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Performance Productivity And Quality Of Frontline Employees In Service Organizations

Jagdip Singh

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To understand mechanisms that govern the productivity and quality of frontline employees (FLEs), this study (1) provides a conceptual distinction between frontline productivity and quality, (2) proposes an extended role theory–based model for mapping the influence of key antecedents and consequences of FLE productivity and quality, and (3) examines the effects of coping resources—boss support and task control—in helping employees cope with the inherent productivity–quality tension in frontline jobs. Using data from 159 customer service and 147 bill collection representatives, the author examines proposed hypotheses through multiple-group path analysis. The results indicate support for the distinction between productivity and quality. Moreover, with increasing burnout levels, FLEs are found to maintain their productivity levels while their quality deteriorates directly. Relative to boss support, task control emerges as a more powerful resource in aiding FLEs in coping with role tension. Key implications for theory and practice regarding FLE management and effectiveness are discussed.