Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Management Commitment and Employee Perceived Service Quality: The Mediating Role of Affective Commitment

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

Management Commitment and Employee Perceived Service Quality: The Mediating Role of Affective Commitment

Article excerpt

Introduction

Service companies have been striving to attract and retain valued customers to improve their bottom lines by delivering services of high quality. Undoubtedly loyal customers can drive business success; however, companies need to realize that they cannot build a solid loyal customer base without having loyal employees (Durkin, 2005). In the service industry, frontline employees are organizational representatives that directly interact with customers and perform the role of "boundary spanning" (Beony, 1996). The attitudes and behaviors of frontline employees influence customer perceptions of service quality (Bowen & Schneider, 1985), which in turn influences customers on future purchase decisions.

Retaining committed employees is pivotal in today's competitive environment (Alexandrov, Babakus, & Yavas, 2007), as committed employees work harder and perform better (e.g., Babakus, Yavas, Karatepe, & Avci, 2003; Meyer & Allen, 1997; Mowday, Porter, & Dubin, 1974). The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, for instance, has been achieving service excellence through successfully implementing its "Gold Standards," with both organizational commitment to employees and management commitment to service quality interwoven throughout its service culture. Studies have suggested that (service quality) programs are more likely to succeed if a strong management commitment is present (Reeves & Hoy, 1993; Rogers, Hunter, & Rogers, 1993). Furthermore, competitive service companies such as The Ritz-Carlton understand the importance of taking care of their employees' well-being. DeCotiis and Jenkins (1986) noted that employees develop organizational commitment over time through management concern for employee satisfaction and commitment to employee career development. The purpose of this study is to investigate the mediating role of affective commitment between management commitment to service quality, organizational commitment to employees and employee perceived service quality.

Literature Review and Development of Hypotheses

Affective Commitment

Organizational commitment is defined as "the relative strength of an individual's identification with and involvement in a particular organization" (Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982, p.27). It has sparked a widespread interest in the domain of organizational behavior (e.g., Brown, 1996; Fu, Bolander, & Jones, 2009; Grant, Dutton, & Rosso, 2008; Meyer & Allen, 1991; Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982; Porter & Crampon., 1976; Steers, 1977). Meyer and Allen (1991) further conceptualized organizational commitment as a multidimensional construct consisting of three components: affective, continuance, and normative commitment. The threecomponent model has received considerable attention from scholars and researchers ever since (e.g., Culpepper, 201 1; Eisenberger, Stinglhamber, Becker, Karagonlar, et al., 2010; Gardner, Wright, & Moynihan, 201 1; Jaros, Jermier, Koehler, & Sincich, 1993; Lings & Owen, 2007; Morin, Vandenberghe, Boudrias, Madore, et al., 201 1; Vandenberghe & Bentein, 2009).

Meyer and Allen (1991) noted that employees with continuance commitment need to stay with their organizations if the costs of leaving the organization are to be avoided. Some employees feel that they are obliged and ought to remain once normative commitment dominates. Affective commitment, defined as "the employee's emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organization" (Meyer & Allen, 1997, p. 67), is the type of organizational commitment to be most beneficial and the 'right kind' of commitment for an organization (Iverson & Buttigieg, 1999). Affective commitment has been positively related to work effort and performance (e.g., Bycio, Hackett, & Allen, 1995; Luchak & Gellatly, 2007; Vandenberghe, Bentein, & Stinglhamber, 2004), and negatively related to absenteeism, intention to leave, workplace stress, and turnover (e. …

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