Individual Employees’ Service Failures and Customer Satisfaction with the Firm

Myoung-Jin CHAE

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Do close linkages among employees during service encounters always enhance customer satisfaction? Drawing on literature in social psychology, this research argues that under certain circumstances close linkages among employees undermine customer satisfaction. More specifically, this research explores a service failure context and shows that higher task interaction among employees during service encounters leads to higher perceived firm entitativity, resulting in an individual employee’s service failure being detrimental to customer satisfaction with the firm. Data and research methodology: A series of experiments using scenarios across different service contexts was used in order to test hypotheses. Data was collected via Amazon Mechanical Turk and the models were tested using Hayes PROCESS. Results: The results show that interactions among employees during service result in 1) lower satisfaction with the firm and 2) lower revisit intentions in the future when there is a service failure by an individual employee. Following the main effects analysis, mediation analysis shows that the effect of employee interaction on customer satisfaction with the firm and revisit intention is mediated by perceived firm entitativity. Implications: By examining contexts where employee interaction may be detrimental to firms, this research provides novel insights on how to manage communications among service employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Distribution Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Service Failure
  • Entitativity
  • Groupness
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Employee Interaction


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