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Linking employee and customer misbehaviour: The moderating role of past misdemeanours

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Abstract:

Traditionally, studies that examine the activities of misbehaving employees and customers have done so in a separate and unrelated manner. Drawing on research that explores deviance amplifications and deviant learning, the current study aims to address this identified gap in the literature and provide empirical evidence of the linkages between perceived employee deviance and the severity of customer misbehaviour. Utilising equity, power and differential association theories, a conceptual model is forwarded comprising four hypotheses between the constructs: perceived employee service deviance; customer repatronage intent; severity of customer misbehaviour; and past customer misbehaviour. Using survey responses from 380 consumers of bars, hotels and restaurants, the empirical results offer support for the forwarded research model. The results show that customers perceiving employee misbehaviour are profoundly affected. Such experiences erode their repatronage intentions and are linked (directly and indirectly) to the severity of dysfunctional customer behaviour performed. Consumers’ past experience of misbehaviour is also found to impact the hypothesised relationships. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the findings and outlining directions for future research.

Keywords: customer misbehaviour; differential association; employee deviance; past misbehaviour; service dysfunction; structural equation modelling

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2013.812977

Affiliations: 1: Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK 2: Warwick Business School, The University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Publication date: March 3, 2014

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