Conflict-solving as a mediator between customer incivility and service performance

Seigyoung Auh, Bulent Menguc, Frauke Mattison Thompson, Aypar Uslu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The customer incivility literature has primarily focused on emotional exhaustion and burnout as emotion-focused mediators that channel the effect of customer incivility. Drawing on conservation of resources (COR) theory, the current research proposes a new problem-solving-focused mediator, namely, conflict-solving behavior. The authors test the mediating role of conflict-solving behavior between customer incivility and customer service performance while controlling for emotional exhaustion and employee incivility as parallel mediation mechanisms. The results from three studies provide strong support for a negative relationship between customer incivility and conflict-solving behavior and for conflict-solving behavior as a full mediator between customer incivility and customer service performance. Furthermore, the negative effect of customer incivility on conflict-solving behavior is mitigated when customer service employees are promotion-focused and as investment in customer relationship building increases. The findings extend the scope and generalizability of customer incivility research from the business-to-customer to the business-to-business context. Managerial implications for employee training and hiring as well as the importance of cultivating customer relationships as a buffer to dampen the effect of customer incivility are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalService Industries Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Customer incivility
  • conflict solving
  • conservation of resources
  • customer relationship
  • regulatory focus theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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