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Examining the Mechanisms Linking Transformational Leadership, Employee Customer Orientation, and Service Performance: The Mediating Roles of Perceived Supervisor and Coworker Support

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to test whether store-level transformational leadership influences service employees’ customer orientation via two different mechanisms—supervisor support and coworker support—and whether customer orientation leads to favorable customer-perceived employee service performance.

Design/Methodology/Approach

Data were collected from multiple sources, comprising 212 service employee–customer dyads in 55 stores within Taiwan. Hierarchical linear modeling analysis (HLM) was employed to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Our results indicate that transformational leadership not only directly increased employee customer orientation, but also indirectly enhanced employee customer orientation through employee-perceived supervisor support. However, employees’ perceived coworker support did not mediate the transformational leadership-customer orientation linkage. Moreover, although employee customer orientation was unrelated to customer-rated service performance, we found that the customer relationship moderated this association.

Implications

Our results show that (1) transformational leadership can enhance employees’ customer orientation, and (2) supervisor support serves as the dominant mediator for the relationship between transformational leadership and employee customer orientation.

Originality/Value

Previous studies have predominantly examined the main effects of transformational leadership on employee customer orientation. This study extends our understanding of this relationship by highlighting the important mediating role of perceived supervisor support in the transformational leadership–customer orientation linkage.

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Notes

  1. However, this approach also has some disadvantages. For example, this approach might disrupt the logical flow among items and make it less feasible to use the funneling procedure (i.e., progressing from general items to more specific items) (Podsakoff et al. 2003). Therefore, these outcomes might reduce the correlations between study variables.

  2. Since coworker support did not predict customer orientation, we did not include it as a control variable.

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Liaw, YJ., Chi, NW. & Chuang, A. Examining the Mechanisms Linking Transformational Leadership, Employee Customer Orientation, and Service Performance: The Mediating Roles of Perceived Supervisor and Coworker Support. J Bus Psychol 25, 477–492 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-009-9145-x

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