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Title: A contingency model of “Face” loss in service encounters: an Eastern cultural context
Authors: Chuanchuen Akkawanitcha
Paul G. Patterson
Authors: Chuanchuen Akkawanitcha
Paul G. Patterson
Keywords: Business, Management and Accounting
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2017
Abstract: © 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of a loss of face on the psychological well-being of frontline employees (FLEs) in an Eastern cultural context (Thailand) when subjected to customer aggression. Importantly, it adopts a contingency approach and examines moderating effects by which social status, a “customer is always right” organisational philosophy and a public/private context impact the nature of the association between customer aggression and loss of face. Finally, it examines the moderating effect of regulation of emotion on the association between loss of face on psychological well-being. Design/methodology/approach: A survey, administered to 319 FLEs in retail stores in Thailand, asked them to recall a recent experience dealing with customer aggression. The data were analysed using structural equation modelling and a moderator regression. Findings: Customer aggression expressions are associated with FLEs’ loss of face, which in turn affects FLEs’ emotional exhaustion and anxiety. FLEs social status and a “customer is always right” organisational philosophy moderate the association between customer aggression and loss of face, and FLEs’ loss of face is greater when their physical well-being is threatened publicly rather than in private. In addition, regulation of emotion was found to increase the negative impact of loss of face on emotional exhaustion. Practical implications: The way FLEs respond to customer aggression during service encounters, as well as the FLEs’ status and the context, can intensify their loss of face and psychological well-being. This has implications for the extent to which organisations impose a “customer is always right” dictum on FLE, as well as the need for counselling and peer support immediately following customer aggression incidents. Originality/value: This study is the first to investigate the moderating effects of social status, a “customer is always right” philosophy and public/private context on the expression of customer aggression and FLEs’ accompanying loss of face. In other words, rather than simply examining what causes face loss, the authors shift the focus from the “Is” question to “When” – i.e., under what contingency condition is there more or less face loss?
ISSN: 20556225
Appears in Collections:CMUL: Journal Articles

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