Service Workers’ Chain Reactions to Daily Customer Mistreatment: Behavioral Linkages, Mechanisms, and Boundary Conditions

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Abstract

Drawing on the stressor–emotion model, we examine how customer mistreatment can evoke service workers’ passive forms of deviant behaviors (i.e., work withdrawal behavior [WWB]) and negative impacts on their home life (i.e., work–family conflict [WFC]), and whether individuals’ core self-evaluations and customer service training can buffer the negative effects of customer mistreatment. Using the experience sampling method, we collect daily data from 77 customer service employees for 10 consecutive working days, yielding 546 valid daily responses. The results show that daily customer mistreatment increases service workers’ daily WWB and WFC through negative emotions. Furthermore, employees with high core self-evaluations and employees who received customer service training are less likely to experience negative emotions when faced with customer mistreatment, and thus are less likely to engage in WWB or provoke WFC.

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