The aim of this article-based thesis was to develop and test four structural models of the antecedents and outcomes of service climate on data collected from frontline employees, store managers, and customers nested in 70 stores of a South African retailer of home improvement products. The first article explored the extent to which frontline employees’ perceptions of six service-oriented high-performance work practices (SO-HPWPs) predict their work engagement and psychological service climate perceptions at an individual level of analysis. The results showed that service-oriented training predicted both psychological service climate and work engagement, while staffing and involvement also predicted service climate. The second article compared two rival store-level structural models of the interrelationships between service-oriented high performance work systems (SO-HPWS), collective work engagement, and service climate as predictors of frontline employees’ collective in-role and extra-role service performance. The findings supported the climate-centric model in which service climate functions as a direct antecedent of collective in-role and extra-role service performance. The third article tested an expanded store-level structural model in which SO-HPWS and collective work engagement predict service climate, which, in turn, predicts customer satisfaction and, ultimately, also store loyalty. This model fitted the data well, confirming that service climate is a key mediator that links internal organizational variables (i.e., SO-HPWSs and collective work engagement) to important customer responses (i.e., overall customer satisfaction and store loyalty). Surprisingly, the relationships between frontline employees’ collective in-role and extra-role service performance and customer satisfaction were not statistically significant. This may be due to a range restriction in the customer satisfaction ratings.
Thesis (PhD (Marketing Management))--University of Pretoria, 2021.