Service employee burnout and engagement: the moderating role of power distance orientation

Seigyoung Auh, Bulent Menguc, Stavroula Spyropoulou, Fatima Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Scopus citations


    Studies show that service employees are among the most disengaged in the workforce. To better understand service employees’ job engagement, this study broadens the scope of the job demands-resources (JD-R) model to include power distance orientation (PDO). The inclusion of PDO enriches the JD-R model by providing a key piece of information that has been missing in prior JD-R models: employees’ perceptions of the source of job demands (i.e., supervisors) or employees’ views of power and hierarchy within the organization. Study 1 uses a survey-based field study to show that employees with a high (compared to low) PDO feel more burnout due to supervisors when they are closely monitored by their supervisors. Study 1 further supports the finding that employees with high (compared to low) PDO feel less disengagement despite burnout due to supervisors. Study 2, using a lab experiment, and Study 3, relying on a survey-based field study, unveil why these effects were observed. Stress and job satisfaction emerge as mediators that explain the findings from Study 1. Implications of the role of PDO are discussed to improve the current understanding of how job engagement can improve customer service performance.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)726-745
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


    • Burnout due to supervisor
    • Job demands-resources model
    • Job engagement
    • Power distance orientation
    • Supervisor close monitoring
    • Supervisor customer service feedback

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Marketing


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