ترکیب طرح های مدیریت منابع انسانی با خدمات مشتری: شواهد تجربی از شرکت های تولیدی چین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21088||2014||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7490 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 43, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 126–135
The existing operations management literature has extensively investigated the associations between customer satisfaction and firm performance. However, how to improve customer satisfaction through employee empowerment, service reward, and service training has rarely been investigated. In this research, we tied human resource and service operations management to each other and examined the relationships among employee empowerment, service reward, service training, employee satisfaction, customer service and customer satisfaction based on empirical study of 214 Chinese manufacturing companies. Using structural equation modeling, we found that both employee empowerment and service training have significant impacts on employee satisfaction and customer service, while service reward only has significant impact on customer service. We also found that both employee satisfaction and customer service have significant impact on customer satisfaction. However, the impact of employee satisfaction on customer service is insignificant. The findings suggest that employee empowerment, service reward and service training are important considerations for operations managers to boost employee satisfaction and customer service, which in turn improve customer satisfaction. We provide empirical evidence that employee empowerment, service reward and service training play significant roles in increasing customer satisfaction in the context of manufacturing businesses.
Due to the shrinking of product life cycles and increasing global competition, as well as volatile market dynamics, organizations have become more active in seeking ways of improving customer satisfaction to raise performance (Yee, Yeung, & Cheng, 2010). Service operations management (SOM) has emphasized providing excellent customer service as a means to improve customer satisfaction. In recent years, many manufacturing companies have made service transition a priority to maintain a long-term competitive advantage (Gebauer et al., 2011 and Jacob and Ulaga, 2008). Substantial research has also been devoted to such topics as innovating, managing and optimizing service systems, in order to enhance customer service and operational performance (e.g., Kumar & Telang, 2011). However, many firms have enthusiastically applied the operation-centric approach which focuses on the manufacturing process of optimization, sequencing and timing as an effective means for improving organizational performance, while the impact of human resource management (HRM) practices on operational systems has often been overlooked (Boudreau, Hopp, McClain, & Thomas, 2003). The importance of HRM practices such as employee empowerment, service reward and service training and their impacts on employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction have largely been neglected in the existing SOM literature (Boudreau, 2004). On the other hand, issues related to HRM have been widely investigated in the fields of organizational behavior (OB) and psychology for many decades. The pervasive interest in HRM among OB researchers and practitioners is grounded on the premise that HRM practices are closely related to the cognitive, attitudinal and behavioral aspects of employees which are crucial to organizational effectiveness, and the ultimate profitability and growth of the firm (Jun et al., 2006 and Yee et al., 2010). Therefore, a great number of researches have been calling for studies to examine HRM practices, particularly to what extent these practices influence customer service, customer satisfaction and organizational performance (e.g., Batt, 2002, Guest, 2011 and Rogg et al., 2001). Yet, for a long time, HRM and SOM remained as separate fields with very few studies looked at the integration of those two areas in the context of service industries (Boudreau et al., 2003). We believe that the impact of HRM practices on service operations cannot be ignored and is particularly essential for the manufacturing industry because manufacturing firms are increasingly evaluated not only by their products, but also by the quality of the services provided to their customers (Gebauer, Krempl, & Fleisch, 2008). For example, more and more manufacturing companies are offering various high value-added services, such as preventive maintenance, remote diagnosis and financial leasing to maximum customer value. In the process of service delivery, activities of service employees connect organizations to their customers (Yee, Yeung, & Cheng, 2008). Therefore, how to empower, motivate and train service employees to improve their satisfaction and to increase the service value provided to customers has become an important issue to be addressed. In this study, we attempt to investigate a fundamental question in SOM: Do employee empowerment, service reward and service training have significant impacts on customer satisfaction in manufacturing companies? If so, what are the possible relationships among employee empowerment, service reward, service training, employee satisfaction, customer service and customer satisfaction? We empirically examined these relationships through a survey of 214 manufacturing companies in China and the development of theory-based structural equations model.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this study, we developed and tested a theory-based model that depicts the associations among employee empowerment, service reward, service training, employee satisfaction, customer service and customer satisfaction in the context of Chinese manufacturing industries. The results obtained from this study show that employee empowerment is important for satisfying employees and delivering excellent services to customers. This highlighted the vital role plays by employee empowerment in eliciting customer satisfaction via enhancing the levels of employee satisfaction and customer service, especially in the setting of manufacturing businesses. The results are consistent with the findings of Snipes, Oswald, LaTour, and Armenakis (2005). Although perspectives from strategic operations management suggest that achieving employee satisfaction may be costly (Yee et al., 2008), we found that empowerment can be an alternative to satisfy employees with a low cost. Service reward is found to be significantly related to customer service but insignificant related to employee satisfaction. This finding is inconsistent with the study of Tymon et al. (2010) whereby the researchers indicated that service reward can contribute to employee satisfaction improvement. Our results show that service reward is not a good predictor for employee satisfaction, especially within manufacturing businesses in China. This may be attributed to three possible reasons. First, employee empowerment and service rewards are linked to motivation while training is linked to qualification or skills. The difference between empowerment and reward consists in the first typically being considered as providing intrinsic motivation and the latter extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation and qualification may be more important than extrinsic motivation for improving employee satisfaction. Second, rewards play different roles for employees with different attributes. Our findings show that empowerment and training, which involve more authority and self-growth, are more significant indicators than reward in leading to employee satisfaction. Third, one item measuring employee satisfaction (i.e. employees are satisfied with the salary of this company) was deleted after validity analysis. This could also contribute to the non-significant relationship between reward and employee satisfaction as financial stimulus is still one of the most useful ways to boost satisfaction particularly for employees in emerging markets such as China (Newman & Sheikh, 2012). However, service reward plays an important role in improving customer satisfaction through delivering superior customer services by employees. The remarkable impact of service reward on customer satisfaction found in this study validates the findings of Sun et al. (2012). The results indicate that service training has significant impacts on both employee satisfaction and customer service. These findings concurred with the assertions of Glaveli and Karassavidou (2011) and Wang, Lee, and Chen (2012) that well trained employees could contribute towards the levels of employee satisfaction and customer service. However, Chang et al. (2010) found a negative relationship between service training and employee satisfaction within the context of government. According to social exchange theory, service employees who are satisfied with their employing organizations will be committed to delivering services with higher levels of quality to customers (Yee et al., 2010). It seems quite logical to hypothesize that employee satisfaction has a positive impact on customer service. Surprisingly, the result of the sampled firms in this study does not support this argument. Two possible reasons are: (1) most Chinese manufacturing companies are still in their early stages of transforming from product to service, the importance of services has not been fully recognized by service employees and therefore, satisfied employees may not convert their satisfaction into high quality services. Thus, customer satisfaction may be improved by providing preeminent products other than high quality services; (2) another possible explanation may relate to the Chinese culture that values modesty and depresses self-boasting behaviors. In order to comply with such social virtues, satisfied employees may consciously constrain their expressions towards promoting the product and may use introverted communication styles in service encounters, which could to some extent inhibit the service quality they provided to customers. The results provide strong support for the assertion that employee satisfaction is an important determinant of customer satisfaction. The findings are consistent with the theory of emotional contagion that customers are likely to be influenced by emotions of service employees (Tsai & Huang, 2002). Similarly, anecdotal evidence from manufacturing companies, such as Shaanxi Heavy Duty Truck Company, where researchers found that an increase in employee satisfaction leads to a corresponding change in customer satisfaction. However, Yee et al. (2008) found that service partially mediates the relationship between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction while we only provide evidence for the direct effect in our study. Our findings bear some managerial implications for service operations management in manufacturing companies. Managers in manufacturing businesses often face a similar dilemma when initiating strategic actions to enhance customer satisfaction. Our results suggest that customer satisfaction emanates from satisfied employees and excellent customer service, which can be further enhanced by empowerment, reward and training. Organizations in manufacturing industries should exert effort on improving employee satisfaction and enhancing customer service, and satisfied employees and superior customer service will ensure customer satisfaction. Thus, employee satisfaction and customer service are important considerations for operations managers to boost customer satisfaction in manufacturing sectors. The findings also suggest that manufacturing companies should not be overly concerned about the on-going costs for sustaining employee satisfaction and delivering excellent service in the long run. However, in practice, the costs of improving employee satisfaction and service level are often the first area to receive cuts when firms are trying to tighten their belts financially. Our research findings, together with previous evidence, suggest a re-consideration of such strategy (Oliva and Sterman, 2001 and Yee et al., 2008). Our research highlights the issue of emotional contagion in manufacturing industries. This suggests the need for service managers to maintain a pleasurable and harmonious atmosphere by for service encounters. Employee empowerment and service training are essential factors for service managers to improve employee satisfaction, and then satisfied employees will transfer positive emotions to customers. In particular, research has shown that manufacturing companies are experiencing a transition from product to service (Gebauer et al., 2011 and Jacob and Ulaga, 2008). In such circumstances, customer contact time is likely to increase and emotional contagion is becoming more important for achieving desired outcomes. Further examination indicates that the relationship between employee empowerment and employee satisfaction is stronger than the relationship between service training and employee satisfaction (p < 0.05). Thus, managers should pay more attention to employee empowerment. Our study provides opportunities for future research in the interface of SOM and HRM. First, we investigate the relationship between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction in this study. However, emotional commitment of employees is likely to mediate this relationship. For future research, we believe that it would be interesting to find out how the association between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction can be mediated by other factors. For example, would a lack of employee satisfaction impede emotional commitment, hindering customer satisfaction? Second, further research can explore the impacts of contingency variables on the hypothesized relationships, such as switching cost, environmental uncertainty and organizational learning. We hope this research provides an impetus to SOM researchers to critically examine the relationships between HRM practices and operational performance. We also hope that further research will seek to move beyond the demonstration of main effects to an investigation of how and why HRM practices are related to operational performance under different operating contexts. Third, we rely upon the employee report of customer satisfaction. Since there could be a self confirmation bias, i.e., ‘I'm happy, the customer must be happy’, self-generated validity will be created and thus inflated associations between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction (Feldman and Lynch, 1988 and Podsakoff and Organ, 1986). In future, we can attempt to blend in data from customers in an effort to validate the findings.