Effects of frontline employee role overload on customer responses and sales performance: Moderator and mediators

Subhash Jha, M. S. Balaji, Ugur Yavas, Emin Babakus

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Using the basic framework of the service profit chain, this study aims to develop an integrated model that explains the relationships among role overload (RO), customer orientation (CO), service interaction quality (IQ), customer satisfaction (CS) and sales performance. Design/methodology/approach: A large-scale survey of 872 customers and 530 frontline employees across 50 branches of a major retail bank in New Zealand serves as the study setting. Findings: The results indicate that RO has a significant negative effect on IQ. Nevertheless, CO mitigates the negative outcome of RO on IQ. IQ fully mediates the relationship between RO and CS. Additionally, the effect of IQ on branch sales is fully mediated by CS. Research limitations/implications: The cross-sectional nature of the current survey does not permit causal inferences. Thus, future studies should adopt longitudinal designs. Also, future studies should explore the roles of other variables (e.g. job crafting, work-related self-efficacy) as possible moderators. Practical implications: Results suggest that service managers should create a balance between the role requirements and organizational resources to mitigate the adverse effects of employee RO. To enhance IQ and CS, bank managers should coach employees about work overload and train them in CO while prioritizing the tasks. Originality/value: Empirical research pertaining to employee–customer interaction through a nested framework accommodating data from customers, employees and firm performance is scarce. This study fills in the void.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-303
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Customer orientation
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Interaction quality
  • Role overload
  • Sales performance
  • Service profit chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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