Effects of customer incivility on frontline employees and the moderating role of supervisor leadership style
Highlights•The research compares the effects of the most common forms of customers incivility on frontline employees' (FLEs).•It also explores whether supervisor leadership style can mitigate the adverse effects of customer incivility on FLEs.•Hypothesized relationships are evaluated in two experimental studies with actual FLEs working in 5-star hotels.•Results demonstrate that different forms of customer incivility differentially affect FLEs.•Empowering supervisor leadership style outperforms laissez-faire in mitigating customer incivility effects on FLEs.AbstractCustomer incivility toward frontline employees (FLEs) is a widespread phenomenon within tourism and hospitality industries, severely depleting the psychological resources of FLEs and delivered customer service. Drawing on the job demands-resources and conservation of resources frameworks, the current research compares the effects of the two most common forms of customer incivility on FLEs' psychological responses and behavioral intentions (study 1). Moreover, this work explores the degree to which supervisor leadership style can mitigate the depleting effects of these two forms of customer incivility on FLEs (study 2). Findings demonstrate that FLEs' responses to customer incivility episodes remain contingent upon supervisor's leadership style and acknowledge that an empowering (vs. laissez-faire) leadership style can better mitigate the depleting effects of both customer incivility forms on FLEs' role stress, rumination, retaliation and withdrawal intentions. The implications of these findings for tourism and hospitality theory and practicing managers are discussed.
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