When and Why are Customer Oriented Service Workers Attracted to Service Organisations

Sharon O'Brien

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


    The research broadens the knowledge of the customer orientation (CO) research stream by identifying that autonomy influences attraction and pursuit intentions of customer oriented job seekers/workers vs. low CO workers. Under-pinned by job demands-resources theory (JD-R), the research advances an integrative framework proposing that specific job attributes attract customer oriented workers. It is accepted that numerous factors influence job seekers’ attitudes and behaviours, however, exploratory research (Study 1) indicates the particular importance of autonomy for such workers. This forms the basis for this study’s original contribution to knowledge. Using experimental methods, this research measures the effect of autonomy on two outcomes; organisational attraction (OA) and job pursuit intentions (JP) across two studies. Study 2 employs a factorial experiment with a between subjects design measuring the effect of autonomy on attitudinal and behavioural outcomes of customer oriented workers/job seekers. Study 3 utilises a 2 x 2 factorial design (with random assignment) and extends Study 2 by introducing a treatment variable proven to influence customer oriented workers: customer contact. Both studies demonstrate that autonomy has a stronger influence on outcomes for customer oriented job seekers. Study 3 reveals that organisational customer orientation plays a mediating role in the relationship between autonomy and the outcomes, with customer contact moderating the relationship. A significant and unexpected finding is that the high autonomy; low contact proposition has the strongest effect on OA and JP, challenging prior research. This counter-intuitive finding is partially explained by JD-R and the job demandcontrol model (JDC) which predict jobs lacking challenges but offering autonomy draw less energy from workers as autonomy offers more opportunities to execute a job in a self-fulfilling manner buffering workers from detrimental job demands. Theoretical insights include evidence of a symbiotic relationship between autonomy and CO for FLE workers. The findings inform JD-R, by using it in an attraction context and by investigating the nature of the causal relationship between resources and demands on job seekers’ attitudes and behaviours. From a practical perspective, the research presents new insights on the importance of autonomy in attracting and recruiting customer oriented workers, offering value to practitioners in marketing and management fields.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • O'Toole, Thomas, Supervisor
    • Whelan, Susan, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


    • Customer service, customer service employees


    Dive into the research topics of 'When and Why are Customer Oriented Service Workers Attracted to Service Organisations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this