Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Customers less tolerant of employee rudeness than incompetence

Date:
July 22, 2010
Source:
University of Southern California
Summary:
Rude behavior among employees can negatively affect consumer perceptions -- even when the incivility isn't directed at the customer.

Rude behavior among employees can negatively affect consumer perceptions -- even when the incivility isn't directed at the customer, reveals new research from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

Across a range of industries, including restaurants, banks, government offices, retail stores and universities, consumers frequently report seeing employees behaving badly toward other employees, including derogatory comments or inappropriate gestures.

"These findings underscore the need for organizations to promote employee civility," said Deborah MacInnis, Professor of Business Administration at the USC Marshall School of Business and Vice Dean for Research and Strategy. "Training employees to treat one another well enhances the bottom line because of its impact on customer behavior."

Across four studies appearing the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, MacInnis and co-authors Christine Porath, former Assistant Professor of Management and Organization at USC Marshall and Assistant Professor of Management at Georgetown University, and Valerie Folkes, USC Associates Chair in Business Administration and Professor of Marketing at USC Marshall, examined how consumers witnessing acts of employee incivility may extend their experiences to more general feelings about the company.

They found that people witnessing employee incivility -- in this case, a store manager calling an employee an "idiot" -- were faster to jump to negative conclusions about the company than those who witnessed employee incompetence.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that customers turned against the company even in instances when the rude employee was trying to help the customer. In one of the studies, people who had to wait several minutes as an employee gossiped on the phone still formed negative impressions of the company when the employee was reprimanded rudely by another employee in front of them.

"Whereas one might anticipate that incivility directed at consumers has extremely negative effect, we show that consumers are also negatively affected when they are mere observers of incivility between employees," the authors write.

The authors suggest ways for corporations to promote employee civility: "Several methods include selecting for and training in civility, setting zero-tolerance expectations and reprimanding incivility before it festers."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christine Porath, Debbie MacInnis, Valerie Folkes. Witnessing Incivility among Employees: Effects on Consumer Anger and Negative Inferences about Companies. Journal of Consumer Research, 2010; 37 (2): 292 DOI: 10.1086/651565

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California. "Customers less tolerant of employee rudeness than incompetence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722161150.htm>.
University of Southern California. (2010, July 22). Customers less tolerant of employee rudeness than incompetence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722161150.htm
University of Southern California. "Customers less tolerant of employee rudeness than incompetence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722161150.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins