Behavioural Consequences of Customer Perception on Emotional Labour among Airline Service Employees

Norzalita Abd Aziz, Bita Najafi, Ahmad Said Ibrahim Al-Shuaibi, Faridahwati Mohd Shamsudin


Managing employees’ acting or emotional labour strategies is crucial for service organizations to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, such as the airline industry which is seeing fierce competition. This study examined the role of such strategies in enhancing the service experience of customers, resulting in customer loyalty intention and subsequent engagement in positive word-of-mouth. Three-hundred sets of questionnaires were completed by airline passengers, who were approached at random, in Kuala Lumpur International Airport. A series of analyses was performed to determine the factors that significantly influence the airlines customers’ outcomes. The findings showed that perceived employee deep acting and perceived surface acting were significantly related to perceived customer orientation and perceived service quality, but in different directions. Perceived customer orientation and perceived service quality were observed to influence customer loyalty intention, which was found to affect significantly word-of-mouth. We also discovered the partial mediator of customer loyalty intention in both the relationships between perceived customer orientation, perceived service quality, and word-of-mouth. Our findings suggest the need for airline managers to devise relevant strategies in enhancing the appropriate emotional displays by employees during service encounters because they affect customers’ behavioral responses.

Keywords: Emotional Labour, Service Orientation, Service Quality,

JEL Classifications: J0

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