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Customer incivil behavior and employee retaliation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Saurabh BhattacharyaORCiD


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Drawing on affective event theory, we examined a moderated mediation relationship between customer incivility and employee retaliation. Employee's anger mediates customer incivility’s influence on employee retaliation, and employee's promotion and prevention regulatory focus moderates this relationship. We tested the hypotheses using data from 459 hospitality industry employee responses. Data was collected using Amazon’s MTurk. The study results suggest that employee anger mediates the customer incivility and employee retaliation relationship. Further, the employee’s regulatory focus (namely promotion and preventive regulatory focus) moderates this mediated relationship. Specifically, employee promotion regulatory focus positively moderates the relationship between customer incivility and employee anger, while prevention regulatory focus negatively moderates the relationship. Based on our novel findings, hospitality and other service-oriented organizations can benefit by understanding the significance of employee’s regulatory focus and their anger in managing the response to customer incivility.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Agnihotri A, Bhattacharya S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

Year: 2022

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 442-464

Print publication date: 10/08/2022

Online publication date: 28/03/2022

Acceptance date: 05/03/2022

Date deposited: 16/08/2022

ISSN (print): 1756-669X

ISSN (electronic): 1756-6703

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/IJQSS-09-2021-0137


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