The Value of a Smile: Does Emotional Performance Matter More in Familiar or Unfamiliar Exchanges?
- 840 Downloads
The purpose was to understand how service familiarity (i.e., the familiarity of the customer with the employee and service provided) operates as a boundary condition for the impact of employee positive emotional displays on service performance.
In Study 1, we assessed whether service familiarity (as rated by employees) moderated the relationship of employee-reported positive emotional displays and coworker ratings of service performance. In Study 2, through observed employee–customer exchanges, we tested whether customer-reported familiarity with the service context moderated the relationship between third-party-observed employee positive emotional displays and customer ratings of transaction satisfaction and employee friendliness.
Employee positive emotional displays had the strongest influence on evaluations of performance under low familiarity contexts. Thus, positive emotional displays served as a signal of good performance when there was limited preexisting information about the employee.
Service performance evaluations may be less influenced by employee positive emotional displays when the customer has a familiar relationship, suggesting that such displays from the employee are not always necessary. However, for encounters, employee positive emotional displays are more critical for signaling high quality service performance.
This combination of studies is among the first to isolate the influence of service familiarity at two different levels of conceptualization and measurement using multi-source ratings of service performance.
KeywordsEmotional labor Emotional displays Service familiarity Service performance
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: testing and interpreting interactions. Sage: Newbury Park.Google Scholar
- Ashforth, B. E., & Humphrey, R. H. (1993). Emotional labor in service roles: The influence of identity. Academy of Management Review, pp. 88–115. doi: 10.2307/258824.
- Bono, J. E., & Vey, M. A. (2005). Toward understanding emotional management at work: A quantitative review of emotional labor research. Emotions in Organizational Behavior (pp. 213–233). Mahwah, NJ: ErlbaumGoogle Scholar
- Fox, S., & Spector, P. E. (2000). Relations of emotional intelligence, practical intelligence, general intelligence, and trait affectivity with interview outcomes: It’s not all just ‘g’. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21, 203–220. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(200003)21:2<203:AID-JOB38>3.0.CO;2-Z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gutek, B. A. (1995). The Dynamics of Service: Reflections on the Changing Nature of Customer/Provider Interactions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Gutek, B. A., Groth, M., & Cherry, B. (2002). Achieving service success through relationships and enhanced encounters. Academy of Management Executive, 16, 132–144.Google Scholar
- Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional Contagion. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart: The commercialization of feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Pugh, S. D., Diefendorff, J. M., & Moran, C. S. (2013). Emotional labor: Organization-level influences, strategies, and outcomes. In A. A. Grandey, J. M. Diefendorff, & D. E. Rupp (Eds.), Emotional labor in the 21st century: Diverse perspectives on emotion regulation at work. New York: Psychology Press/Routledge.Google Scholar
- Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (Vol. 1). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- Ryan, A. M., & Ployhart, R. E. (2003). Customer service behavior. In W. C. Borman, D. R. Ilgen & R. J. Klimoski (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 12, pp. 377–397). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/0471264385.wei1215.
- Van Kleef, G. A., Homan, A. C., Beersma, B., van Knippenberg, D., van Knippenberg, B., & Damen, F. (2009). Searing sentiment or cold calculation? The effects of leader emotional displays on team performance depend on follower epistemic motivation. Academy of Management Journal, 52, 562–580. doi: 10.5465/AMJ.2009.41331253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Zahavi, A., & Zahavi, A. (1997). The handicap principle: A missing piece of Darwin’s puzzle. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar