Customer Engagement and Employee Engagement: A Research Review and Agenda

  • Vikas Mittal
  • Kyuhong Han
  • Robert A. Westbrook


This chapter examines two concepts that are central to value-creating exchanges: customer engagement and employee engagement. Current research shows that customer engagement has a clear and direct positive association with firm performance. In contrast, the association of employee engagement with firm performance is mixed and indirect. Studies show (1) a positive, negative, and zero association with firm performance and (2) a direct and mediated path to firm performance. This chapter reviews several factors that moderate the association between customer engagement and employee engagement as well as their relationship with firm performance.


  1. Aaker, D. A. (1996). Measuring Brand Equity Across Products and Markets. California Management Review, 38(3), 102–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ambrose, M. L., Seabright, M. A., & Schminke, M. (2002). Sabotage in the Workplace: The Role of Organizational Injustice. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 89(1), 947–965.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, E. W., Fornell, C., & Lehmann, D. R. (1994). Customer Satisfaction, Market Share, and Profitability: Findings from Sweden. Journal of Marketing, 58(3), 53–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, E. W., Fornell, C., & Mittal, V. (2000). Strengthening the Satisfaction-Profit Chain. Journal of Service Research, 3(2), 107–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arthur, J. B. (1994). Effects of Human Resource Systems on Manufacturing Performance and Turnover. Academy of Management Journal, 37(3), 670–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Babin, B. J., & Babin, L. A. (1996). Effects of Moral Cognitions and Consumer Emotions on Shoplifting Intentions. Psychology and Marketing, 13(8), 785–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bagozzi, R. P. (1975). Marketing as Exchange. Journal of Marketing, 39(4), 32–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bagozzi, R. P. (1980). Performance and Satisfaction in an Industrial Sales Force: An Examination of Their Antecedents and Simultaneity. Journal of Marketing, 44(2), 65–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bearman, P. (1997). Generalized Exchange. American Journal of Sociology, 102(5), 1383–1415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bernhardt, K. L., Donthu, N., & Kennett, P. A. (2000). A Longitudinal Analysis of Satisfaction and Profitability. Journal of Business Research, 47(2), 161–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bettencourt, L. A., & Brown, S. W. (1997). Contact Employees: Relationships Among Workplace Fairness, Job Satisfaction and Prosocial Service Behaviors. Journal of Retailing, 73(1), 39–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bove, L. L., Pervan, S. J., Beatty, S. E., & Shiu, E. (2009). Service Worker Role in Encouraging Customer Organizational Citizenship Behaviors. Journal of Business Research, 62(7), 698–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brodie, R. J., Hollebeek, L. D., Jurić, B., & Ilić, A. (2011). Customer Engagement: Conceptual Domain, Fundamental Propositions, and Implications for Research. Journal of Service Research, 14(3), 252–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brown, K. A., & Mitchell, T. R. (1993). Organizational Obstacles: Links with Financial Performance, Customer Satisfaction, and Job Satisfaction in a Service Environment. Human Relations, 46(6), 725–757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brown, S. P., & Chin, W. W. (2004). Satisfying and Retaining Customers Through Independent Service Representatives. Decision Sciences, 35(3), 527–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brown, S. P., & Lam, S. K. (2008). A Meta-Analysis of Relationships Linking Employee Satisfaction to Customer Responses. Journal of Retailing, 84(3), 243–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chevalier, J. A., & Mayzlin, D. (2006). The Effect of Word of Mouth on Sales: Online Book Reviews. Journal of Marketing Research, 43(3), 345–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chi, C. G., & Gursoy, D. (2009). Employee Satisfaction, Customer Satisfaction, and Financial Performance: An Empirical Examination. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 28(2), 245–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chuang, A., Judge, T. A., & Liaw, Y. J. (2012). Transformational Leadership and Customer Service: A Moderated Mediation Model of Negative Affectivity and Emotion Regulation. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 21(1), 28–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cronin, J. J., & Taylor, S. A. (1992). Measuring Service Quality: A Reexamination and Extension. Journal of Marketing, 56(3), 5–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Deshpande, R. (1983). ‘Paradigms Lost’: On Theory and Method in Research in Marketing. Journal of Marketing, 47(4), 101–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. E. (1995). The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65–91.Google Scholar
  23. Evanschitzky, H., Groening, C., Mittal, V., & Wunderlich, M. (2011). How Employer and Employee Satisfaction Affect Customer Satisfaction: An Application to Franchise Services. Journal of Service Research, 14(2), 136–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Evanschitzky, H., Sharma, A., & Prykop, C. (2012a). The Role of the Sales Employee in Securing Customer Satisfaction European Journal of Marketing. 46(3/4), 489–508.Google Scholar
  25. Evanschitzky, H., Wangenheim, F. V., & Wunderlich, N. V. (2012b). Perils of Managing the Service Profit Chain: The Role of Time Lags and Feedback Loops Journal of Retailing. 88(3), 356–366.Google Scholar
  26. Frennea, C., Mittal, V., & Westbrook, R. A. (2013). The Satisfaction Profit Chain. In R. T. Rust & M.-H. Huang (Eds.), Handbook of Service Marketing Research (pp. 182–218). Northampton: Elwood Elgar.Google Scholar
  27. Frey, R.-V., Bayón, T., & Totzek, D. (2013). How Customer Satisfaction Affects Employee Satisfaction and Retention in a Professional Services Context. Journal of Service Research, 16(4), 503–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gao, H., Zhang, Y., & Mittal, V. (2017). How Does Local-Global Identity Affect Price Sensitivity? Journal of Marketing, forthcoming, doi:  10.1509/jm.15.0206.
  29. Gazzoli, G., Hancer, M., & Kim, B. C. (2013). Explaining Why Employee-Customer Orientation Influences Customers’ Perceptions of The Service Encounter. Journal of Service Management, 24(4), 382–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gounaris, S., & Boukis, A. (2013). The Role of Employee Job Satisfaction in Strengthening Customer Repurchase Intentions. Journal of Services Marketing, 27(4), 322–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Grandey, A. A., Goldberg, L. S., & Douglas Pugh, S. (2011). Why and When Do Stores With Satisfied Employees Have Satisfied Customers? The Roles of Responsiveness and Store Busyness. Journal of Service Research, 14(4), 397–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Groening, C., Mittal, V., & Anthea Zhang, Y. (2016). Cross-Validation of Customer and Employee Signals and Firm Valuation. Journal of Marketing Research, 53(1), 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gupta, S., & Zeithaml, V. (2006). Customer Metrics and Their Impact on Financial Performance. Marketing Science, 25(6), 718–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harris, L. C., & Ogbonna, E. (2006). Service Sabotage: A Study of Antecedents and Consequences. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(4), 543–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Harris, L. C., & Reynolds, K. L. (2003). The Consequences of Dysfunctional Customer Behavior. Journal of Service Research, 6(2), 144–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(2), 268–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Heskett, J. L., Jones, T. O., Loveman, G. W., Earl Sasser, W., Jr., & Schlesinger, L. A. (1994). Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work. Harvard Business Review, 72(2), 164–174.Google Scholar
  38. Hogreve, J., Iseke, A., Derfuss, K., & Eller, T. (2016). The Service–Profit Chain: A Meta-Analytic Test of a Comprehensive Theoretical Framework. Journal of Marketing, forthcoming, doi: 10.1509/jm.15.0395.
  39. Homburg, C., & Stock, R. M. (2004). The Link Between Salespeople’s Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction in a Business-to-Business Context: A Dyadic Analysis. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32(2), 144–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Homburg, C., & Stock, R. M. (2005). Exploring the Conditions Under Which Salesperson Work Satisfaction Can Lead to Customer Satisfaction. Psychology and Marketing, 22(5), 393–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Homburg, C., Wieseke, J., & Bornemann, T. (2009a). Implementing the Marketing Concept at the Employee–Customer Interface: The Role of Customer Need Knowledge Journal of Marketing. 73(4), 64–81.Google Scholar
  42. Homburg, C., Wieseke, J., & Hoyer, W. D. (2009b). Social Identity and the Service–Profit Chain Journal of Marketing. 73(2), 38–54.Google Scholar
  43. Hur, W.-M., Moon, T.-W., & Jung, Y. S. (2015). Customer Response to Employee Emotional Labor: The Structural Relationship Between Emotional Labor, Job Satisfaction, and Customer Satisfaction. Journal of Services Marketing, 29(1), 71–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jackson, S. E., Schwab, R. L., & Schuler, R. S. (1986). Toward an Understanding of the Burnout Phenomenon. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(4), 630–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Jeon, H., & Choi, B. (2012). The Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction. Journal of Services Marketing, 26(5), 332–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kamakura, W. A., Mittal, V., de Rosa, F., & Mazzon, J. A. (2002). Assessing the Service-Profit Chain. Marketing Science, 21(3), 294–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Keiningham, T. L., Frennea, C. M., Aksoy, L., Buoye, A., & Mittal, V. (2015). A Five-Component Customer Commitment Model: Implications for Repurchase Intentions in Goods and Services Industries. Journal of Service Research, 18(4), 433–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Koys, D. J. (2001). The Effects of Employee Satisfaction, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, and Turnover on Organizational Effectiveness: A Unit-Level, Longitudinal Study. Personnel Psychology, 54(1), 101–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kumar, V., & Pansari, A. (2016). Competitive Advantage Through Engagement. Journal of Marketing Research, 53(4), 497–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Loveman, G. W. (1998). Employee Satisfaction, Customer Loyalty, and Financial Performance: An Empirical Examination of the Service Profit Chain in Retail Banking. Journal of Service Research, 1(1), 18–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Luo, X. (2009). Quantifying the Long-Term Impact of Negative Word of Mouth on Cash Flows and Stock Prices. Marketing Science, 28(1), 148–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Marshall, K. P. (1998). Generalized Exchange and Public Policy: An Illustration of Support for Public Schools. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 17(2), 274–286.Google Scholar
  53. McNeely, B. L., & Meglino, B. M. (1994). The Role of Dispositional and Situational Antecedents in Prosocial Organizational Behavior: An Examination of the Intended Beneficiaries of Prosocial Behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(6), 836–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mittal, V., Rosen, J., Govind, R., Degenholtz, H., Shingala, S., Hulland, S., Rhee, Y. J., Kastango, K. B., Mulsant, B. H., Castle, N., Rubin, F. H., & Nace, D. (2007). Perception Gap in Quality-of-Life Ratings: An Empirical Investigation of Nursing Home Residents and Caregivers. The Gerontologist, 47(2), 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Molm, L. D., Collett, J. L., & Schaefer, D. R. (2007). Building Solidarity Through Generalized Exchange: A Theory of Reciprocity. American Journal of Sociology, 113(1), 205–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Morgan, N. A., & Rego, L. L. (2006). The Value of Different Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Metrics in Predicting Business Performance. Marketing Science, 25(5), 426–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Namasivayam, K., Guchait, P., & Lei, P. (2014). The Influence of Leader Empowering Behaviors and Employee Psychological Empowerment on Customer Satisfaction. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 26(1), 69–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Netemeyer, R. G., Maxham, J. G., III, & Lichtenstein, D. R. (2010). Store Manager Performance and Satisfaction: Effects on Store Employee Performance and Satisfaction, Store Customer Satisfaction, and Store Customer Spending Growth. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(3), 530–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. O’Boyle, E., & Harter, J. (2013). State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for US Business Leaders. Washington, DC: Gallup.Google Scholar
  60. Ostroff, C. (1992). The Relationship Between Satisfaction, Attitudes, and Performance: An Organizational Level Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(6), 963–974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pantouvakis, A., & Bouranta, N. (2013). The Interrelationship Between Service Features, Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction: Evidence from the Transport Sector. TQM Journal, 25(2), 186–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A., & Berry, L. L. (1988). SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality. Journal of Retailing, 64(1), 12–40.Google Scholar
  63. Payne, S. C., & Webber, S. S. (2006). Effects of Service Provider Attitudes and Employment Status on Citizenship Behaviors and Customers’ Attitudes and Loyalty Behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(2), 365–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Pritchard, M., & Silvestro, R. (2005). Applying the Service Profit Chain to Analyse Retail Performance: The Case of The Managerial Strait-Jacket? International Journal of Service Industry Management, 16(4), 337–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Reed, A., II, Aquino, K., & Levy, E. (2007). Moral Identity and Judgments of Charitable Behaviors. Journal of Marketing, 71(1), 178–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rego, L. L., Billett, M. T., & Morgan, N. A. (2009). Consumer-Based Brand Equity and Firm Risk. Journal of Marketing, 73(6), 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Reinartz, W. J., & Kumar, V. (2000). On the Profitability of Long-Life Customers in a Noncontractual Setting: An Empirical Investigation and Implications for Marketing. Journal of Marketing, 64(4), 17–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Reynierse, J. H., & Harker, J. B. (1992). Employee and Customer Perceptions of Service in Banks: Teller and Customer Service Representative Ratings. Human Resource Planning, 15(4), 31–47.Google Scholar
  69. Reynolds, K. L., & Harris, L. C. (2006). Deviant Customer Behavior: An Exploration of Frontline Employee Tactics. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 14(2), 95–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Reynolds, K. L., & Harris, L. C. (2009). Dysfunctional Customer Behavior Severity: An Empirical Examination. Journal of Retailing, 85(3), 321–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Richins, M. L. (1983). Negative Word-of-Mouth by Dissatisfied Consumers: A Pilot Study. Journal of Marketing, 47(1), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Robinson, D., Perryman, S., & Hayday, S. (2004). The Drivers of Employee Engagement. Brighton: Institute for Employment Studies.Google Scholar
  73. Ryan, A. M., Schmit, M. J., & Johnson, R. (1996). Attitudes and Effectiveness: Examining Relations at an Organizational Level. Personnel Psychology, 49(4), 853–882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Saks, A. M. (2006). Antecedents and Consequences of Employee Engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(7), 600–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Schau, H. J., Muñiz, A. M., Jr., & Arnould, E. J. (2009). How Brand Community Practices Create Value. Journal of Marketing, 73(5), 30–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schlesinger, L. A., & Zornitsky, J. (1991). Job Satisfaction, Service Capability, and Customer Satisfaction: An Examination of Linkages and Management Implications. Human Resource Planning, 14(2), 141–149.Google Scholar
  77. Shao, R., Aquino, K., & Freeman, D. (2008). Beyond Moral Reasoning: A Review of Moral Identity Research and Its Implications for Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 18(4), 513–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Siddiqi, M. A., & Sahaf, M. A. (2009). Customer Orientation of Service Employees and Organizational Performance: Empirical Evidence from Indian Banking. Decision, 36(2), 133–153.Google Scholar
  79. Silvestro, R., & Cross, S. (2000). Applying the Service Profit Chain in a Retail Environment: Challenging the ‘Satisfaction Mirror’. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 11(3), 244–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Singh, J., & Sirdeshmukh, D. (2000). Agency and Trust Mechanisms in Consumer Satisfaction and Loyalty Judgments. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(1), 150–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Skarlicki, D. P., van Jaarsveld, D. D., & Walker, D. D. (2008). Getting Even for Customer Mistreatment: The Role of Moral Identity in the Relationship Between Customer Interpersonal Injustice and Employee Sabotage. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(6), 1335–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Srinivasan, S., & Hanssens, D. M. (2009). Marketing and Firm Value: Metrics, Methods, Findings, and Future Directions. Journal of Marketing Research, 46(3), 293–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Steinke, C. (2008). Examining the Role of Service Climate in Health Care: An Empirical Study of Emergency Departments. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 19(2), 188–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Subramony, M., Krause, N., Norton, J., & Burns, G. N. (2008). The Relationship Between Human Resource Investments and Organizational Performance: A Firm-Level Examination of Equilibrium Theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(4), 778–788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Tornow, W. W., & Wiley, J. W. (1991). Service Quality and Management Practices: A Look at Employee Attitudes, Customer Satisfaction, and Bottom-Line Consequences. Human Resource Planning, 14(2), 105–115.Google Scholar
  86. Tuzovic, S. (2010). Frequent (Flier) Frustration and the Dark Side of Word-of-Web: Exploring Online Dysfunctional Behavior in Online Feedback Forums. Journal of Services Marketing, 24(6), 446–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Ugboro, I. O., & Obeng, K. (2000). Top Management Leadership, Employee Empowerment, Job Satisfaction, and Customer Satisfaction in TQM Organizations: An Empirical Study. Journal of Quality Management, 5(2), 247–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Van Doorn, J., Lemon, K. N., Mittal, V., Nass, S., Pick, D., Pirner, P., & Verhoef, P. C. (2010). Customer Engagement Behavior: Theoretical Foundations and Research Directions. Journal of Service Research, 13(3), 253–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Van Dyne, L., & LePine, J. A. (1998). Helping and Voice Extra-Role Behaviors: Evidence of Construct and Predictive Validity. Academy of Management Journal, 41(1), 108–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Varadarajan, P. R., & Menon, A. (1988). Cause-Related Marketing: A Coalignment of Marketing Strategy and Corporate Philanthropy. Journal of Marketing, 52(3), 58–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Wangenheim, F. V., Evanschitzky, H., & Wunderlich, M. (2007). Does the Employee–Customer Satisfaction Link Hold for All Employee Groups? Journal of Business Research, 60(7), 690–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Whitman, D. S., Van Rooy, D. L., & Viswesvaran, C. (2010). Satisfaction, Citizenship Behaviors, and Performance in Work Units: A Meta-Analysis of Collective Construct Relations. Personnel Psychology, 63(1), 41–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Wiley, J. W. (1991). Customer Satisfaction: A Supportive Work Environment and Its Financial Cost. Human Resource Planning, 14(2), 117–121.Google Scholar
  94. Winterich, K. P., Mittal, V., & Ross, W. T. (2009). Donation Behavior Toward In-Groups and Out-Groups: The Role of Gender and Moral Identity. Journal of Consumer Research, 36(2), 199–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Winterich, K. P., Zhang, Y., & Mittal, V. (2012). How Political Identity and Charity Positioning Increase Donations: Insights from Moral Foundations Theory. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29(4), 346–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Zablah, A. R., Carlson, B. D., Todd Donavan, D., Maxham, J. G., III, & Brown, T. J. (2016). A Cross-Lagged Test of the Association Between Customer Satisfaction and Employee Job Satisfaction in a Relational Context. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(5), 743–755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vikas Mittal
    • 1
  • Kyuhong Han
    • 1
  • Robert A. Westbrook
    • 1
  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations