Today, the services sector accounts for over 70 per cent of employment and activity in OECD countries (OECD, 2009) with the Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland (2010) reporting that almost two-thirds of the Irish workforce is employed directly in the services sector. Within service industries, service workers are central to the service delivery and their performance, inextricably linked to the performance of the service organisation (Grizzle et al., 2009). Prior research has demonstrated that customer orientation, “an employee’s tendency or predisposition to meet customer needs in an on the-job context” (Brown et al., 2002) is positively related to job satisfaction, organisational commitment, organisational citizenship behaviours (Donavan et al., 2004), performance (Brown et al., 2002) and organisation profitability (Grizzle et al., 2009). Given the importance of customer orientation to service organisations, it is surprising that existing literature has not to date investigated when customer oriented service workers are more or less likely to be attracted to service companies in the first instance. This project therefore aims to investigate why and under what conditions potential employees are more likely to be attracted to service organisations using a mixed method, multi-stage research design. Based on a review of the literature, in stage one, a series of focus groups and in-depth interviews with potential job applicants and managers involved in the recruitment of customer facing employees were undertaken to assess the salience of and gain further insight into the factors identified in the literature review thought to increase applications from customer oriented individuals. Factors identified were; an individual’s level of customer orientation (ICO), an organisation’s level of customer orientation (OCO), person-job fit (JF) and the amount of time spent in contact (CT) with customers. In stage two, an experimental research design was used to investigate the factors identified in stage one and to examine under what boundary conditions potential job applicants high in customer orientation are more or less likely to be attracted to service organisations. Findings demonstrate that individuals high in customer orientation have more favourable behavioural (acceptance of a lower salary, provision of an email address to receive further information about the company) and attitudinal intentions towards a service organisation (job pursuit intentions, perceptions of organisational attractiveness, interest in a job role with the company, interest in a career with the company); when there is (a) a high level of perceived organisation customer orientation, (b) where job fit is primed and (c) where employees are expected to spend a large proportion of time directly in contact with customers. This study contributes to our knowledge of why and when customer oriented workers are more or less likely to be attracted to service companies. It also has important implications for managers hopeful that potential employees low in customer orientation will screen themselves out for a potential customer facing role with the company; while individuals high in customer orientation will self select and proceed with an application to join the company, thus importantly helping managers to understand when customer oriented workers are best attracted to service companies.
|Publication status||Submitted - 2010|
- Customer service