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 September 2, 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 September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
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