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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 2/2022

02-01-2021 | Original Paper

The Role of Customer Perceived Ethicality in Explaining the Impact of Incivility Among Employees on Customer Unethical Behavior and Customer Citizenship Behavior

Authors: Yu-Shan Huang, Shuqin Wei, Tyson Ang

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 2/2022

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Abstract

Incivility among employees in frontline encounters is prevalent, but little is known about its impact on customers’ ethics-related perceptions and behaviors. Drawing upon the stimulus–organism–response paradigm, this study examines how witnessing incivility among employees can serve as a social atmospheric cue to influence customers’ perceived ethicality of an organization and their subsequent behaviors. According to our results, in response to employee-to-employee incivility witnessed during frontline encounters, customers perceive the uncivil employees’ organization to have a lower level of ethicality. In turn, customers engage more in unethical behavior (i.e., opportunistic behavior) and less in customer citizenship behavior (i.e., customer tolerance of employee-induced errors). We further demonstrate that the negative effect of uncivil employee-to-employee interactions on customers’ perception of the ethicality of an organization is amplified when customers have an a priori perception that the organization is competent. The findings hold theoretical and practical implications for the management of employee-to-employee incivility and unethical customer behavior during frontline encounters.
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Metadata
Title
The Role of Customer Perceived Ethicality in Explaining the Impact of Incivility Among Employees on Customer Unethical Behavior and Customer Citizenship Behavior
Authors
Yu-Shan Huang
Shuqin Wei
Tyson Ang
Publication date
02-01-2021
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 2/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-020-04698-9

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