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Antecedents and[1]

  1. 1. The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at,4 Antecedents and effects of emotional satisfaction on employee-perceived370 service quality ˚ Terje Slatten Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway Abstract Purpose – The aim of this paper has been to study the relationships among: four role stressors (“role ambiguity”, “role overload”, “role conflict”, and “work-family conflict”); emotional satisfaction among employees; and employee-perceived service quality. Design/methodology/approach – A conceptual model of the aforementioned relationships has been presented. Hypotheses regarding these relationships were proposed, and data were then collected by a cross-sectional field study of employees in six post offices in Norway. These data have been analysed to test the hypotheses. Findings – The study has found that “emotional satisfaction” is positively related to “employee-perceived service quality”. Three role stressors (“role overload”, “role conflict”, and “work-family conflict”) were negatively related to emotional satisfaction. Research limitations/implications – The findings indicate that role stressors have a direct effect on the emotional satisfaction of employees and an indirect effect on employee-perceived service quality. Practical implications – The study has demonstrated the importance of role stressors in determining emotional satisfaction among employees, and thus indirectly influencing service quality. In particular, managers should be aware of the effect of work-family conflict on the emotional satisfaction of employees (and hence on the service quality they provide to customers). Originality/value – The paper has developed and tested an original conceptual model of a relatively unexplored area of services management. Keywords Employee attitudes, Customer services quality, Employee behaviour, Role ambiguity, Role conflict, Norway Paper type Research paper 1. Introduction It is generally accepted in many industries that customer satisfaction is dependent on customers’ perceptions of the performance quality of service employees (Hartline et al., 2000). In this regard, Heskett has proposed a sequential causal model whereby: . internal-service quality drives; . employee satisfaction, which enables the delivery of; . high-value service, resulting in;Managing Service QualityVol. 18 No. 4, 2008 . customer satisfaction, leading to;pp. 370-386q Emerald Group Publishing Limited . customer loyalty, which, in turn, produces; and0960-4529DOI 10.1108/09604520810885617 . profit and growth.
  2. 2. It is apparent from this sequence that Heskett (1990) has posited customer satisfaction Effectsas being rooted in employee satisfaction. According to the logic of the model, a of emotionalcompany’s business prospects are ultimately dependent on whether the companyorganizes its internal activities in such a way that they enhance employee satisfaction satisfactionand deliver high-value service. The literature on service-quality has demonstrated this link between employeesatisfaction and customer satisfaction (Bitner, 1992; Hartline et al., 2000; Loveman, 3711998; Schneider and Bowen, 1993). In a large study of 1,277 employees and 4,269customers, Schlesinger and Zornitsky (1991) have found that employee satisfactionwas positively related to customer satisfaction, and Schneider and Bowen (1993) haveconcluded that employee satisfaction was a statistically significant predictor ofservice quality. These empirical studies have confirmed the pithy aphorism reportedlymade by the founder of the Marriott hotel chain: “You can’t make happy guests withunhappy employees” (quoted in Hostage, 1975). These studies, however, are exceptions from the dominant focus of the serviceliterature that has been on the drivers of customer satisfaction and customer-perceivedquality (Edvardsson and Gustavsson, 2003). Service employees have beenacknowledged as an essential resource in service provision, but there have been fewempirical studies on the role of employee satisfaction in the actual production of servicequality. In particular, no study has explicitly focused on the antecedents of the emotionaldimension of employee satisfaction and its effects on service quality. There have been calls in the literature for more research in this area. Wong (2004) has,for example, called for more investigation of the role of emotions in service encounters,and Bagozzi (1999) has insisted that there was a need for further research on howemotions influence employee behavior. Cronin (2003) has recommended more empiricalstudies on the emotional dimension of service quality, and Singh (2000) has argued that,there is a need for more systematic studies on the antecedents and consequences ofinteractions with customers (Bagozzi, 1999; Yu and Dean, 2001). The aim of this paper is, therefore, to undertake an empirical examination of some ofthe antecedents and effects of emotional satisfaction from an employee perspective.Specifically, the study investigates the relationships between: . role stressors; . employee emotional satisfaction; and . employees’ perceptions of service quality.This study took place in a specific context in order to test whether there is a linkbetween these constructs. Certainly, the use of a specific context has some limitations,but it is suitable for the contributions this study has to offer: the carrying out of aninitial test and the investigation of a neglected area in service research. With these goals in mind, this paper first reviews the relevant literature anddevelops a conceptual model of the relationships that exist between the construct of“emotional satisfaction” and its antecedents and effects. Next, there is a discussion andproposal of relevant hypotheses. The paper then describes the methodology andfollows with the findings of an empirical study used to test the model and itshypotheses. The paper concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and practicalimplications for both researchers and managers.
  3. 3. MSQ 2. Literature review and conceptual framework18,4 2.1 Emotional satisfaction For some time, the so-called “expectancy disconfirmation theory” has been the dominant model for assessing customer satisfaction (Brookes, 1995; Liljander and Strandvik, 1997). According to this model, satisfaction is determined by the cognitive confirmation (or disconfirmation) of customer expectations of service as compared372 with perceptions of the actual service performance received (Danaher and Haddrell, 1996). According to Yu and Dean (2001), however, a focus on the cognitive component of satisfaction and a relative neglect of the emotional component can lead to an inadequate understanding of the satisfaction concept. In this regard, Cronin et al. (2000) have posited emotion as a core attribute in satisfaction and suggested that models of satisfaction should include a separate emotional component. Wirtz and Bateson (1999) have similarly contended that a separation of the cognitive and emotional components is both necessary and valuable for modeling behavior in service settings. The literature offers various definitions of emotions, and there is neither a generally accepted definition of the term (Cohen and Areni, 1991; Peterson and Wayne, 1986; Richins Marsha, 1997; Wong, 2004) nor a consensus of how to measure them (Edwardson, 1998). Izard (1977, p. 10) has, for example, defined an “emotion” as: “. . . [a] feeling that motivates, organizes, and guides perception, thought, and action”. In contrast, Bagozzi et al. (1999, p. 184) have defined emotions as “. . . mental states that arise from cognitive appraisals of events or one’s thoughts”. The present study adopts this latter definition. In the context of this study, positive or negative emotions arise either from the cognitive appraisals of service events (for example, a frontline service employee’s experience of a computer breakdown) or from thoughts about those events (for example, the employee’s thoughts that he or she might not have the appropriate skills for the job). Some empirical studies have concluded that, the emotional component of satisfaction is a better predictor than the cognitive component for certain important constructs of service-quality management. For example, Yu and Dean (2001) have found that the emotional component of satisfaction had stronger correlations (than the cognitive component) with loyalty, word-of-mouth, switching behavior, and the willingness to pay more. The role of emotion has thus been gaining more attention as a central element in service-quality management (Wong, 2004; Liljander and Strandvik, 1997; Babin and Griffin, 1998). 2.2 Employee emotional satisfaction and employee-perceived service quality Research has suggested that, the emotional feelings of employees do influence the way they interact with customers (Bitner, 1992; van Maanen and Kunda, 1989; Rafaeli and Sutton, 1990). Moreover, according to Schlesinger and Heskett (1991), there is a link between employee satisfaction and high quality as perceived by the customer. These ˝ findings are in accordance with Gronroos’ (1984) definition of service quality as a perceived judgment. In this regard, the present study has concentrated on employees’ personal perceptions of the service quality they provide. Accordingly, this study defined employee-perceived quality as an employee’s personal evaluations of the service quality that he or she delivers to customers. This study proposed, moreover, that a given employee’s degree of emotional satisfaction influences this employee-perceived service quality.
  4. 4. For these reasons, the first hypothesis was as follows: Effects H1. The degree of emotional satisfaction among employees is positively related to of emotional employee-perceived service quality. satisfaction2.3 Antecedents of employee-emotional satisfactionAccording to Katz and Kahn (1978), roles are sets of behaviours that are expected of aperson in a certain position. Katz and Kahn (1978, p. 188) have observed that: “Key to 373effective role behavior is the process of learning the expectations of others, accepting them,and fulfilling them.” If a person in a particular role is not able to fulfil the expectationsassociated with the position, the person will experience stress (Weatherly and Tansik,1992). In the literature on role theory (Kahn et al., 1964), these role demands andperformance expectations are termed “role stressors”. Four major role stressors were posited for the purposes of this study: (1) role conflict; (2) role ambiguity; (3) role overload; and (4) work-family conflict.These four role stressors are discussed in greater detail below. 2.3.1 Role conflict. Kahn et al. (1964, p. 56) has defined “role conflict” as “. . . thesimultaneous occurrence of two or more sets of pressure [such] that compliance withone would make more difficult compliance with the other”. There are several potential sources of such role conflict (Kahn et al., 1964), but allshare one characteristic in common. In all cases, role conflict in service delivery iscaused by an organization or a customer exerting pressure to change the behaviour of afrontline service employee. The stronger the pressures, the greater the conflict createdfor the service employee. 2.3.2 Role ambiguity. House and Rizzo (1972) has defined role ambiguity as a“. . . lack of clarity and predictability of the outcomes of one’s behavior”. In a similarvein, Sell et al. (1981, p. 53) has defined role ambiguity as: [. . .] the degree to which information is lacking regarding: (1) the scope and limits of one’s responsibilities; (2) expectations associated with a role and the methods and behaviours for fulfilling one’s job responsibilities; (3) which expectations take priority or stated otherwise, which elements of the role are most important; and (4) the standards by which one’s performance is appraised.According to Singh and Rhoads (1991), frontline service employees can experienceambiguity with respect to: . superiors; . the company; . ethical issues; . customers; . co-workers; . family; and . other managers.
  5. 5. MSQ According to Singh et al. (1996), there are four dimensions to role ambiguity:18,4 (1) Process ambiguity. How a person should get things done and how to achieve the organisation’s objectives. (2) Priority ambiguity. When things should be done. (3) Expectation ambiguity. What is expected of an employee or what that employee374 should be doing, or both. (4) Behavior ambiguity. How an employee is expected to act in various situations. The greater the vagueness and unpredictability with regard to these matters, the greater the ambiguity felt by frontline service employees. 2.3.3 Role overload. According to Jones et al. (1995), role overload occurs if: . an employer demands more of an employee than this person can reasonably accomplish in a given time; and . the employee perceives the demands of work as excessive. There are two dimensions to role overload: (1) Quantitative overload. Referring to excessive work whereby the employee is capable of meeting the role demand, but there are too many (perhaps conflicting) role demands. (2) Qualitative overload. Referring to an employee’s inadequate skills and abilities, and even if more time and resources were made available, these would not help because more training and education would be required before the employee could meet role demands. 2.3.4 Work-family conflict. Work-family conflict arises when responsibilities in the work domain and responsibilities in the family domain become, to some degree, incompatible (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). Responsibilities in each of these areas are important to any given individual; however, taken together, they often place unreasonable demands on that person. The changing nature of the workforce and society in general has led to both a greater number of single-parent households and an increase of households in which both partners wish to pursue a career. These changes have increased the potential for conflict to occur between work responsibilities and family responsibilities in all working environments. Work experiences and family experiences have reciprocal effects. Barling and MacEven (1992) have termed this reciprocity a “spillover effect” from one realm to the other. However, the work-related consequences of family/work conflict have not been clearly determined (Boles and Babin, 1996). Similarly, no empirical study has assessed the effects of work-family conflict on the emotional satisfaction of employees. 2.3.5 Summary of role stressors and proposal of hypotheses. Research has indicated that the first three role stressors discussed above (“role conflict”, “role ambiguity”, and “role overload”) are negatively related to job satisfaction (Behrman and Perreault, 1984; Singh et al., 1996). On the basis of a large empirical study, Brown and Peterson (1993) have reported that “role conflict” and “role ambiguity” are antecedents to job satisfaction. Other studies have also supported “role conflict” and “role ambiguity” as antecedents to job satisfaction (Good et al., 1988; Lysonski, 1985; Teas, 1983).
  6. 6. The results of these studies on the whole document a negative effect of “role conflict” Effectsand “role ambiguity” on employees’ job satisfaction (Keaveney and Nelson, 1993). Although no study has explicitly assessed the effect of “role overload” on emotional of emotionalsatisfaction, it seems reasonable to suppose that this role stressor also has an adverse satisfactioneffect on the emotional satisfaction of employees. This study has thus proposed the following three hypotheses: H2. Role conflict is negatively related to the degree of emotional satisfaction 375 among employees. H3. Role ambiguity is negatively related to the degree of emotional satisfaction among employees. H4. Role overload is negatively related to the degree of emotional satisfaction among employees.With regard to the fourth role stressor (work-family conflict), Boles and Babin (1996)have found a significant negative relationship between work-family conflict andemployee satisfaction. On the basis of their study, and on the basis of intuitivereasoning, this study has also deemed it appropriate to assume that work-familyconflict has a negative effect on the emotional satisfaction of employees. The followinghypothesis was therefore proposed: H5. Work-family conflict is negatively related to the degree of emotional satisfaction among employees.2.4 Research modelBased on the discussion above, Figure 1 shows the research model for this study. Ascan be seen in the diagram, the model proposes that emotional satisfaction has fourantecedents (i.e. the role stressors discussed above), and that the construct of emotionalsatisfaction has consequently an effect on employee-perceived service quality.3. Empirical study3.1 Background to the studyFrontline employees in various branches of the Norwegian post office were the focusfor this empirical study. Frontline employees of Norwegian post offices are expected toperform a number of tasks – including the provision of accurate information about thedispatch and arrival of postal items, advice on savings and loans, and information oncurrency conversions. In recent years, the Norwegian post office has undertakensignificant programmes in reorganisation and cost-reduction, which have resulted in amore effective and profitable public-sector company. These changes have, however,caused difficulties for employees, who have been forced to take on a greater numberand variety of service tasks per worker.3.2 MethodologyThis study employed a cross-sectional survey design. A total of 210 employees fromvarious branches of the Norwegian post office participated in the study. Two of the sixpost offices that participated in the study were located in densely-populated areas,whereas four were located in rural districts. The job tasks at the different post officeswere standardised.
  7. 7. MSQ18,4376Figure 1.Antecedents and effects ofemotional satisfaction onemployee-perceivedservice quality The survey was self-administered by interested participants in their own time. All participants were informed that the responses would be anonymous. In all, 149 completed questionnaires were returned, representing an overall response rate of 70.9 per cent. Of the 149 participants, 94 (62.7 per cent) were female. 3.3 Measures 3.3.1 Emotional satisfaction. This study used the measure suggested by Reynolds and Beatty (1999) to assess “emotional satisfaction”. This measure has previously been used to measure emotional satisfaction among customers (Wong, 2004); however, it is reasonable to assume that the measure is similarly appropriate for the assessment of emotional satisfaction among employees. The questionnaire asked the employees to indicate their feelings with respect to their job and workplace on seven-point Likert-type scales. Depending on the emotions being assessed, the scales referred to various ranges of feelings, such as “enjoyable-frustrating”, “disgusted-contented”, “unhappy-happy”, and “pleased-displeased”. The composite reliability coefficient for the measure of “emotional satisfaction” was 0.8. 3.3.2 Employee-perceived service quality. This study utilized a four-item scale to measure “employee-perceived service quality” (Dabholkar et al., 2000). Employees were asked to indicate their perception of the service they provide on a seven-point Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 – strongly disagree to 7 – strongly agree. The items on which they were asked to respond were: (1) Generally, my overall service is excellent. (2) Generally, I give a service of very high quality. (3) Generally, I have high standards for my customer service. (4) Generally, I deliver superior service in every way.
  8. 8. Cronbach’s a coefficient for the measure of “employee-perceived service quality” Effectswas 0.78. of emotional 3.3.3 Role conflict. The measure suggested by Rizzo et al. (1970) was used to assess“role conflict”. The questionnaire asked employees to indicate their perceived role satisfactionconflict at work on a seven-point Likert-type scale. Items assessed in this way included: . I receive assignments without adequate resources to complete them. 377 . I receive incompatible requests from two or more people. . I have to disobey a rule or policy to carry out some assignments.Cronbach’s a coefficient of reliability for this measure was 0.87. 3.3.4 Role ambiguity. This study assessed “role ambiguity” by using a three-itemscale (Rizzo et al., 1970). On a seven-point Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 – stronglydisagree to 7 – strongly agree, employees were asked to indicate their perceived roleambiguity with respect to the following items: (1) I have clear, planned goals and objects for my job. (2) I know what my responsibilities are. (3) I know exactly what is expected of me.Cronbach’s a for this measure was 0.62. 3.3.5 Role overload. Two measures for “role overload” were developed specificallyfor the present study: (1) Quantitative dimension of role overload. “Even if I work hard, I often don’t manage to do all the work I am expected to do.” (2) Qualitative dimension of role overload. “I often have to ask one of my colleagues for help because I don’t know exactly how to perform the work task.”Cronbach’s a for these two measures was 0.89. 3.3.6 Work-family conflict. For the construct of “work-family conflict”, thequestionnaire asked employees to indicate on a seven-point Likert-type scale, rangingfrom 1 – strongly disagree to 7 – strongly agree, to what degree work was in conflictwith family and personal relationships outside work. The wording of the item was asfollows: . Generally, I find it easy to combine my private life (time for family, friends, etc.) with my work.3.4 Results and analysis3.4.1 Preliminary statistical analyses. Table I shows the descriptive statistics, means,standard deviations, and correlations for all constructs. Before performing regressionanalyses to test the proposed hypotheses, this study checked all items and scales fornormality. There were tests for convergent and divergent validity by maximumlikelihood extraction and direct oblimin rotation for all measures (except for “roleoverload” and “work-family conflict”). There were, furthermore, tests for the convergentproperties of the formative construct of “role overload” by principal componentextraction and varimax rotation. The results showed satisfactory convergent properties
  9. 9. MSQ for all constructs used in the study. Tests for discriminant validity showed that all items18,4 on all constructs had satisfactory validity. 3.4.2 Regression analyses. In the first regression analysis, the dependent variable “employee-perceived service quality” was regressed against the independent variable “emotional satisfaction”. In the second regression, “emotional satisfaction” was the dependent variable and “role conflict”, “role ambiguity”, “role overload”, and378 “work-family conflict” were the independent variables. The results are shown in Table II. As can be seen in the table, the construct of “emotional satisfaction” had a positive effect on “employee-perceived service quality”. The constructs of “role conflict”, “role overload”, and “work-family conflict” were all negatively related to “emotional satisfaction”. However, “role ambiguity” had no significant effect on “emotional satisfaction”. This study has, therefore, found support for all the hypothesised relationships, apart from H3 (which postulated a relationship between “role ambiguity” and “emotional satisfaction”). 4. Discussion 4.1 Antecedents to emotional satisfaction Three of the four independent variables (“role conflict”, “role overload”, and “work-family conflict”) had a direct effect on “emotional satisfaction”, which then Construct Min Max Mean SD a SQ ES RC RA RO WFC Perceived service quality 1 7 5.14 1.5 0.78 1.00 Emotional satisfaction 1 7 4.78 1.3 0.80 0.318 * 1.00 Role conflict 1 7 3.51 0.5 0.87 20.131 2 0.461 * 1.00 Role Ambiguity 1 7 5.71 0.7 0.62 0.145 2 0.251 * 0.151 1.00Table I. Role overload 1 7 2.90 1.2 0.89 20.321 * 2 0.638 * 0.488 0.409 * 1.00Descriptive statistics, Work-family 1 7 3.55 1.5 a 20.117 2 0.417 * 0.076 0.259 * 0.374 * 1.00means, standard conflictdeviations andcorrelations Notes: *Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed); aonly one item for this construct Standardized b coefficients Sig. Direct antecedent to service quality H1. Emotional satisfaction 0.318 0.000 Adjusted R 2 0.101 Indirect antecedent to service quality H2. Role conflict 2 0.236 0.003 H3. Role ambiguity 2 0.045 0.560Table II. H4. Role overload 2 0.431 0.000Results of testing H5. Work-family conflict 2 0.210 0.007proposed research model Adjusted R 2 0.424
  10. 10. affected “employee-perceived service quality”. It would thus seem that, the service Effectsdelivered by employees is indirectly related to various aspects of employees’ work of emotionalsituation (mediated through “emotional satisfaction”). The fourth independent variable“role ambiguity” did not have a significant effect on “emotional satisfaction”. satisfaction The findings with respect to “work-family conflict” have shown that this constructhad a significant negative effect on “emotional satisfaction” (b ¼ 2 0.210, p , 0.01).These findings support those of Williams and Alliger (1994) found that, a conflict 379between work responsibilities and family responsibilities can “spill over” into work.This finding emphasises the importance of managers taking proper account of howoutside influences can affect employee-perceived service quality. The present study has also shown that “role overload” had a significant indirecteffect on employee-perceived service quality (mediated through “emotionalsatisfaction”). Of all the antecedents to emotional satisfaction considered in thisstudy, “role overload” had the greatest influence (b ¼ 2 0.431, p , 0.001).As previously noted, “role overload” occurs when either an employer demands moreof an employee than this person can reasonably accomplish in a given time or when anemployee perceives the demands of work as excessive, or both (Jones et al., 1995). Thisstudy tested for both of these forms of “role overload”. The results should serve as awarning against a company policy of focusing only on cost reduction and efficiency; itis apparent that these policies can induce “role overload”, thus reducingemployee-perceived service quality. As hypothesised, “role conflict” had a negative effect on the emotional satisfactionof employees (b ¼ 2 0.236, p , 0.01). This result is consistent with previous studies inmarketing and management in which role conflict has been shown to have a significantnegative effect on a variety of constructs, including employee satisfaction (Brown andPetersen, 1993; Goolsby, 1992). The construct of “role ambiguity” did not have a statistically significant effect onemotional satisfaction. The direction of the relationship was negative (b ¼ 2 0.045) butnot significant ( p ¼ 0.560). A possible explanation for this result is that nearly 70 per centof those who participated in the study had been in their present positions for two years ormore, which implies that they had considerable experience in their roles. Role ambiguityarises from a lack of clarity and predictability regarding the outcomes of behaviour(House and Rizzo, 1972). With increasing experience, it is presumably easier to predictthe outcomes of behaviour, thereby reducing employees’ perceptions of role ambiguity.Another plausible explanation for the non-significant effect might be the nature of thejob content studied here. In the Norwegian post office, most job descriptions are clearlydocumented, which is likely to reduce the potential for employees to perceive roleambiguity.4.2 Effects of emotional satisfactionThe present study has demonstrated that employees who felt emotionally satisfiedreported higher levels of employee-perceived service quality than those who did not(b ¼ 0.318, p , 0.001). This result is in accordance with the study of Staw et al. (1994) thatfound that positive emotions have positive influences on task activity and persistence. In many service industries, contact employees are the pre-eminent representatives of thefirm providing the service (Hartline et al., 2000), and it is therefore important that firmscreate a positive environment that encourages frontline employees to keep customers
  11. 11. MSQ satisfied and loyal. The nurturing of positive emotions among employees plays a critical role18,4 in ensuring that they provide the best possible service to customers. As Dunning and Story (1991) have observed, positive people actually do experience more positive outcomes. 5. Research contributions Previous empirical research on services has neglected the sources of employee-perceived380 service quality. No study has explicitly focused on the antecedents of the emotional dimension of employee satisfaction and its effects on service quality. This present study, in addressing this gap of knowledge, has made the following contributions: . the design (and testing) of a model of the relationships that exist between the construct of “employee emotional satisfaction” and its antecedents and effects; . the design (and use) of a measurement instrument for the proposed model; . an exploration of various “role stressors” as antecedents to the emotional satisfaction of employees; and . an exploration of the effects of employee emotional satisfaction on service quality – including the provision of empirical evidence that employee-perceived service quality is affected by emotional satisfaction among employees. 6. Managerial implications Customer-contact employees are a critical asset of service organisations due to the interactive nature of service delivery (Chung and Schneider, 2002; Hartline et al., 2000). This study has, therefore, important practical implications for managers and their decisions and practices with regard to employees. One general, but important, implication from this study is the importance of measuring employees’ emotional satisfaction. The measurement of these mental states, which arise from cognitive appraisals of events or one’s thoughts, can be a good predictor for employee-perceived service quality. Managers should, moreover, emphasise emotions as an important element in service-quality management (Wong, 2004). Consequently, managers should insist that employee surveys include questions about emotional satisfaction. Of all the role stress factors examined in this study, “role overload” had the greatest adverse effect on emotional satisfaction. This finding should be interpreted as a warning against an exclusively rational focus on cost reduction and efficiency, for it is apparent that these measures can induce “role overload”. To be sure, a rational focus is vital for a firm’s survival, the attainment of shareholders’ goals, the need to be competitive, etc. However, on the other hand, mangers should bear in mind that such focus has an effect on employees’ emotional satisfaction. This study can serve to remind managers that it is sensible to keep a good balance between these two areas. One solution for keeping the right balance is to assess the workload of all employees from time to time. Based on such an assessment, managers may well have to invest more resources or to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees, or both. A strategy of reducing “role overload” is likely to be cost-effective in the long-term by keeping both employees and customers satisfied and loyal to the firm. In short, all managerial activities should be framed with a view to strengthening emotional satisfaction among employees. The findings of this study also clearly demonstrate the importance of managers taking account of “non-job factors” in their assessment of whether employees are delivering high-quality service to customers. “Work-family conflict” had the second
  12. 12. greatest adverse effect on emotional satisfaction. In particular, the findings emphasise Effectsthe importance of managers’ recognising the potentially adverse effects of work-family of emotionalconflict. The realistic scheduling of job tasks and increased autonomy for employees inplanning their work are two effective ways of reducing the conflict between work satisfactionresponsibilities and home responsibilities. In addition, managers should consider theprovision of access to childcare (either directly or indirectly). 3817. Limitations and future researchOf course, when interpreting the results, the reader should take into consideration thelimitations of this study. Yet, these acknowledged limitations also point towards new ideasfor further research. The following limitations and suggestions for future research are noted: . First, the use of a specific context is a limitation of the study. Future research could, therefore, replicate and enlarge upon the present findings by using samples from various industries, for example, hospitality and retail industries. . Secondly, the correlations were relatively low in this study. These figures can be explained by many reasons. However, there are two points that merit further attention. Because this study developed some of the constructs for specific purposes, it is not at all unreasonable to suppose that this study could have overlooked certain important aspects of the constructs, thereby resulting in low correlations. Future research could, then, develop other items in order to have a more sensitive assessment of these constructs. Another reason why there were relatively low correlations may be that there could be other factors that are either antecedents or effects of emotional satisfaction. Future research could, thus, make improvements in these two areas and possibly increase the level of correlation. . Thirdly, this study examined the general effect of emotional satisfaction on employee-perceived service quality. Future research could seek to establish more precisely those specific facets of emotional satisfaction that are the best predictors of service quality. . Fourthly, this study did not focus on the differences between genders. Empirical studies have found gender differences in job satisfaction (Lutz, 2007). Future research could deepen our understanding of gender differences by exploring whether or to what extent there are such differences in emotional satisfaction. . Fifthly, this study has focused on the antecedents and effects of emotional satisfaction from the employees’ perspective. Future studies could focus on other perspectives in identifying the sources of emotional satisfaction and service quality. According to Kennedy-McDoll and Anderson (2002, p. 546), “No study has attempted to develop a model of leadership style and emotions as mediators of performance”. An exploration of the effect of leadership style on emotional satisfaction and employee-perceived service quality would be a valuable and important area for further research.ReferencesBabin, B.J. and Griffin, M. (1998), “The nature of satisfaction: an updated examination and analysis”, Journal of Business research, Vol. 41, pp. 127-36.Bagozzi, R.P. (1999), “Goal setting and goal striving in consumer behavior”, J. Mark., Vol. 63, pp. 19-32.
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  16. 16. ˝Gronroos, C. (2001), Service Mangement and Marketing: A Customer Relationship Management Effects Approach, Wiley, Chichester. of emotionalHallowell, R., Schlesinger, L. and Zornitsky, J. (1996), “Internal service quality, customer and job satisfaction: linkages and implications for management”, Human Resource Planning satisfaction Journal, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 20-31.Hirschhorn, L. and Gilmore, T. (1992), “The new boundaries of the bounder less company”, Harvard Business Review, pp. 104-15, May-June. 385Lovelock, C. and Gummesson, E. (2004), “Whither service marketing? In search of a new paradigm and fresh perspectives”, Journal of Service Research, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 20-41.Zeithaml, V.A., Berry, L.L. and Parasuraman, A. (1988), “Communication and control processes in the delivery of service quality”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52, pp. 35-48.Appendix. Questionnaire used for this studyService quality . Generally, my overall service is excellent. . Generally, I give a service of very high quality. . Generally, I have a high standard of my customer service. . Generally, I deliver superior service in every way.Emotional satisfaction . Displeased/pleased. . Unhappy/happy. . Disgusted/contented. . Frustrating/enjoyable.Role overload . Often it happens that, even if I work hard, I don’t manage to do all the work I am expected to do. . Often I have to ask some of my colleagues for help, because I don’t have the exact knowledge of how to perform the task.Role ambiguity . I have clear, planned goals and objectives for my job (R) *. . I know what my responsibilities are (R) *. . I know exactly what is expected of me (R) *.Role conflict . I receive assignments without adequate resources to complete them. . I receive incompatible requests from two or more people. . I have to buck a rule or policy in order to carry out some assignments.
  17. 17. MSQ Work-family conflict18,4 . Generally speaking, I often find it difficult to combine my private life (ex time for the family, friends, etc.) with my work. *(R) indicates a reverse-coded item.386 About the author ˚ Terje Slatten is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Lillehammer University College, Norway. His research interests include service quality, complaint handling and loyalty. He is currently doing research on the role of emotions in service organizations both from an employee and ˚ customer perspective. Terje Slatten can be contacted at: To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: Or visit our web site for further details: