The Differential Impact of Interactions with Customers on Employee Well-being

Devasheesh Prakash Bhave, Singapore Management University
F. Halldórsson
E. Kim
A. Lefter

Abstract

We examine two different perspectives of interactions outside the organization: the work design perspective and the emotional labor perspective. The work design perspective suggests that interactions outside the organization have favorable outcomes for employees; on the other hand, the emotional labor perspective suggests that interactions outside the organization have aversive outcomes for employees. Grant and Parker (2009) highlighted this dichotomy between these two research streams and suggested avenues for reconciling findings. Drawing on their work, we examine these differential effects of interactions outside the organization within the context of a single study in a sample of employees across 70 occupations. Our results reveal that task significance and emotion regulation both mediate the relationship between interactions outside the organization and employee well-being. Additionally, we provide evidence that job-level impact is an influential moderator that shapes the strength of the mediated relationship; specifically, when job-level impact is high the positive relationship between interactions outside the organization and task significance is stronger but the relationship with emotion regulation is weaker. These findings aid in reconciling and extending findings from two different research streams and enhance our understanding of the role of customer service interactions.