Customer Mistreatment, Employee Health and Job Performance: Cognitive Rumination and Social Sharing as Mediating Mechanisms
Journal of Management, DOI: 10.1177/0149206314550995, 2014
23 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2015
Date Written: September 14
The current study examined employee outcomes associated with customer mistreatment, conceptualizing customer mistreatment as signaling failure regarding employees’ pursuit of task and social goals at work. We argue that employees make internal attributions when experiencing customer mistreatment and are likely to engage in rumination because of this perceived goal failure. The goal of this article was to test this conceptualization and examine the outcomes of customer mistreatment – induced rumination as well as emotional labor strategies as potential protective mechanisms against customer mistreatment. Findings from time-lagged data collected from 737 call-center customer representatives indicated that cognitive rumination mediated the relationship between customer mistreatment and supervisor-rated job performance, customer-directed sabotage, employee well-being, and emotional exhaustion. The second mediator, social sharing of negative events, mediated the relationship between customer mistreatment and emotional exhaustion only. As expected, cognitive rumination was positively related to customer sabotage and emotional exhaustion and negatively related to job performance and well-being. Social sharing of negative events was positively related to both well-being and emotional exhaustion. Finally, we found that deep acting, but not surface acting, buffered the effects of customer mistreatment on cognitive rumination and social sharing. Limitations, future research directions, and managerial implications are discussed.
Keywords: customer mistreatment, cognitive rumination, social rumination, social sharing of negative events, well-being, productivity, emotional exhaustion, sabotage
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation