In the service industries, customer negative events towards a service provider, such as unreasonable demands or low-quality interpersonal treatment, might trigger service sabotage behaviours by the employee in response. Mitigating the problems associated with customer negative events is therefore an important issue for both practitioners and researchers. In the present study, we incorporate the perspectives of affective events theory into our research framework to clarify the mechanisms and boundary conditions of the customer negative event–service sabotage relationship in the context of face-to-face service. Specifically, we theorize and examine whether customer negative events lead to employee service sabotage through emotional reactions of the service worker (i.e. state hostility) and whether their personality traits (i.e. extraversion and neuroticism) and the work unit context (i.e. group affective tone) moderate this process. The sample was composed of 195 hairstylists and 61 managers from 61 hair salons in Taiwan. The results of hierarchical linear modelling showed that hairstylists' state hostility mediated the negative event–sabotage relationship. In addition, hairstylists' neuroticism and the affective tone of the unit moderated the relationship between negative events and state hostility, which in turn predicted service sabotage. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are also discussed.
Work & Stress : An International Journal of Work, Health & Organisations, 27(3),298-319