Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Individual Difference and Job Performance: The Relationships among Personal Factors, Job Characteristics, Flow Experience, and Service Quality

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Individual Difference and Job Performance: The Relationships among Personal Factors, Job Characteristics, Flow Experience, and Service Quality

Article excerpt

In the June 24, 2002, issue of the United States-based BusinessWeek a top 100 ranking for information technology (IT) companies around the world was published. In the year's top 10 list, Asian companies dominated with 7 companies out of the 10 being Asian. South Korea's Samsung Electronics was at the top of the list, followed by Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc. ("Taiwan info-tech companies", 2002). In 2004, another IT top 100 ranking was conducted in which 15 Taiwan IT companies were included. Overall, Taiwan was ranked second worldwide (next to the United States and followed by Japan) in terms of the number of IT companies with outstanding shareholder return, revenue growth, return on equity, and total revenue ("The information technology 100", 2004). Clearly, Asia's IT powers are rising impressively, especially for companies from Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. According to the article in BusinessWeek (2004), Taiwanese companies are superefficient manufacturers, and thus are attractive options to which United States companies turn for production outsourcing when cost efficiency is paramount. The reasons being given for this were that Taiwanese IT companies have adopted innovative low-priced strategies with strong management performance.

The high worldwide demand for quality IT production has placed pressure on IT companies in Taiwan. The marketing trend is evolving into a service-dominant paradigm (Vargo & Lusch, 2004), so that, although Taiwanese IT companies have gained worldwide recognition for their superb manufacturing capability, these companies have had to reflect on their quality of services, in addition to their already excellent quality products, if they want to sustain competitiveness in the global market. Hays and Hill (2006) point out that service quality affects customer loyalty, and satisfaction, and business performance. Elmadag, Ellinger, and Franke (2008) identify service convenience, service experience, flawless service quality, and service process delivery capabilities as beneficial approaches for firms seeking to differentiate themselves to gain market competitiveness. In particular, the attitudes and behaviors of frontline service employees significantly affect the quality of service operations, as these employees are the face and voice of their organizations to customers.

A number of factors influencing the quality of service have been identified in past research including human resources management functions, such as training, coaching, and rewarding (Elmadag et al., 2008), job design and leadership (Ehrhart & Chung-Herrera, 2008), service delivery process (Gonzalez, Mueller, & Mack, 2008), quality improvement methodology such as problem-solving strategies (Su, Lin, & Chiang, 2008), information and technology (Lin, 2007), organizational service climate (Steinke, 2008), employee job satisfaction (Eklof & Selivanova, 2008), and personal factors such as gender (Luoh & Tsaur, 2007). From the perspective of service employees, it is evident that external and internal, tangible and intangible, factors are critical to service performance. However, with the focus in numerous previous studies having been on the external and tangible antecedents of quality service, there is currently no theoretical model that focuses on the internal and intangible elements that facilitate service (i.e., perception of job design, measured by the job characteristics model, and job enjoyment, measured by the theory of flow). The aim in the present research was to examine these internal and intangible elements of service quality in an empirical study.

Meditation was included as a personal factor since the technique of meditation is a national popularized activity in Taiwan because of the religious beliefs of Taiwanese people and the process and outcome of flow experience is similar to that of meditation. The relationship between flow and mediation experience has not been studied to date. …

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