عدالت رویه ای، پیامدهای خدمات و اقلیم اخلاقی در رستوران
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1596||2008||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Hospitality Management, Volume 27, Issue 2, June 2008, Pages 276–283
The literature suggests that ethical climate may actually contribute to organizational success by enhancing employee performance. Ethical climate is considered to be highly relevant to the hospitality industry, since it enhances service-providers’ contact with customers. This study reinforces previous researches by exploring the relationships between ethical climate, service, and customer satisfaction in restaurants. We have also examined the relationship between ethical climate and the fair treatment of employees by an organization. The study was conducted in 20 restaurants, with 171 employees and 103 customers. Data were obtained from employees, customers, and “mystery shoppers”. As expected, ethical climate was found to be related to service performance which, in turn, was found to fully mediate the relationship of ethical climate with customer satisfaction. Ethical climate was also found to correlate positively with procedural justice. Our results indicate the benefits of the ethical message conveyed through consistent managerial practices in service organizations.
Climate is defined as employees’ shared perceptions of organizational policies, procedures and practices (Schneider and Reichers, 1983). Studies showing effects of organizational climate on service-providers’ performance and customer satisfaction suggest that organizational climate is highly relevant to the tourism and hospitality industries due to its reliance on face-to-face contact between service providers and customers (Davidson et al., 2001). Davidson et al. (2001) studied organizational climate in the hospitality industry by means of seven global-climate dimensions, namely: leader facilitation and support; professional and organizational esprit; conflict and ambiguity; regulations, organization, and pressure; job variety, challenge, and autonomy; job standards; and workgroup cooperation, friendliness, and warmth. Organizational global climate was found to be related to employees’ turnover intentions and perception of customer satisfaction in the hospitality industries (Manning et al., 2005), while customer satisfaction was related to the financial performance of hotels (Davidson et al., 2002). Organizational climate thus provides significant guidelines for service-providers’ behavior and the consequent customer-related outcomes. Schneider concluded that the concept of global climate is too amorphous and suggested that climate should be conceptualized as a facet-specific construct with particular referents or a strategic focus indicative of organizational goals (Schneider, 1975; Reichers and Schneider, 1990; Zohar, 1980). According to this view, climate cannot be measured with the seven dimensions relating to global perceptions of an organization, but with those relating to specific facets. Since then, the facet-specific climate concept has been widely implemented in climate research, see, e.g.: service climate (Schneider et al., 1998, Schneider et al., 2000 and Schneider et al., 2002); safety climate (Hofman and Stetzer, 1996; Zohar and Luria, 2004 and Zohar and Luria, 2005); innovation climate (Patterson et al., 2005; Anderson and West, 1998); and ethical climate (Victor and Cullen, 1988; Cullen et al., 2003). Although some studies have measured climate at the individual level, most of the recent facet-specific climate scales measured climate as a group-level variable (see e.g.: Schneider et al., 2002; Zohar and Luria, 2004 and Zohar and Luria, 2005). In the present study, we have adopted group-level analysis for measuring ethical climate. Organizational climate measures that focus on aggregated group-level data consist of: (a) level, i.e., climate's perceived importance to members of an organizational unit, measured by aggregating individual perceptions and using the mean to represent climate level per unit (Reichers and Schneider, 1990); and (b) strength, i.e., within-group variability of perceptions, quantified with measures such as intra-class correlation (ICC1, ICC2; James, 1982), within-group correlation (Rwg; James et al., 1984 and James et al., 1993) and standard deviation (Schneider et al., 2002). Aggregated measurement has recently been applied to ethical climate, and the most recent studies employ group-level theory and aggregation techniques (Schminke et al., 2005). The facet-specific climate of an organization is comprised of employees’ shared perceptions of what is important in that organization, acquired through experience on the job and their perceptions of the behaviors management expects and supports (Schneider and Bowen, 1995). The ethical climate exists when employees perceive that ethical behavior is important to the organization, and is distinguished from other climates in that it embodies “the prevailing perception of typical organizational practices and procedures that have ethical content” (Victor and Cullen, 1988, p. 101). Several authors (Babin et al., 2000; Weeks et al., 2004) have suggested that ethical climate is related to core service performance and outcomes because it affects perceived rightness or wrongness in the service environment. These perceptions are associated with such ethical standards as self-interest, abiding by just rules, and responsibility. For example, service providers may view treatment of customers in terms of priority of personal interests over potential detriment to others (Babin et al., 2000). Ethical behavior is evidently beneficial, since ethical businesses are more profitable than unethical ones (Weeks et al., 2004). Moreover, the business world has accepted the importance of ethical and lawful behavior, and the majority of Fortune 500 companies now have “ethics officers” (Donaldson, 2003). At the individual level, successful managers were found to be more ethical than unsuccessful managers (Posner and Schmidt, 1993). The present study examines the influence of ethical climate on service performance itself, as well as on customer satisfaction in restaurants, using a model in which employees’ service performance (behavior) mediates the relationships between ethical climate and organizational outcomes (customer satisfaction). We also examine the relationship of ethical climate with procedural justice—i.e., employees’ perceptions of the fairness of organizational decision-making processes. The following sections introduce literature concerning ethical climate in the service context, the notion of climate as a group-level variable, and the concept of procedural justice in the workplace. 1.1. Ethical climate in the service context The issue of ethical conduct is relevant to the role of service employees who participate in an exchange process that offers opportunities for taking advantage both of customers and of co-workers. Schwepker and Hartline (2005) suggest that customer-contact employees may behave unethically in order to cover their mistakes (e.g., concealing mistakes or errors in service delivery; or damage to customers’ possessions), or to increase business (overcharging, performing unnecessary services). The importance of ethical conduct in restaurants was illustrated by Walczak and Reuter (2004) who discuss the potentially dangerous effects of decisions made by kitchen managers and supervisors in regard to food safety. The authors maintained that kitchen managers and supervisors sometimes know that they may be placing customers’ health at risk and yet make decisions out of negligence, quest for profit, or willful violations of food safety codes, i.e., unethical motives. Restaurant servers may feel that customers are partly responsible for their bad behavior because they demand reasonably priced and rapidly prepared food. Others maintain that their behavior is in the restaurant's best interests, or that only a few people will be offended (Walczak and Reuter, 2004). Since such jobs are often performed without close supervision (Bowen and Lawler, 1995), organizational climate will significantly influence service-providers’ behavior (Schneider and Bowen, 1985). Several studies have found a relationship between ethical climate and various service-provider attitudes (Babin et al., 2000; Weeks et al., 2004; Schwepker and Hartline, 2005) and performance (Babin et al., 2000; Weeks et al., 2004). Facet-specific climate is related to role behavior (Zohar, 2000 and Zohar, 2003; Zohar and Luria, 2004 and Zohar and Luria, 2005). Zohar explained that facet-specific climate perception relates to “behavior-outcome expectations”. For example, in high level safety climates, employees assume that if they behave safely and carefully, they will benefit. In other words, as Schneider and Reichers (1983) suggested, climate indicates which behaviors will “pay off”. There are several reasons why ethical climate should affect service performance. Ethical climate consists of perceptions of trust, responsibility, and high moral standards regarding perceived rightness or wrongness in the service context, which should encourage the efficiency and effectiveness of service. For example, ethical climate may affect servers’ treatment of customers in terms of the priority of personal interests to the potential detriment of others ((Babin et al., 2000). Additionally, high levels of ethical climate that emphasize the importance of “doing the right thing”, are likely to be reflected in internal organizational processes (e.g., reward systems, hiring practices) that are consistent with correct behavior for internal and external customers alike, and thus determine service performance (Weeks et al., 2004). Lastly, perceptions of ethical climate are related to the perceived fairness of internal organizational procedures (Babin et al., 2000). Such perceptions have positive effects on employees’ personal commitment to service quality (Weeks et al., 2004) and to the organization, which again affects employee performance (Simons and Roberson, 2003; Weeks et al., 2004). In this study, we concentrated on ethical dilemmas which are inherent to service (see for example: Babin et al., 2000). Ethical climate can be expected to affect employees’ behavior during service encounters. Hypothesis 1. Organization-level ethical climate is positively related to service performance and customer satisfaction. Since service behavior affects customer satisfaction (Thomas et al., 2002), employees’ performance should mediate the relationship between ethical climate and service outcomes (i.e., customer satisfaction). This mediation model derives from the assumption that providing high quality service is related to ethical considerations because it affects the perceived rightness in the service context (Babin et al., 2000; Weeks et al., 2004), and is based on established positive relationships between quality of service and customer satisfaction (e.g., Burton et al., 2003; Griffith, 2001; Oliver, 1997; Rust and Oliver, 1994; Subramony et al., 2004; Tsai and Huang, 2002; Parasuraman et al., 1988). Hypothesis 2. Service performance mediates the relationship between organization-level ethical climate and customer satisfaction. 1.2. Procedural justice and ethical climate Organizational justice refers to employees’ perception of fairness in the workplace (Greenberg, 1990). Procedural justice refers to the perceived fairness of decision-making procedures in an organization (Lind and Tyler, 1988). Fair decisions are characteristic of formal decision-making that is representative, consistent, impartial, accurate and subject to appeal. In a study of hotel employees (Simons and Roberson, 2003), aggregated perceptions of procedural and interpersonal justice were found to be related to employees’ organizational commitment, turnover intentions and discretionary service behavior. Aggregated justice perceptions were also related to guests’ satisfaction with services. Thus, justice perceptions can be a significant motivating factor in regard to service. In addition to its effect on outcomes, procedural justice is related to ethical climate because by making fair decisions, managers serve as moral role models (Brown et al., 2005). Hypothesis 3. Perceived procedural justice is positively related to ethical climate. We have used a group-level approach to explore the interrelationships between procedural justice, climate, service, and customer satisfaction. To prevent common source errors and the resulting inflation of correlations among variables (Glick et al., 1986), data were collected from different sources. Ethical climate and procedural justice were measured by means of questionnaires administered to employees. Customer satisfaction was measured from responses to questionnaires administered to customers, and service was measured by means of “mystery shopper” observations. The postulated research model is presented in Fig. 1.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results show high levels of agreement among respondents regarding the importance of ethical behavior within each organization, and at the same time confirm significant differences between organizations. These results support recent studies (Cullen et al., 2003; Schminke et al., 2005) regarding organizational ethical climate. They also confirm that promoting ethical behavior corresponds to the fundamental goals of service performance and customer satisfaction (Weeks et al., 2004). In addition, results suggest that promoting ethical climate is related to employee performance, which is, in turn, perceived by customers and influences their satisfaction. Procedural justice was found to be positively related to ethical climate. These results support the notion that justice promoted by those in authority encourages moral perceptions and behaviors (Tyler, 2006). The results also suggest that moral role modeling (Weaver et al., 2005) should not be restricted to leaders, but could be extended to organizational procedures and climate. The relationship between ethical climate and customer satisfaction was found to be fully mediated by service-providers’ performance, and closer study of our data also revealed an interesting distinction between the dimensions of service performance. The factor analysis resulted in three behavioral factors: service process (e.g., escorting the customer to a table, presenting the menu, eye contact with the client); interpersonal behavior (e.g., smiling, patience, attentiveness, courtesy); and service aspects (cleanliness, food temperature). This factor of service aspects predominated in correlations with independent and dependent variables, correlating strongly with ethical climate (r=0.729, p<0.001) and with customer satisfaction level (r=0.599, p<0.001). The service process factor was significantly correlated only to the ethical climate independent variable (r=0.495, p<0.05), while the interpersonal behavior factor had only weak correlation with the customer satisfaction dependent variable (r=0.39, p<0.1). It seems that, in the context of food services, ethical climate relates to organizational reliability and affects customers’ wellbeing. Specifically, cleanliness has a direct effect on customers’ health, while serving food at the right temperature reflects reliability in “the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately” (Zeithaml et al., 1990, p. 26). Cleanliness is, obviously, not only influential in restaurants. Hoffman et al. (2003) reported that cleanliness issues were the primary type of service failure occurring in the 1370 critical incidents they collected. Harris and Sachau (2005) showed that the cleanliness of an apartment affects observers’ impressions of its inhabitant, and D’Astous (2000) found that unclean stores irritate both male and female shoppers. Results concerning the relationship of ethical climate with service performance are relevant to the outcome variable because ethical climate reflects the organizational situation in terms of universal values (Warren, 2003). Our results suggest that ethical climate also affects other aspects of service that have only indirect ethical implications in that they affect customers’ wellbeing. Furthermore, the wellbeing factor can be interpreted as reflecting the necessary (though insufficient) conditions for customer satisfaction. A clean restaurant and fresh food served at the right temperature may not guarantee satisfaction, but customers can hardly be expected to be satisfied if a restaurant is dirty, or stale food is served cold, even if the interpersonal aspects and the flow of the service are impeccable. 4.1. Limitations and future research The study is obviously limited by the cross-sectional design that makes it difficult to draw conclusions about causal links. Although the theoretical and empirical background of climate supports the notion that it affects outcomes, a different design is required to determine the direction of influence among the variables. This is especially true in regard to the relationship between procedural justice and ethical climate that may reflect a single source bias. Our research required the collection of data from multiple sources, and we were able to achieve full access to all the necessary data in 20 restaurants. A larger sample might improve the accuracy of measurements. Employees asked to report the behavior of supervisors were probably affected by their own positive or negative attitudes toward their supervisors, and possibly, in some cases, by apprehension. Their responses thus reflect these biases rather than the actual behavior of the supervisors. However, since we asked about actual supervisory behavior (e.g., not promoting dishonest employees) rather than employees’ impressions of the supervisor, we believe that the effect of this bias on the results was limited. The ethical-climate scale used in this study consisted of only six items with rather low reliability. It could be improved by expanding it to include more hypernorms (Warren, 2003) and moral principles. Similar studies should be conducted in other types of service organization. This is especially important in regard to the ethical dimension of service, which may differ from one organization to another, and is also relevant to non-service organizations such as factories or development centers. Future research could focus on the influence of ethical climate on quality, safety, productivity, and other factors. 4.2. Conclusions and implications Our results indicate that ethical climate improves both service performance and customer satisfaction. In this “service age” where excellent service is a “profit strategy” (Berry and Parasuraman, 1997), our findings suggest that ethical climate can be seen as an antecedent to quality service, serving both profitability and society's interests. Evidence of the benefits deriving from ethical climate is important because it may require more than a single campaign to promote a concept that requires consistent reinforcement and reaction to even minor ethical infringements. We believe that a body of knowledge connecting ethics to business success (Donaldson, 2003; Weeks et al., 2004) would encourage ethical management for organizational self-interest (improving performance, customer satisfaction, increasing profit) rather than for extrinsic or altruistic reasons (dictated by law, the good of the society). Intrinsic factors such as organizational self-interest may well be more effective in promoting ethical conduct than extrinsic factors. Ethical climate, consequent service performance and organizational outcomes can be improved by supervisory intervention aimed at changing managerial theories-in-use (Zohar and Luria, 2003). These interventions, like many other leadership development programs, are based on measurements and feedback provided to managers (McCauley et al., 1989). Data from different sources (observation, questionnaires, “mystery shopper” strategies, etc.) can influence a manager to change his/her approach to ethical issues. Such interventions provide leverage for improving employees’ performance in service organizations. Employees should be oriented to ethical behavior, even though it is not always glamorous or heroic. As our results show, ethical behavior is a basic element of service and consequently of customer satisfaction. Although customers may be unaware of their ethical expectations, fulfillment of those expectations is a necessary condition for their satisfaction. Whereas many service organizations emphasize the “spectacular” aspects of service, our results tend to encourage a “back to basics” approach that emphasizes simple but fundamental principles of interpersonal interaction.