Frontline service employees' customer-related social stressors, emotional exhaustion, and service recovery performance: Customer orientation as a moderator

Taegoo Terry Kim, Soyon Paek, Chang Hwan Choi, Gyehee Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the structural relationships among customer-related social stressors (disproportionate customer expectation, ambiguous customer expectation, disliked customers, and customers' verbal aggression), emotional exhaustion, and service recovery performance, with customer orientation (CO) serving as a moderator between customer-related social stressors and emotional exhaustion as well as emotional exhaustion and service recovery performance. The study uses data collected from a survey of 1,014 frontline service employees in Korea's tourism service sectors. The results indicate that customer-related social stressors positively influence emotional exhaustion; emotional exhaustion negatively influences service recovery performance; and CO acts as a moderator. CO moderates both the effects of customer-related social stressors on emotional exhaustion and those of emotional exhaustion on service recovery performance, by weakening the effects for higher CO employees. This study contributes to both theory and practice by combining the four constructs of customer-related social stressors, emotional exhaustion, service recovery performance, and CO in addition to examining their relationships while focusing on customer-related factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-526
Number of pages24
JournalService Business
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Customer orientation
  • Customer-related social stressors
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Service recovery performance
  • Stressor-strain-outcome framework

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

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