By Mechinda, Panisa and Patterson, Paul G.

Year 2009


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to empirically test and extend knowledge of thedeterminants of customer-oriented behavior (COB) of service providers in an affective, highcontact service setting (healthcare).

Design/methodology/approach – The authors examine the relative effects of dispositionalvariables (e.g. personality of service provider), as well as service climate and job satisfactionon five dimensions of customer-oriented behavior. The research hypotheses are tested usingself-report data collected from 270 nurses in five hospitals (public and private). Qualitative work, including three focus groups with nurses and a series of depth interviews with patients,was conducted to test the applicability of the scales.

Findings – Results support the role of personality, job satisfaction and service climate onemployees’ COB, but do not support interaction effects. Various personality traits have differing effects on different types of customer-oriented behaviors. Service climate has effects on both technical and interpersonal behaviors whereas job satisfaction impacts only technical behavior.

Research limitations/implications – This study was conducted in an affective, high contact and high emotional labor setting, i.e. healthcare, and in an Eastern collectivist culture (Thailand). As a result, the generalizability of the findings into other service settings and cultures needs to be undertaken with care.

Practical implications – For service employees to display customer-oriented behaviors, the organization must first recruit individuals with high levels of conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and emotional stability. Second, the organization must create a climate for service that supports, encourages and motivates service employees to better serve their customers. This service climate at the unit/branch level includes inspirational leadership, providing appropriate tools and technology, training, and commitment from senior management to a truly customer (patient) centric organization. Finally, when the organization is successful in creating satisfaction among employees, then employees are more inclined to offer a better technical performance

Originality/value – This is one of only a few studies that have examined the impact of personality and organizational variables on front-line employee performance

DOWNLOAD : The Impact of Service Climate and Service Provider Personality on Employees’ Customer-oriented Behavior in a high-Contact Setting