Does transformational leadership always matter in frontline service roles?

Keo Mony Sok, Phyra Sok, Lan Snell, Pingping Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of frontline service employees (FSEs) motivation (enjoyment of work and driven to work) and ability (customer service ability) in the relationship between TFL and employee service performance. Design/methodology/approach: This is a survey-based study which involves 534 FSEs and 135 supervisors in a hair salon setting. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the proposed hypotheses. Findings: Results show that TFL is significantly related to employee service performance; this relationship is enhanced with the presence of driven to work; yet, it is neutralized with the presence of enjoyment of work. Further, the three-way interaction of TFL, enjoyment of work and customer service ability as well as TFL driven to work, and customer service ability are negatively associated with employee service performance. Practical implications: The results advance service managers’ understanding of the importance of FSEs motivation and ability if they are to fully reap the benefits from their FSEs. The role of leader is not always effective in all situations. FSEs with high level of enjoyment of work and customer service ability would least rely on the guidance and support from the supervisors. Originality/value: This research is one of the first to examine the role of subordinate’s characteristics (motivation – enjoyment of work and driven to work and ability – customer service ability) as the key moderators in the relationship between TFL and employee service performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-751
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Service Theory and Practice
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Customer service ability
  • Employee service performance
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Substitute for leadership
  • Work motivation

Cite this

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Does transformational leadership always matter in frontline service roles? / Sok, Keo Mony; Sok, Phyra; Snell, Lan; Qiu, Pingping.

In: Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 28, No. 6, 12.11.2018, p. 733-751.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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