Service Sabotage

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INTRODUCTION The relationship between frontline service employees and customers has always been interesting research topic for service marketers as the customer-contact service employee is the service and organization in the customers’ eyes and consumer interpretations of employee performance will create their impression of the service brand (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2009). Most early work on service frontline employees is based on the assumption that interaction between service encounters and customers is harmonious and productive, where service provider tries its best to satisfy customer’s needs and expectations and where service failure is generally described as service performance that fails below a customer’s expectations for all kinds…show more content…
Hartline and Ferrell (1996) state that main causes of negative employee behaviour are stress, frustration, and confusion inherent in the boundary-spanning service role. This perspective is sympathetic to the front line service employees as authors suggest that ambiguous roles frustrate employees and this impacts on consumer satisfaction and consequently on the service brand. Employees may feel overworked, badly paid, and highly stressed (Hartline and Ferrell, 1996), which affects their behaviour. Harris and Ogbonna (2002) deny this perspective, and its assumption that employees are “malleable” and “submissive”. They also deny perspective that a saboteur is “deviant” as this may suggest that the individual is acting irrationally. Employees willingly misbehave and are fully intent in such actions (Harris and Ogbonna, 2006). Authors suggest that sabotage offers “equalisation” as it allows employees to react to difficult consumers or management demands (Harris and Ogbonna, 2006). Through a survey of low-wage frontline customer-contact employees Harris and Ogbonna (2006) showed that service workers’ characteristics are linked to their tendencies to sabotage service encounters, and service sabotage behaviors are associated with individual and group rewards, effects for customers, and other performance measures. Their findings further show that management control efforts and perceived labor market conditions are also linked with service sabotage and
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