Talking to Internal Customers: Confusing or Stimulating? The Impact of Customer Contact Frequency on Management Accountant’s Role Stress and Innovative Behavior in the Presence of Superior’s Performance Feedback
29 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 15, 2011
It has been argued that modern business environments force management accountants to get into closer contact with managers, their internal customers (Byrne and Pierce, 2007; Hall, 2010). Some studies suggest positive consequences, including innovative endeavors that translate into better quality services. However, the positive effect of close customer contact might be paralyzed by subsequent role stress, as a role theory related strand of literature suggests. Our study argues that in such a setting frequent superior feedback may support positive outcomes. Results from the large-scale survey study (n=399) were obtained using variance-based structural equation modeling techniques (PLS) and yielded some unexpected findings. The positive relation between manager contact and service quality is partially mediated by inter-sender conflicts and innovative behaviors, but inter-sender conflicts are positively associated with innovative behaviors. Furthermore, frequent superior feedback as a moderator variable helps to mitigate inter-sender conflicts, yet, against our expectation, also reduces innovative efforts significantly. In total, the results indicate that when management accountants get into closer contact with customers, more frequent performance feedback by supervisors does not support a more positive relationship with higher quality services.
Keywords: management accountants, role conflict, innovation orientation, service quality, feedback
JEL Classification: M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation