et al. (2005).. and correlations of all constructs. Service quality and turnover This study is limited to include only tenure and gender as control variables. Items used to measure “managerial empowerment” were based upon Babakus et al. Measures All items used in this study were based on seven-point Likert-scales: . family size.
H3. EMP ¼ Empowerment. In order to examine the mediating effects of employees’ perceived service quality.01 * 0. Moreover Table II shows the results from the test of the antecedents to employees’ perceived service quality.27 5.597 * EPSQ 1.192 to 0. followed by role clarity and managerial empowerment.538 * 0.00 20.754 * 1.619 * 1.516 * EMP C RC Table I.2 212 Regression analyses In the ﬁrst regression analysis. Signiﬁcant at p .49 4.37 1. the direct effect of employees’ perceived service quality explains about 42 (41. EMP ¼ Empowerment.556 * 20.495 * 0. and H4.3. the dependent variable of employees’ perceived service quality was tested against the variables of empowerment. with respect to the objective of this study.556 * 704. Descriptive statistics. The results in Table II show that managerial coaching is the most important variable inﬂuencing employees’ perceived service quality. means. C ¼ Coaching. coaching.831 TI 1.9) percent of the variance in employees’ turnover intentions.328 * 0.192 * 0. this study applied the procedures recommended by Baron and Kenny (1986). the results show that employees’ perceived service quality is negatively related to employees’ turnover intentions.419 Notes: EPSQ ¼ Employees’ perceived service quality.759 0. The b-coefﬁcients for the three independent variables are ranging from 0. managerial coaching.20 1.332 0. The tested hypothesized relationships suggest that one variable related to employees’ turnover intentions could be labelled as a mediating variable. Correlation is signiﬁcant at the 0.715 0.00 * 0. As can be seen in the Table II. and employee perception of role clarity as antecedents to employees’ perceived service quality 1.780 0. In the second regression analysis.86 SD 1. EPSQ ¼ Employees’ perceived service quality.648 * 20.42 1. In summary. Table II shows the results. C ¼ Coaching. RC ¼ Role clarity.PR 40.34 a 0. and inter-correlations for all variables Table II.42 1.524 * 20. First. and this supports H1.90 4. Regression results of testing the consequences of employees’ perceived service quality on employees’ turnover intentions and of testing managerial empowerment.00 4.330 2 0.001 . Construct TI EPSQ EMP C RC Min 1 1 1 1 1 Max 7 7 7 7 7 Mean 0. Speciﬁcally. this study examined the mediating effects of employees’ perceived service quality. R Square Standardized regression coefﬁcients Employee perceived service quality Turnover intention 0. this study has found support for all four tested hypotheses. 0. the dependent variable of employees’ turnover intentions was tested against the independent variable of employees’ perceived service quality.00 0. RC ¼ Role clarity.00 0.00 0.328.419 0.322 * 150.747 0.00 Notes: TI ¼ Employees’ turnover intentions. Speciﬁcally. supporting H2.01 level (two-tailed) Predictors EPSQ EMP C RC Overall F R Square Adj.460 * 0. and role clarity. standard deviations.
82 * 0. the ﬁndings reveal that the conditions for mediation are met. which in turn affected employees’ turnover intentions. all the independent variables (i. the results in Table III (which compares models 1 and 2) show that in the presence of employees’ perceived service quality. As can be seen in Table II these two criteria are fulﬁlled for employees’ perceived service quality. .001.350 * 239. employees’ turnover intentions. Following this recommendation. R Square Notes: EPSQ 2 Employees’ perceived service quality. coaching behavior. Second. In summary. coaching. * * Signiﬁcant at p . It seems that previous research has to a large Standardized regression coefﬁcients Turnover intention Model 1 Model 2 2 0.. according to Baron and Kenny (1986) recommendation. and .05 Table III. managerial empowerment. Speciﬁcally. the results show that employees’ perceived service quality appears to be a mediating variable in the relationship between the three antecedent variables (empowerment. Third. the mediating variables should relate to the outcome variables. role clarity. Theoretical implications This study makes a contribution to the service literature that calls for more research on employees’ turnover intentions (e.g.422 2 0.121 * 2 0. 0.83 * 0. coaching. To these authors’ knowledge. the relationship between these three job factors and employees’ perceived service quality and. managerial coaching behavior. EMP 2 Empowerment. it seems that an employee’s intention to quit is related to various aspects of awareness concerning his or her work situation. the mediating variable should diminish the effect of the antecedents on the outcome variable. Signiﬁcant at p . and role clarity are diminished.424 0. and role clarity) had a direct effect on employees’ perceived service quality. 2005). It has focused on: .according to Baron and Kenny (1986) in order for mediation to be established. Based on the different tests. The ﬁndings with respect to employees’ perceived service quality have shown that this construct has a signiﬁcant direct effect on employees’ turnover intentions.194 * * 2 0.310 * 2 0. 0.350 * 257.243 * 2 0. RC 2Role clarity. Results of employees’ perceived service quality as a mediating variable between the antecedent variables and the consequent variable . . most importantly. the inﬂuence of employees’ perception of managerial empowering practices. one should relate the antecedents to the mediating variables. Consequently. this is the ﬁrst study that links employees’ self-evaluation of job performance to their turnover intention.e. empowerment.055 * 2 0. and role clarity) and employees’ turnover intentions.534 0. Chiu et al.532 Service quality and turnover 213 Predictors EMP C RC EPSQ Overall F R Square Adj. C 2 Coaching.
Steers and Porter (1991) support this view. 2004). This study reveals that employees’ perceived service quality could be used as a supplement to factors related to employees’ turnover intentions. coaching should be considered as a part of a strategy related to turnover management. tend to have employees who are more loyal to the service ﬁrm and consequently have lower employee turnover rate. among other things. According to them. the ﬁndings from this study clearly indicate that managerial coaching is the most signiﬁcant construct in employees’ perceived service quality. Consequently. 2000. addressing the research gap. 2000). employees who perceive their performance to be within the goals of the standard set of service organizations are relatively less disposed to switch jobs. Hanna. Singh. Alexandrov et al. we may reasonably assume that the use of self-evaluations focusing on employees’ perceived service quality are apposite for discerning employees’ turnover intentions. seem to be related to employees’ turnover intentions.PR 40. Interestingly. 1992).g. This study supports the notion that empowerment is an important construct for job-related performance. 2004..g. 2000. this study is the only one to have focused on the role of managerial coaching for employees’ turnover intentions for service ﬁrms. Goleman. Further.. Consequently. Sellgren et al. at the same time. 2008). followed by an evaluation of whether one should stay with the same service provider or switch to another) has much in common with how employees consider their own service quality performance and consequently their intentions to change jobs. The ﬁndings support previous research emphasizing the role of managerial practices in inﬂuencing employee behaviors and responses in ways that improve service quality (e. To these authors’ knowledge. but is. related to retaining service employees. extant research has indicated that self-evaluations are appropriate for boundary spanning personnel (e. . 2007). the ﬁndings support previous research that links coaching and job performance (e. Bowen and Lawler. However. 1994).g. this study has found that service ﬁrms that focus on managerial coaching.. this study has found that coaching behavior is not only limited to a strategy for performance improvement. Pfeffer.g. this study helps to demonstrate that employees who perceive their having the freedom and ability to make independent decisions and commitments show better job performance. the ﬁndings reveal managerial coaching is the construct that has most impact on employee-perceived service quality. Yousef. Such variables. Grant and Cavanagh. 2007. All the same. 2003. However. Of the two managerial practices.2 214 extent used factors such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment as the intermediate variable when studying turnover intention (e. Subsequently. Moreover. this study gives support to the claim of Redshaw (2000) that coaching “has enormous beneﬁts” for ﬁrms and for the individuals they employ. The literature has pointed out empowerment as an essential factor related to service excellence (Babakus et al.g. it is a person’s perceptions that drive his or her behavior. although it is less important than managerial coaching. The ﬁndings support previous research focusing on the role of empowerment for job performance (e.. Following this reasoning. Wirtz et al. which in turn leads to a lower tendency among employees to apply for (or even to consider applying for) a job in another organization. This ﬁnding illustrates the importance of managerial practices for employee performance in service organizations. the ﬁndings from this study support the idea that the way customers evaluate ﬁrms’ service quality performance (whether it is good or bad. when comparing the strength of three antecedents to employee-perceived service quality. although indirectly. More speciﬁcally.
Managerial implications The service employees are a key source of many ﬁrms’ success and competitive advantage (e.. it is critical for managers in service ﬁrms to comprehend how to retain service employees. Consequently. Consequently. the results point out that role clarity is a crucial variable because it directly affects the relationship to employees’ perceived service quality and indirectly it affects employees’ turnover intentions. As this study has indicated. With comparisons of the effects of the three antecedents to employees’ perceived service quality. Previous literature has found or suggested a weak or no direct relationship between role clarity and job-related performance (e. the ﬁndings show that role clarity was the second most inﬂuential factor on employee’s perception of his or her job performance. One is that the results show that role clarity has a signiﬁcant impact on employees’ perceived service quality. Moreover. The other is that a limited amount of role ambiguity (or lack of role clarity) in service ﬁrms may be advantageous. One such implication is the importance of taking employees’ perceived service quality into consideration when measuring how employees perceive different aspects of their job. One implication that can be derived from this ﬁnding is the importance for managers to establish what we can label as a “positive coaching-style”. role clarity is about employees’ perception related speciﬁcally to their job conditions. by measuring employees’ perceived service quality. Managers who regularly measure employees’ perceived service quality in service ﬁrms are better able to discern employees’ turnover intentions in their organizations.. point towards two diverging directions in previous research. organization. which focus on role clarity. and managerial practices. managers can have an important tool in turnover management. This notion relates to how employees who have experiences with the coach should describe managerial coaching practices. the coaching practices become catalysts for continuous learning processes about how to enhance performance. Singh. 2000. Consequently. there are good reasons for emphasizing role clarity as being particularly important for employees in “boundary-spanning roles or for employees who work in the principal interface between customers and service providers. the use of self-evaluations or self-appraisal of service performance is closely related to employees’ considerations about switching jobs. openness. 2008). 2003. 1971). some research has suggested that a limited amount of role ambiguity (or lack of role clarity) may have a positive impact on job performance and such can be advantageous (Lyons. Wetzels et al. The ﬁndings. 1980). Moreover. Owing to the negative effects of employee turnover. 2005. This study has some essential practical implications related to employee-turnover management. More speciﬁcally.Role clarity was referred to as the degree to which employees receive and understand the information required to do the job (Kelly and Hise.g. Based on these contrasting ﬁndings. and combine this with freedom that is Service quality and turnover 215 . it points to a relationship between the coach and the employees that is based on such ingredients as mutual trust. The ﬁndings from this study reveal that managerial coaching is closely related to employees’ perception of their job performance. 2000).g. Chebat et al. Pfeffer. Managers who manage to establish that kind of coaching style are able to help employees recognize opportunities. there is a strong need for clarity on how employees are expected to perform their jobs in service organizations. Managers in service ﬁrms who establish a positive coaching-style. and respect. Wirtz et al. Consequently..
. 1995. one limitation of the study is that the data came from a cross-sectional ﬁeld study. among others managerial initiatives. 1991. future research should undertake studies that include customers’ perceptions of service quality. it can be useful to arrange workshops where employees can discuss and communicate issues related to role clarity.PR 40. employee versus other employees) and from an external perspective (e. Although this study captured employees’ perceptions under conditions of respondent anonymity in order to minimize self-report bias (Singh. Third. Singh. 2000.e. positively contribute to employees’ perception of role clarity. 1980). However. 1977. job performance.g.g.2 216 inherent in managerial empowering practices. 2000. several past studies have used employee’s perceptions of service delivery (cf. Sergeant and Frenkel. will have employees who evaluate their job performance positively. both from an internal perspective (e. Managers who focus on these two criteria will enhance the probability of having employees who fulﬁl their roles in a positive manner.. Thornton. 1991). Yet. These techniques. of which all offer opportunities for further research. Jaworksi and Kohli. Schneider et al. the ﬁndings related to role clarity also point to important lessons for managers in service ﬁrms. or both. retaining employees. managers must consider their employees’ perception of role clarity. to provide more deﬁnitive conclusions about the causality. it is also important that managers ensure that employees understand what is expected of their managers. in addition to focusing on having a positive coaching-style. Future research may replicate and . With respect to causality. Although the hypotheses are argued to be of causal nature. isolation and covariation). This means that managers should ensure that employees clearly understand what is expected of them in their jobs. one of the main limitations is that this study measured service quality by using self-report measures. Boshoff and Mels. employees versus the ﬁrm’s customers). First. One way of achieving this goal is by involving the employees in the actual framing of their role descriptions for their jobs. the design of this study does meet two of the three criteria for testing causality (i. this study is based upon a sample consisting of a broad range of frontline employees across different service organizations. and this approach would consequently reveal the level of correlation between customers’ and employees’ perceptions of service quality. Moreover. and. Consequently. Moreover. Although this study emphasizes the implications related to managerial coaching practices. most importantly. and that in turn contributes to retaining the employees. we cannot be sure that the antecedents cause employees’ perceived service quality or that employees’ perceived service quality causes turnover intention. 2000). Future research should use longitudinal or experimental studies. It is noteworthy that role clarity and coaching have about the same impact on employees’ perceived service quality. Ulrich et al. the design is not optimal for testing the direction of inﬂuence in the model. 1980. Some scholars have criticized self-evaluations because they can lead to the possibility of shared-response bias with regard to the relations among variables and common method variance (Armstrong and Overton. and at the same time ensure that employees actually accept those expectations. Research limitations and suggestions for the future One may raise a number of research limitations of this study. Second.
Future research could focus on other aspects of both managerial practices and job-related aspects. and groups. team support.e. are related to employees’ perceived service quality and employees’ turnover intentions. there are other constructs that future research may consider. this study has concentrated on the employees’ perceived service quality as the focal (or intermediate) construct in relation to employees’ turnover intentions. One such construct could be termed “job embeddedness”. and (3) perceived sacriﬁces associated with changing jobs. teams.e. From the perspective of aspects of the job. (2) self-perceptions of compatibility with the job. This direction could lead to a contingency framework that would show if the hypothesized linkages change according to service characteristics. This study was limited to testing the effect of two managerial practices (i. Addressing these issues would contribute to an enhanced theoretical understanding while also demonstrating important practical implications for best turnover managerial practices in different service industries. For example. Based on the signiﬁcant role of employees’ perceived service quality. (2001). There has been some research focusing on job embeddedness on employees’ turnover intentions (e. the type of contact. the level of interaction. job embeddedness comprises three dimensions: (1) links to other people. to explore the effect of managerial practices. it is important that future research explores other antecedents of employees’ perceived service quality. research may compare frontline employees working in different service industries. . and community. such as: job-design. and autonomy. . role clarity.g. organizations. as developed by Mitchell et al..enlarge on the present ﬁndings in order to explore whether there are differences depending on: . Job embeddedness represents a combination of factors that inﬂuence employees’ decision either to remain in or to leave the organization. say. role clarity). Future research may use job embeddedness and explore the antecedents and consequences of this construct Service quality and turnover 217 . addressing the research gap in focus. 1976). the level of customisation. empowerment and coaching) and one aspect of the job (i. employee participation. this study has found that employees’ perceived service quality is strongly correlated with employees’ turnover intentions. It is reasonable to assume that job embeddedness is relevant to the understanding of employees’ turnover intentions. 2009). Although employees’ perceived service quality contributes to the understanding of factors related to employee turnover. Bergiel et al. Fourth. Speciﬁcally. health care and retail. it would be valuable for future research to test how different aspects of the well-known “job-characteristics” model (Hackman and Oldham. other speciﬁc characteristics of the service industry. and explore how these aspects are related to employees’ perceived service quality and employees’ turnover intentions. and . and employees’ perceived service quality and to see whether these constructs are related differently to employees’ turnover intentions in these two particular service industries. Fifth.
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