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The Effects of Perceived Management

Concern for Frontline Employees and


Customers on Turnover Intentions

Moderating Role of Employment Status

Aliosha Alexandrov
Emin Babakus
University of Memphis

Ugur Yavas
East Tennessee State University

This study develops and tests a turnover intentions Keywords: frontline employees; employment status; turnover
model, which examines the effects of frontline employees intentions; structural equation modeling
perceptions of management concern for employees and
customers on turnover intentions, mediated by job satis-
faction and affective organizational commitment. Using In an era of intense competitive pressures, service
this model as a framework, the authors explore the role of providers realize that creating and maintaining a loyal
employment status (full-time vs. part-time) as a modera- customer base is a key to their survival and success (e.g.,
tor of the aforementioned relationships. The results indi- Reichheld and Teal 1996). Accordingly, they design mul-
cate that perceived management concern for employees tipronged strategies to enhance customer satisfaction and
and customers has significant effects on employees loyalty. Service executives also recognize that no strategy
turnover intentions. Employment status moderates the aimed at retention of external customers can be
relationships between perceived management concern considered complete unless it includes programs for
for employees and affective organizational commitment, reaching and winning over internal customers (Schneider
perceived management concern for customers and job and White 2004).
satisfaction, and affective organizational commitment and To such executives, retention of satisfied and committed
turnover intentions. Implications of the findings are dis- employees (in particular, frontline service employees) is
cussed and future research avenues are offered. as important to business success as customer retention

Journal of Service Research, Volume 9, No. 4, May 2007 356-371


DOI: 10.1177/1094670507299378
2007 Sage Publications

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Alexandrov et al. / PERCEIVED MANAGEMENT CONCERN 357

(Baldrige National Quality Program 2005; Reichheld and cognitive appraisals of the managerial actions to enhance
Teal 1996). This is because employee turnover represents a the well-being of a retailers employees and customers.
substantial cost to companies both in tangible as well as in Likewise, we define job satisfaction as an affective state
intangible terms, seriously hinders efficient and effective resulting from ones evaluation of his or her job (Hartline
customer service, and undermines competitiveness. Indeed, and Ferrell 1996), and we view organizational commitment
according to one estimate, turnovers cost American compa- in terms of affective organizational commitment or the
nies around $5 trillion annually (cf. Frank, Finnegan, and strength of an employees emotional attachment to his or
Taylor 2004). Such costs, among others, include additional her organization (Meyer and Herschovitch 2001). We
staffing or overtime payments to alleviate shortages, the define turnover intentions as employees state of mind to
replacement of an experienced employee with an inexperi- leave an organization (Singh, Verbeke, and Rhoads 1996).
enced new hire, and consequently increased cost of ser- In the next section, we briefly describe Bagozzis
vice due to new staffs inexperience, disrupted service, (1992) attitude theory as a general theoretical framework
increased turnover among remaining staff who feel pres- to guide our conceptual model and develop the specific
sured and overworked, low morale, and damage to research hypotheses based on theoretical perspectives and
companys reputation (e.g., ACAS 1994; Hendrie 2004). empirical evidence from services management, marketing,
Furthermore, frontline service employees with high and psychology literatures. We follow this with discus-
turnover intentions not only provide poor service to cus- sions of the method and results of a large-scale empirical
tomers but also can seriously undermine service recovery study we undertook among frontline employees of a
so essential for customer retention (Tax and Brown 1998). national retail chain. We conclude with implications of the
Given the facts that turnovers are costly and frontline results and suggestions for further research.
employees play a critical role in customer retention
(Babakus et al. 2003; Tax and Brown 1998), several ques-
tions beg answers: (a) What managerial practices are crit- CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND
ical for reducing turnover among frontline service RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
employees? (b) What is the underlying process that moti-
vates frontline service employees to remain in their jobs? Bagozzi (1992) argues that self-regulating processes,
and (c) Should managerial employee retention/turnover which are embodied in distinct sequences of monitoring
reduction practices be tailored according to the employ- and evaluation, emotional reactions, and coping responses
ment status (full-time vs. part-time) of frontline service govern behavior. Under this conceptualization, an
employees? Against this background, in this study, we individual appraises various past, present, and future
develop and test a turnover intentions model grounded in outcomes, and these outcomes produce particular emotions
Bagozzis (1992) (appraisal emotional response and subsequently lead to various coping responses. For
behavior) attitude theory by considering two psychologi- instance, anticipating or experiencing a pleasant event leads
cal climate dimensions that characterize a retail service to satisfaction or joy, which in turn directs the individual to
environment (perceived management concern for take the necessary steps to attain that outcome. In other
employees and customers). We view these two psycho- words, cognitive evaluations of events, outcomes, and
logical climate dimensions as the drivers of employee situations precede affective reactions, and affective
turnover intentions, mediated by job satisfaction and responses influence an individuals intentions and behavior.
affective organizational commitment. We use the model Thus, cognition is the preeminent antecedent of affect,
as an overall theoretical platform to examine the moder- which consequently guides behavioral intentions and,
ating effect of employment status (full-time vs. part- ultimately, behavior (Lazarus 1982, 1984).
time) on the aforementioned relationships. To that end, we Figure 1 presents the conceptual model developed
formulate and test specific hypotheses by relying on the in this study based on Bagozzis (1992) framework.
precepts of the partial inclusion (Katz and Kahn 1978) and The underlying premise of the model is that frontline
social comparison (Festinger 1954; Kruglanski and employees cognitive assessments of psychological
Mayseless 1990) theories. climate (represented by managements concern for
In line with Forresters (2000) argument that employees and customers) result in such affective
management desires and good intentions do not mean responses as job satisfaction and affective organizational
much unless employees perceive them as such, we define commitment. Feelings of satisfaction and affective
management concern for employees and customers from commitment, in turn, influence employees turnover
employees perspective. Specifically, we adopt Burke, intentions. Hence, the model predicts that the influence
Borucki, and Hurleys (1992) conceptualization and define of psychological climate on turnover intentions is fully
these two psychological climate constructs as employees mediated by affective responses.

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358 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / May 2007

FIGURE 1
Research Model

Perceived Management Research Model

H1a
Concern for Job
Employees Satisfaction
(CE) (JS) H3 (-)
H1b (+)

Turnover
Intentions
H5 (+) (TI)

H2a (+)
H4 (-)
Concern for Affective
Customers Organizational
(CC) Commitment
(AOC)
H2b (+)

Moderator:
Employment Status
(full-time vs. part-time)

Control Variable: Tenure

Appraisal Emotional Response Behavior

NOTE: Moderator hypotheses (H6H9), which predict varying strengths of the relationships in the model, are not shown to keep the diagram simple.

Perceived Management Concern consumers, and keeping promises) with regard to


for Employees and Customers customers well-being are manifestations of the concern-
for-customers dimension of psychological climate. These
The terms perceived management concern for employees dimensions vary across individual employees (Borucki
and perceived management concern for customers were first and Burke 1999; Burke et al. 1992).1
introduced by Burke et al. (1992) to label the two critical The two-dimensional conceptualization of the
dimensions of psychological climate specifically within psychological climate for a retail service provides a
the context of retail services. Under their conceptualization, succinct picture of frontline employees idiosyncratic
the concern-for-employees dimension refers to frontline interpretations of their work environment in terms of what
employees cognitive appraisals of management behaviors is important to their own well-being as well as to the well-
and actions (e.g., teamwork, rewards and recognition, being of customers. This conceptualization is consistent
listening to employees, eliminating fear or intimidation, with the broader service climate research, where each
degree of walking the talk) as they relate to their own climate dimension refers to a particular situational
well-being. Such cognitive evaluations by employees are referent. In line with Schneiders (1975) compelling
manifestations of the concern-for-employees dimension of argument about the existence of various climates as
psychological climate. climates for something, perceptions of management
Similarly, employees cognitive assessments of concern for employees and customers collectively capture
management behaviors and actions (e.g., improving the underlying psychological climate in reference to two
customer support systems, offering high quality prod- critical stakeholders of a service organization (i.e.,
ucts and services, providing accurate information to employees and customers). These climate dimensions

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Alexandrov et al. / PERCEIVED MANAGEMENT CONCERN 359

emerge as molar descriptions of the service environment Job Satisfaction, Organizational


and they reflect employees understanding of what is Commitment, and Turnover Intentions
valued and emphasized by the organization (Schneider and
White 2004). Evidence from theoretical as well as empirical writ-
The immediate consequences of psychological climate ings indicates that turnover intentions represent a reliable
cognitions are affective (e.g., employee job satisfaction indicator of actual voluntary turnover and are heavily
and affective organizational commitment). Such affective influenced by job satisfaction and organizational com-
states influence employee behaviors that ultimately affect mitment (Allen, Shore, and Griffeth 2003; Cohen 1993;
customer satisfaction and loyalty. This proposition is Hom and Griffeth 1995). For instance, Hom and Griffeth
consistent with the customer linkage research pioneered (1995) maintain that employees decide to leave their
by Schneider and his colleagues (e.g., Schneider and organization when they become dissatisfied with their
White 2004) and the service profit chain model jobs and lose their commitment to the organization.
advocated by Heskett et al. (1994). Both frameworks Likewise, Meyer and Herschovitch (2001) argue that
emphasize that the nature of the task environment, as when employees are disaffected with their jobs, their
perceived by employees, has affective and behavioral desire to remain in their organization starts to erode. In
consequences, which in turn affect organizational fact, initial consequences of these negative affects, in the
outcomes. For instance, researchers argue that mana- form of low job satisfaction and organizational commit-
gement concern for employees and customers is a ment, are turnover cognitions. Research by Allen and
prerequisite for customer acquisition and retention (cf. Griffeth (2001), Allen et al. (2003), and Chiu and
Boshoff and Allen 2000; Sureshchandar, Rajendran, and Francesco (2003) shows that job satisfaction is a strong
Anantharaman 2002) and that unless management is fully predictor of turnover intentions. Elangovans (2001)
committed to both employees and customers, any extensive research shows that job satisfaction predicts
customer retention efforts are doomed to failure from the both commitment and turnover intentions, and commit-
start (Reichheld and Teal 1996; Schneider, White, and Paul ment predicts only turnover intentions. It is instructive to
1998). Furthermore, when employees perceive a lack of note that, according to Jaros et al. (1993) and Wasti
management concern for themselves and customers, this (2003), of all commitment types (e.g., affective, norma-
results in reduced job satisfaction and organizational tive, and continuance), affective organizational commit-
commitment (Borucki and Burke 1999; Parker et al. 2003). ment depicts the strongest negative relationship with
On the contrary, when employees perceive that turnover intentions.
management is genuinely concerned for their well-being Evidence also shows that job satisfaction and organi-
as well as the well-being of customers, they experience zational commitment are interrelated. On theoretical
higher levels of job satisfaction and exhibit stronger grounds, it is contended that job satisfaction precedes
commitment to their organization (Reichheld and Teal organizational commitment, which develops over time
1996; Rhoades, Eisenberger, and Armeli 2001; Schneider (Meyer and Herschovitch 2001). Paulin et al. (2006) add
et al. 1998). Such affective responses exert significant that job satisfaction is more volatile and can be easily
influences on organizationally valued employee behaviors affected by transitory events in the work environment,
including better customer service, effective service although such events may not cause changes in employ-
recovery, and reduced turnover intentions (e.g., Babakus et ees affective organizational commitment. Indeed,
al. 2003). Hence, frontline employees job satisfaction and research shows that as an antecedent, job satisfaction
affective organizational commitment play a critical exerts a significant positive effect on affective organiza-
mediating role between psychological climate and tional commitment (Babakus et al. 2003; Brashear,
employee and customer outcomes (Parker et al. 2003; Lepkowska-White, and Chelariu 2003; Brown and
Paulin, Ferguson, and Bergeron 2006). Thus, we advance Peterson 1993; Paulin et al. 2006; Singh et al. 1996).
the following hypotheses: Therefore, we posit the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: Perceived management concern for Hypothesis 3: Job satisfaction has a negative effect on
employees has a positive effect on frontline frontline employees turnover intentions.
employees (a) job satisfaction and (b) affective Hypothesis 4: Affective organizational commitment has
organizational commitment. a negative effect on frontline employees turnover
Hypothesis 2: Perceived management concern for intentions.
customers has a positive effect on frontline Hypothesis 5: Job satisfaction has a positive effect
employees (a) job satisfaction and (b) affective on frontline employees affective organizational
organizational commitment. commitment.

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360 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / May 2007

Employment Status as a Moderator The literature does not provide clear directions for
answering this critical question. However, two major theo-
To provide a more rigorous test of the theoretical link- retical frameworks provide useful guidelines for develop-
ages in our model and to explore if managers can benefit ing relevant propositions. These are partial inclusion (Katz
from differentiated employee retention practices, we and Kahn 1978) and social comparison (Festinger 1954;
examine the moderating role of employment status (full- Kruglanski and Mayseless 1990) theories. Partial inclusion
time vs. part-time). It should be noted that a plethora of theory focuses on individuals multiple roles in a variety of
past research has compared full-time versus part-time social systems and the degree to which individuals may be
employees in terms of their various work-related attitudes fully or partially included in these systems. According to
and behaviors including turnover intentions (Thorsteinson this theory, depending on the level of inclusion (full or par-
2003). However, such comparisons have been mostly tial), the importance attached to each role varies across
based on average scores (Stamper and Van Dyne 2001; social systems. In the context of organizational systems,
Steffy and Jones 1990). In this study, in line with Babin full-time employees who spend most of their time at work
and Boless (1998) and Boles, Wood, and Johnsons are expected to be fully integrated into the system. The
(2003) discussions in the context of another employee organizational system is then the primary social system in
background characteristic (gender), we argue that research which the full-time employee plays his or her most vital
on employment status should move from comparisons that role. In contrast, part-time employees are partially
are based on average scores to the role of employment included in this social system and, hence, they may feel
status as a moderator of the strength of the relationships that the work they do is not the most important role they
among various constructs in job attitudes and outcomes have. In fact, part-time employees may have other more
models. Examination of the strength of relationships important roles outside the organization, including part-
reveals the relative importance and consequences of man- time jobs in other firms. Empirical evidence shows that
agerial actions on various groups of frontline employees part-time employees feel excluded from the organization
that may not be captured by comparing average scores (Barker 1993), feel less a part of the organization (Miller
(Darden, McKee, and Hampton 1993). For instance, full- and Terborg 1979), and feel less involved in their jobs
time and part-time employees may demonstrate similar (Martin and Hafer 1995).
levels of job satisfaction, yet the effect of job satisfaction Based on partial inclusion theory, we argue that per-
on turnover intentions may be much more pronounced in ceived management concern for employees will have a
the case of full-time employees. more personal relevance and importance to full-time
Part-time employment is a growing phenomenon in employees job satisfaction and organizational commit-
the United States. Currently, about 37% of services jobs ment relative to part-time employees. Part-time employ-
are held by part-time workers (U.S. Department of Labor ees can also notice managerial actions, but their
2006). It is important that research suggests that part- appraisals of management concern for employees may
time employees might have different psychology at not be as central and elaborate as those of full-time
work (Peters, Jackofski, and Salter 1981). Thus, at a employees because part-time employees are partially
time when part-time employees make up a significant included in the organization and perceive themselves as
portion of the workforce, without sound evidence and outsiders (Stamper and Masterson 2002). In addition,
guidelines, managers run the risk of making wrong deci- constructs such as job satisfaction and affective organiza-
sions when managing their full-time versus part-time tional commitment may not have as unambiguous mean-
employees. On one hand, ignoring employment status ings in the minds of part-time employees (Connelly and
differences may create problems if there are differences. Gallagher 2004). Partial inclusion in the system and lack
On the other hand, an employment statussensitive of unambiguous meanings may weaken the effect of per-
approach may be even more problematic if there are no ceived management concern for employees on part-time
differences between employees. Thus, an understanding employees job satisfaction and affective organizational
of the presence (or absence) of differences between part- commitment. Therefore, we advance the following
time and full-time employees is crucial to managers in hypotheses:
determining if a dual or employment statusdifferentiated
approach is warranted in managing frontline employees.
In this regard, an important research question is, Hypothesis 6: The effects of perceived management
concern for employees on employees (a) job satis-
Does frontline service employees employment status faction and (b) affective organizational commit-
influence the strength and direction of the relation- ment will be weaker for part-time frontline
ships depicted in Figure 1? employees than for full-time frontline employees.

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Alexandrov et al. / PERCEIVED MANAGEMENT CONCERN 361

Partial inclusion theory also provides guidance for The standard of comparison for full-time employees job
understanding the potential differences between part- satisfaction is largely their job environment, where they
time and full-time employees with regard to the effect of spend a good portion of their waking hours. On the other
perceived management concern for customers on hand, this relationship for the part-timers is diluted due to
employees job satisfaction and affective organizational more frequent exposure to outside sources of social com-
commitment. Both part-time and full-time frontline parison (Darden et al. 1993). Furthermore, because part-
service employees play a critical role in connecting the time workers are less included in the organizational
organization to its customers. However, due to their par- system and spend less time there, they have less opportu-
tial inclusion in the organization, part-time employees nity to develop feelings of dissatisfaction (cf. Still 1983).
may feel like an outsider looking in and, hence, feel Therefore, we posit the following hypothesis:
closer and more empathetic to another group of outsiders,
customers. Full-time employees, on the other hand, may Hypothesis 8: The effect of job satisfaction on affective
feel more strongly about following established bureau- organizational commitment will be weaker for
cratic rules and procedures as an insider looking out part-time frontline employees than for full-time
and delicately try to balance their own self interests with frontline employees.
those of the organization and its customers. Such poten-
tial mental orientation differences between full-time and We propose that employment status also moderates
part-time employees can carry implications about how the effects of job satisfaction and affective organizational
each group appraises customer-related signals coming commitment on turnover intentions. According to partial
from management and how these signals influence their inclusion theory, the organization is the main social sys-
affective states. It is likely that when part-time employees tem for the full-time employees, whereas part-time
observe manifestations of management concern for cus- employees are more strongly included in other social
tomers, their affective reactions will be more elevated. systems (e.g., home, family, school, another job)
This is because part-time employees will appreciate and (Martin and Hafer 1995). These other social systems may
value management concern for customers (an outsider dominate a part-time employees turnover intentions
group like themselves) more. Therefore, we posit the fol- more so than his or her job satisfaction and affective
lowing hypothesis: commitment to the organization. Indeed, evidence shows
that changes in part-time employees commitments out-
Hypothesis 7: The effects of perceived management side of their work sphere play a much more important
concern for customers on employees (a) job sat- role in their turnover decisions (Tansky, Gallagher, and
isfaction and (b) affective organizational commit- Wetzel 1997). This suggests that the buffering effects of
ment will be stronger for part-time frontline job satisfaction and affective organizational commitment
employees than for full-time frontline employees. on turnover intentions will be significantly weaker
for part-time employees compared with their full-time
Social comparison theory suggests that individuals counterparts.
opinions and evaluations of themselves heavily depend In addition, part-time employees may decide to follow
on their reference groups. Full-time employees may use other employment options regardless of their job satis-
other full-time employees as a frame of reference in faction and attachment to the current organization.
making various affective judgments including job satis- Potential for full-time employment in the future, for
faction and affective organizational commitment. instance, may lead part-time employees to switch to
Similarly, part-time employees frame of reference will another job easily because the switching cost is much
be other part-time employees (Darden et al. 1993; lower for them, especially during periods of economic
Eberhardt and Moser 1995). However, part-time employ- boom and low unemployment (Hom and Kinicki 2001).
ees may have other jobs and activities that serve as In contrast, full-time employees will be more hesitant to
frames of reference for them, whereas full-time employ- switch jobs as they have more to lose (e.g., health care
ees may not have such additional comparison groups. As coverage, stock options). Hence, we advance the follow-
Darden et al. (1993) cogently argue, because of these dif- ing hypothesis:
ferences in frame of reference, one can expect a stronger
relationship between job satisfaction and organization Hypothesis 9: The effects of (a) job satisfaction and (b)
commitment for full-time employees compared with affective organizational commitment on employ-
part-timers. As they elaborate, the relationship between ees turnover intentions will be weaker for part-
these two affective states for the full-time employees is time frontline employees than for full-time
strengthened by the lack of outside sources of comparison. frontline employees.

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362 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / May 2007

Tenure as a Control Variable sample profile to the company records indicated that the
sample was representative of the population of frontline
Mounting evidence from the literature suggests that employees. That is, the sample distribution of gender and
organizational tenure influences job attitudes and turnover tenure across full-time and part-time respondents was not
intentions (Abbott, White, and Charles 2005; significantly different from their respective populations.
Van Breukelen, Van der Vlist, and Steensma 2004). For
instance, Steers (1977) strongly agues that tenure is the Measures
single best predictor of turnover because it represents an
employees past behavior and summarizes his or her rela- The questionnaire was designed jointly by a research
tionship with the organization. The attraction-selection- team made up of academics and a management team
attrition hypothesis (Schneider and Reichers 1983) headed by the HR vice president of the sponsoring firm. An
suggests that individuals are attracted to and selected by initial survey was developed based on an extensive litera-
organizations that satisfy their needs and goals. In those ture review, six focus group sessions with frontline employ-
cases where there is a good fit, we expect low levels of ees, and discussions with several managers (four store
attrition and, hence, longer tenure. In cases of mismatches, managers, three area supervisors, two district managers,
however, we should expect high attrition rates and, hence, and two regional VPs). These sessions were designed to
shorter tenure, provided that other job opportunities are gain qualitative insights about the current climate and iden-
readily available. Thus, tenure is expected to correlate with tify matters that were important for frontline employees.
climate perceptions, job satisfaction, organizational com- Rounds of review and discussions with the management
mitment, and turnover intentions. Therefore, in an effort to team led to substantial revision of the initial draft.
better delineate the relationships in the model, we include Multiple-item Likert-type instruments were used to
tenure as a control variable. measure the study constructs (see Table 1). Responses to
each item were elicited on a 5-point scale ranging from 1
(strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Burke et al.
METHOD (1992) provided empirical support for their two-dimen-
sional conceptualization of psychological climate using
Sample and Data Collection items from a proprietary survey, but they did not reveal
the contents of the items. Therefore, using their concep-
Data for this study were collected as part of a com- tualization, we initially operationalized management
prehensive employee and customer survey sponsored by concern for employees and management concern for cus-
a national retail chain. Store managers distributed 8,500 tomers with a set of nine items each. Of the resulting
questionnaires, with a cover letter from the company nine-item scales for each dimension, seven items were
CEO, to frontline employees in 1,200 stores across 25 adapted from the literature (Day and Bedeian 1991;
states that the retailer operates in. Store managers were Schneider et al. 1998) and two were suggested by the
instructed, by a letter from the company CEO, not to management. In measuring perceived concern for
pressure respondents in any way. Employees were employees, the items, XYZ management promotes
assured of confidentiality and allowed to respond to the teamwork throughout the company and praises
questionnaire anonymously during work hours by keying employees when they do something that really satisfies
in their responses electronically via the companys inter- customers were suggested by the management team.
nal e-mail system. Participation was totally voluntary. Likewise, in measuring perceived management concern
The responses were transferred into a data file at the cor- for customers, the items suggested by management were
porate office under the supervision of a member of the XYZ management helps to provide customer service
research team. After a 3-week period, 5,591 usable faster than in the past and looks for quality when
responses, for a response rate of 66%, were obtained. The selecting suppliers.
number of responses across the stores ranged from 1 to Job satisfaction was measured using a seven-item
20 with an average of 5 responses per store (there was no scale that tapped various aspects of a job as suggested by
response from 50 stores). About 63% of the respondents the literature (e.g., Hartline and Ferrell 1996), including
were full-time employees. Seventy-six percent of full- satisfaction with pay, coworkers, promotion opportuni-
time and 79% of part-time employees were male. The ties, and supervisors, and two items suggested by man-
average tenure was 2.1 years for full-time and 1.1 years agement (medical benefits and work schedules). Affective
for part-time employees. The relatively low average organizational commitment was measured via an eight-
tenure is a reflection of rapid growth (opening of new item scale adopted from Mowday, Steers and Porter
stores) experienced by the retailer. A comparison of the (1979), and a three-item scale adopted from Singh et al.

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Alexandrov et al. / PERCEIVED MANAGEMENT CONCERN 363

TABLE 1
Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Measurement Properties of the Scales
Scale Common Metric Standardized Loading t-Value

Perceived management concern for employeesa


1. Cares about the personal growth and achievements of each employee .74 62.2
2. Encourages the employees to do whatever it takes to do the job right .76 65.0
3. Listens to what employees have to say .77 66.3
4. Motivates employees without using fear and intimidation .75 64.6
5. Inspires employees to give excellent service to customers .79 69.1
6. Practices what they preach .77 66.5
7. Promotes teamwork throughout the company .79 69.9

Perceived management concern for customersb


1. Promotes high quality products and services .77 65.5
2. Is always improving its products and customer service .79 67.6
3. Has the customers best interest in mind .72 59.5
4. Provides accurate information to customers .63 49.8
5. Looks for quality when selecting parts suppliers .72 59.2
6. Lives up to the promises advertised to customers .69 56.8

Job satisfactionc
1. Coworkers .77 63.1
2. Store managers .75 60.9
3. Teamwork .79 65.5
4. Pay .53 39.6

Affective organizational commitmentd


1. I find that my values and this companys values are very similar .69 56.3
2. Im really glad that I chose to work for this company rather than for other companies .80 69.1
3. I really care about this companys future .71 58.0
4. I wouldnt hesitate to recommend this company as a good place to work .75 62.8
5. My work at this company gives me a sense of accomplishment .67 54.2

Turnover intentionse
1. I frequently think of quitting my job .83 55.9
2. I am thinking about leaving my company .85 57.0

NOTE: Model fit statistics for metric invariance test: X2509 = 3,811.19, root mean square error of approximation = .053, goodness-of-fit index = .94, normed
fit index = .98, non-normed fit index = .98, comparative fit index = .99. Item scores range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
a. Full-time (FT): = .90, average variance extracted (AVE) = .57, 2 = .06.49; part-time (PT): = .92, AVE = .61, 2 = .04.49.
b. FT: = .86, AVE = .51, 2 = .08-.45; PT: = .87, AVE = .54, 2 = .03-.52.
c. FT: = .78, AVE = .50, 2 = .12-.41; PT: = .81, AVE = .53, 2 = .08-.50.
d. FT: = .84, AVE = .53, 2 = .26-.49; PT: = .84, AVE = .53, 2 = .15-.52.
e. FT: = .83, AVE = .71, 2 = .06-.26; PT: = .82, AVE = .70, 2 = .03-.15.

(1996) was used to measure turnover intentions. Before of exploratory factor analyses using the total sample as
finalizing, the revised instrument was pilot tested in two well as full-time and part-time employee data separately.
stores with a total of 25 frontline employees. After com- The maximum likelihood exploratory factor analysis of
pleting the survey, respondents were briefed and their the 36 items designated to measure the five constructs in
comments were solicited. No changes were deemed nec- the model (i.e., perceived management concern for
essary as a result of the pilot test. During data collection, employees, perceived management concern for cus-
using respondent e-mail addresses as IDs, tenure and tomers, job satisfaction, affective organizational commit-
employment status (part-time vs. full-time) were ment, and turnover intentions), based on the total sample,
matched to survey responses. produced five factors with eigenvalues larger than 1. The
factors collectively accounted for 55% of the variance and
the oblique rotated results indicated that the majority of
RESULTS items loaded heavily on the expected factors. However,
two items in the perceived management concern for
Measurement Results employees scale and three items in the perceived manage-
ment concern for customers scale had significantly lower
The dimensionality, convergent, and discriminant loadings on their intended factor (some items had rela-
validity of the measures were initially assessed via a series tively high cross-loadings on other factors). Similarly,

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364 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / May 2007

three items each in job satisfaction and affective organi- As shown in Table 1, the reliability coefficients
zational commitment scales did not perform well (i.e., (coefficient alpha) were well above the .70 level sug-
factor loadings were below the cutoff value of .50). One gested by Nunnally (1978), ranging from .78 to .92. All
item in the TURNOVER INTENTIONS SCALE heavily factor loadings were significant (t-values > 2.00), sug-
loaded on a different factor. When the same analysis was gesting convergence of the indicators with the appropri-
repeated using full-time and part-time sample data sepa- ate underlying factors (Anderson and Gerbing 1988). The
rately, similar results emerged. In addition, item-to-total AVE by each underlying construct for both full-time and
correlations identified the same set of items as weak con- part-time employee samples was above .50, and none
tributors to their respective scales (corrected item-to-total of the shared variances (2) between pairs of constructs
correlations < .50). Therefore, these items were discarded was larger than the AVE by each construct (Fornell and
and the exploratory factor and reliability analyses were Larcker 1981). Collectively, these results show that the
repeated using the remaining 24 items. The results indi- measures are unidimensional, reliable, and exhibit con-
cated that all scale items loaded heavily on their respec- vergent and discriminant validity for both samples. The
tive underlying factors and none of the items showed a correlations, means, and standard deviations of all indi-
large cross-loading. These results were consistent across cators for both groups are presented in Table 2.
the subsamples and the total sample with slight differ-
ences in the magnitudes of the loading estimates.2 Tests of the Research Model
For each group, the remaining 24 items were sub- and Overall Hypotheses
jected to a confirmatory factor analysis with a five-factor
measurement model using the sample covariance matrix The overall viability of the proposed model in
as input to LISREL 8.51 (Jreskog and Srbom 1993). Figure 1 was first tested by using the total sample
The fit statistics indicated that the measurement models (combined full-time and part-time employees) data.
fit the data well for both groups (full-time employee sam- The sample covariance matrix of the observed vari-
ple: 2242 = 2,436.72, root mean square error of approxi- ables was used as input to LISREL 8.51 (Jreskog and
mation [RMSEA] = .053, goodness-of-fit index [GFI] = Srbom 1993). The initial results indicated that the
.94, normed fit index [NFI] = .98, non-normed fit index model fits the data well (2263 = 3,690.27, RMSEA =
[NNFI] = .98, comparative fit index [CFI] = .98, and part- .053, GFI = .94, NFI = .98, NNFI = .98, CFI = .99).
time employee sample: 2242 = 1,340.07, RMSEA = .050, However, modification indices suggested significant
GFI = .94, NFI = .99, NNFI = .99, CFI = .99). direct effects from perceived management concern for
Next, we examined measurement invariance following employees (CE) and for customers (CC) to turnover
the steps suggested by Hair et al. (2006). We first tested intentions. As presented in Table 3, these results that
the measurement model by simultaneously analyzing the include the direct effects of CE and CC on turnover inten-
sample covariance matrices of full-time and part-time tions indicate a better fit (2261 = 3,572.20, RMSEA = .053,
groups with no restrictions. This result (2485 = 3,777.08) GFI = .94, NFI = .98, NNFI = .98, CFI = .99). The model
served as the basis for testing measurement invariance. accounts for 47% of the variance in job satisfaction,
Second, we repeated the analysis with equality con- 61% in affective organizational commitment, and 26%
straints imposed only on factor loadings (2509 = in turnover intentions.
3,811.19). A 2 difference test at the .05 level between the A closer scrutiny of the path coefficients and t-values
base model (with no equality constraints) and the in Table 3 indicates that CE exerts significant positive
restricted model indicated no significant deterioration in influences on job satisfaction (1 = .41, t = 20.9) and
model fit. This result suggests that the measures exhibit affective organizational commitment (3 = .23, t = 12.4).
metric invariance across the two groups of frontline Hence, Hypotheses 1a and 1b are supported. Similarly,
employees. Third, we repeated the analysis with the addi- CC exerts significant positive influences on job satisfac-
tional constraint of equal covariance matrices across the tion (2 = .32, t = 16.3) and affective organizational com-
two groups (2519 = 3,871.54). The 2 difference test indi- mitment (4 = .38, t = 20.0), indicating that Hypotheses
cates a significant deterioration in model fit with the 2a and 2b are also supported by the data. Job satisfaction
additional constraint. This means that at least one of the shows a significant negative effect on turnover intentions
relationships among model variables will be significantly (6 = .08, t = 3.3), which provides support for
different between full-time and part-time employees, a Hypothesis 3. Consistent with Hypothesis 4, affective
requisite initial evidence for justifying the tests of organizational commitment has a significant negative
specific moderator hypotheses. Table 1 presents metric effect on turnover intentions (7 = .62, t = 20.7).
invariance results, the list of items making up each scale, Finally, the significant positive effect of job satisfaction on
scale reliabilities, average variance extracted (AVE), and affective organizational commitment (5 = .29, t = 16.1)
the range of shared variances (2). lends support to Hypothesis 5.

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TABLE 2
Correlations, Means, and Standard Deviations of the Observed Variables
CC1 CC2 CC3 CC4 CC5 CC6 CE1 CE2 CE3 CE4 CE5 CE6 CE7 AOC1 AOC2 AOC3 AOC4 AOC5 JS1 JS2 JS3 JS4 TI1 TI2 TEN

CC1 1.000 .679 .547 .467 .635 .530 .377 .406 .381 .365 .418 .368 .412 .421 .426 .393 .404 .369 .390 .363 .321 .394 .118 .116 .102
CC2 .640 1.000 .568 .474 .604 .535 .407 .452 .413 .402 .452 .428 .460 .431 .431 .411 .423 .367 .411 .402 .333 .429 .098 .125 .081
CC3 .489 .550 1.000 .540 .503 .559 .356 .439 .384 .374 .464 .428 .478 .409 .422 .373 .397 .357 .383 .399 .304 .405 .093 .122 .061
CC4 .454 .432 .492 1.000 .453 .504 .335 .421 .348 .338 .382 .363 .394 .362 .362 .366 .370 .319 .322 .334 .271 .366 .082 .101 .054
CC5 .614 .579 .456 .398 1.000 .489 .419 .420 .424 .377 .424 .409 .431 .373 .358 .355 .365 .322 .366 .358 .343 .390 .062 .086 .053
CC6 .492 .498 .547 .470 .444 1.000 .330 .442 .358 .355 .430 .415 .435 .396 .416 .357 .394 .323 .380 .393 .284 .411 .087 .115 .083
CE1 .332 .378 .364 .305 .373 .346 1.000 .553 .710 .588 .527 .536 .540 .372 .362 .340 .378 .375 .358 .374 .422 .410 .124 .144 .050
CE2 .334 .398 .415 .322 .331 .408 .548 1.000 .566 .567 .650 .605 .674 .371 .381 .379 .387 .374 .395 .403 .324 .434 .112 .123 .024
CE3 .337 .377 .375 .314 .381 .357 .680 .534 1.000 .649 .576 .611 .579 .373 .373 .341 .376 .370 .378 .413 .386 .417 .106 .115 .060
CE4 .334 .363 .352 .322 .347 .352 .592 .515 .655 1.000 .613 .586 .595 .364 .361 .316 .359 .354 .374 .408 .343 .388 .111 .106 .070
CE5 .366 .412 .434 .358 .350 .426 .525 .635 .535 .570 1.000 .664 .694 .392 .395 .381 .408 .402 .383 .423 .321 .420 .131 .122 .026
CE6 .357 .395 .421 .361 .332 .431 .513 .578 .546 .544 .642 1.000 .664 .406 .372 .354 .377 .371 .381 .422 .348 .420 .117 .121 .006
CE7 .344 .401 .399 .349 .338 .398 .544 .597 .568 .580 .638 .628 1.000 .397 .420 .387 .421 .384 .433 .458 .344 .483 .109 .129 .036
AOC1 .398 .408 .416 .366 .390 .400 .395 .350 .409 .389 .402 .390 .397 1.000 .567 .502 .483 .487 .360 .401 .324 .390 .154 .190 .071
AOC2 .380 .425 .375 .334 .350 .384 .394 .365 .394 .386 .392 .382 .392 .539 1.000 .540 .598 .532 .407 .425 .397 .440 .277 .283 .036
AOC3 .349 .390 .385 .341 .334 .396 .337 .369 .324 .332 .387 .372 .370 .517 .600 1.000 .523 .489 .362 .363 .301 .391 .195 .240 .006
AOC4 .378 .424 .393 .329 .354 .411 .404 .360 .397 .391 .391 .365 .388 .495 .632 .520 1.000 .496 .398 .426 .379 .407 .236 .260 .074
AOC5 .325 .366 .342 .307 .310 .365 .360 .344 .372 .361 .375 .351 .360 .461 .537 .475 .499 1.000 .364 .375 .340 .391 .218 .242 .057
JS1 .288 .291 .288 .267 .273 .310 .297 .282 .308 .310 .297 .282 .341 .294 .346 .296 .338 .314 1.000 .627 .387 .657 .163 .153 .094
JS2 .292 .318 .320 .278 .269 .348 .348 .298 .354 .350 .339 .330 .369 .317 .382 .300 .411 .355 .561 1.000 .413 .579 .194 .205 .102
JS3 .264 .287 .253 .195 .268 .240 .387 .301 .384 .349 .306 .302 .323 .288 .383 .251 .384 .318 .351 .386 1.000 .411 .154 .150 .055
JS4 .321 .351 .341 .296 .286 .343 .367 .336 .374 .376 .348 .342 .428 .335 .385 .306 .391 .353 .626 .561 .367 1.000 .185 .190 .103
TI1 .154 .171 .179 .113 .139 .192 .201 .158 .228 .198 .166 .168 .194 .254 .402 .286 .348 .254 .187 .250 .233 .234 1.000 .694 .090
TI2 .136 .165 .183 .094 .137 .173 .208 .169 .223 .178 .182 .177 .178 .239 .397 .299 .350 .291 .167 .241 .209 .200 .717 1.000 .023
TEN .143 .103 .102 .091 .137 .098 .118 .066 .125 .091 .069 .056 .070 .104 .094 .049 .117 .089 .130 .135 .137 .120 .105 .117 1.000

Full-time (n = 3,534)

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M 3.96 3.97 4.04 3.90 3.66 4.00 3.29 3.82 3.34 3.49 3.84 3.72 3.73 3.65 3.81 4.02 3.83 3.75 3.59 3.62 3.21 3.52 2.57 2.57 2.06
SD .807 .812 .845 .797 .933 .846 1.065 .905 1.063 1.032 .900 .959 .941 .950 .898 .815 .959 .900 .917 1.033 1.017 1.014 1.195 1.190 1.156

Part-time (n = 2,057)

M 4.04 4.00 4.09 3.96 3.75 4.10 3.35 3.81 3.43 3.57 3.85 3.72 3.80 3.70 3.84 3.88 3.91 3.77 3.77 3.85 3.30 3.74 2.53 2.57 1.00
SD .785 .794 .835 .818 .910 .802 1.035 .885 .982 .966 .885 .924 .886 .911 .864 .860 .921 .877 .911 .983 .995 .983 1.181 1.173 1.156

NOTE: Perceptual measures were recorded on a 5-point scale, where a higher number indicates a more favorable rating. CC = Perceived management concern for customers; CE = Perceived management concern for employ-
ees; AOC = Affective organizational commitment; JS = Job satisfaction; TI = Turnover intentions; TEN = Tenure. Above the diagonal are the correlations for full-time, and below the diagonal are the correlations for part-time
frontline employees.

365
366 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / May 2007

TABLE 3
Tests of Structural Model and Research Hypotheses
Combined Sample Two-Group Resultsa
Results (n = 5,591) (nFT = 3,534, nPT = 2,057)

Structural Model Common Metric R2


2
Parameter Standardized Estimate t-Value R Standardized Estimate t-Value (FT/PT)

(FT/PT) (FT/PT)
TEN CE (1)b .07 8.4 .01 .04 / .17 2.5 / 7.3 .01 / .03
TEN CC (2)b .12 5.0 .02 .09 / .24 5.0 / 10.4 .01 / .06
CE JS (1) .41 20.9 .41 / .42 16.7 / 13.9
CC JS (2)b .32 16.3 .29 / .36 10.6 / 12.0
TEN JS (3) .10 8.22 .47 .07 / .11 4.4 / 5.8 .42 / .56
CE AOC (3)b .23 12.4 .25 / .17 10.9 / 5.7
CC AOC (4) .38 20.0 .39 / .35 16.9 / 11.5
JS AOC (5) .29 16.1 .28 / .34 12.7 / 11.0
TEN AOC (4) .03 3.2 .61 .02 / .01 1.7 / .6 .61 / .63
JS TI (6) .08 3.3 .08 / .11 2.7 / .2.5
AOC TI (7)b .62 20.7 .66 / .53 18.3 / 10.8
CE TI (8)c .06 2.39 .05 / .08 1.69 / 2.0
CC TI (9)c .23 9.0 .23 / .24 7.2 / 5.4
TEN TI (5)b .05 3.5 .26 .04 / .15 2.09 / 6.2 .30 / .21
Total effects of:
CE on TI .19 8.4 .22 / .13 7.9 / 4.9
CC on TI .08 3.7 .10 / .05 3.6 / 1.9
Model fit statistics: 2 = 3,572.20, df = 261, RMSEA = .053, 2 = 4,758.16, df = 543, RMSEA = .055,
GFI = .94, NFI = .98, NNFI = .98, CFI = .99 GFI = .93, NFI = .98, NNFI = .98, CFI = .98

NOTE: Measurement parameter estimates were almost identical to the results from confirmatory factor analysis. Therefore, they are not presented in
this table. FT/PT = Full-time/part-time; CC = Perceived management concern for customers; CE = Perceived management concern for employees; JS
= Job satisfaction; AOC = Affective organizational commitment; TI = Turnover intentions; TEN = Tenure; RMSEA = root mean square error of approx-
imation; GFI = goodness-of-fit index; NFI = normed fit index; NNFI = non-normed fit index; CFI = comparative fit index.
a. Two-group simultaneous analysis with all structural model parameters set free across groups.
b. Significant difference between full-time and part-time frontline employees.
c. Not hypothesized.

The results further show that the control variable matrices as input to LISREL 8.51 (Jreskog and Srbom
(tenure) has significant negative effects on CE (1 = .07, 1993). Because metric invariance of the measures was
t = 8.4) and CC (2 = .12, t = 5.0) and job satisfaction established earlier, in testing the model, only the factor
(3 = .10, t = 8.22). However, tenure exerts small but loadings were constrained to be equal across groups (all
significant positive effects on affective organizational other parameters were freely estimated for each group).
commitment (4 = .03, t = 3.2) and turnover intentions As the model fit statistics and common metric standard-
(5 = .05, t = 3.5). ized estimates of the structural model parameters pre-
As shown in Table 3, although the direct effects of CE sented in Table 3 indicate, the model fits the two-group
and CC on turnover intentions are positive, their total data well (2543 = 4,758.16, RMSEA = .055, GFI = .93,
effects on turnover intentions remain negative and signif- NFI = .98, NNFI = .98, CFI = .98). These results served
icant. It should be noted that the total effect of CE on as the benchmark for testing each one of the moderator
turnover intentions (.19) is more than twice as strong as hypotheses (Hair et al. 2006).
the total effect of CC on turnover intentions (.08). We tested each moderator hypothesis by constrain-
ing the relevant structural parameters to be equal.
Tests of Moderator Hypotheses: For instance, to test the first moderator hypothesis,
Role of Employment Status Hypothesis 6a (the effect of CE on job satisfaction will be
weaker for part-time employees), we constrained this struc-
To test for the potential moderator role of employment tural parameter to be the same in both groups and conducted
status, the model in Figure 1 was tested simultaneously by a 2 difference test between the resulting value (2544 =
using full-time and part-time employee sample covariance 4,758.33) and the initial base value (2543 = 4,758.16). The

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Alexandrov et al. / PERCEIVED MANAGEMENT CONCERN 367

result indicates that the effect of CE on job satisfaction is the appraisal affect behavior framework as a viable
not significantly different across groups. As shown in theoretical lens for studying the effects of psychological
Table 3, the standardized estimates of 1 without the climate on organizationally valued affective and behav-
equality constraint are almost identical (.42 and .41 for ioral job outcomes. To our knowledge, this is the first
part-time and full-time groups, respectively). Hence, study that examines the effects of the two-dimensional
Hypothesis 6a is not supported by the data. Following the psychological climate construct on important job out-
same procedure and by examining the magnitudes of the comes in a retail service environment using the indi-
corresponding parameter estimates across the two vidual frontline employees as the unit of analysis. The
groups, we conclude that Hypotheses 6b, 7a, and 9b are overall predictions based on this framework are consis-
supported. That is, CC exerts significantly stronger posi- tent with the services marketing and management litera-
tive influence on the part-time employees job satisfac- ture. That is, management concern for employees and
tion (2PT = .36 vs. 2FT = .29), which supports Hypothesis customers (as appraised by frontline employees) signifi-
6b. In addition, CE exerts significantly weaker positive cantly increases employees job satisfaction and affective
influence on part-time employees affective commitment organizational commitment and indirectly reduces their
(3PT = .17 vs. 3FT = .25), supporting Hypothesis 7a. turnover intentions. However, the relative influences
Finally, affective commitment has a significantly weaker of these psychological climate dimensions vary. For
negative effect on part-time employees turnover inten- instance, job satisfaction is more strongly influenced by
tions (7PT = .53 vs. 7FT = .66), providing support for perceived management concern for employees, whereas
Hypothesis 9b. The model explains 30% of the variance affective organizational commitment is more heavily
in turnover intentions of the full-time and 21% of the influenced by perceived management concern for cus-
part-time employees. tomers. In addition, our findings indicate that although
As shown in Table 3, the direct effect of CE on turnover the total effects of perceived management concern for
intentions is barely significant for the part-time employees employees and customers on turnover intentions are both
(8PT = .08, t = 2.00) and not significant for the full-time negative (reduce turnover intentions), perceived manage-
group (8FT = .05, t = 1.69). However, the direct effect of ment concern for customers shows a strong positive
CC on turnover intentions is significant for both part-time direct effect on turnover intentions. Hence, contrary to
(9PT = .24, t = 5.4) and full-time (9FT = .23, t = 7.2) our expectations, job satisfaction and affective organiza-
groups. The total effects of CE on turnover intentions (.13 tional commitment do not fully mediate the effects of
for PT and .22 for FT) and total effects of CC on turnover psychological climate on turnover intentions. This unex-
intentions (.05 for PT and .10 for FT) are both negative. pected finding may have two alternative explanations.
Thus, the total effects for the full-time group are almost The first is the presence of a statistical suppression
twice as large as for the part-time group. Furthermore, an effect, which may result from the nature of the relation-
examination of total effects within each group reveals that ships among predictor variables relative to their relation-
CE has a much stronger total effect on turnover intentions ships with the criterion variable (Maassen and Bakker
compared with the total effects of CC. The results also 2001). However, this explanation should be ruled out as
show that, in the case of part-time employees, tenure we examined alternative models by excluding one vari-
shows significantly stronger negative effects on CE and able from the model at a time. In those analyses, the
CC but a stronger positive effect on turnover intentions. effects of psychological climate variables on turnover
intentions were negative and significant when the media-
tors were removed altogether. However, when job satis-
DISCUSSION faction and/or affective commitment were in the model as
mediators, the positive direct effect of management con-
We developed and tested a model to investigate the cern for customers on turnover intentions persisted in
effects of two critical dimensions of psychological cli- addition to its indirect negative effect. A second poten-
mate (perceived management concern for employees and tial explanation may lie in the influence of variables not
customers) on frontline employees turnover intentions included in our research model. Our conversations with
and examined their differential effects across full-time and managers, for instance, suggested that the relationship
part-time employees. Our model proved to be viable, and between perceived management concern for customers
all of the overall hypotheses and three of the seven and turnover intentions might be U-shaped. That is, the
specific hypotheses concerning the moderating role of relationship between perceived management concern for
employment status were supported. customers and turnover intentions might be consistently
Our study yields some insightful findings and makes negative for frontline employees who hold light or
several contributions. First, our findings lend credence to reasonable workloads. As the workload perceptions

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368 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / May 2007

increase, the slope turns positive. In other words, for and exhibit withdrawal cognitions, and this trend is
those employees who feel that they have excessive work- significantly more pronounced in the case of part-time
loads, perceived management concern for customers may frontline employees. The insights we gained from our
lead to increased turnover intentions. discussions with frontline employees during the course
Second, although statistically significant, the direct of the study may shed some light on these contradictory
influence of job satisfaction on turnover intentions is rela- findings. On one hand, several part-time employees indi-
tively small. Job satisfactions effect on turnover intentions cated that they became frustrated with time as their
is transmitted primarily through affective organizational expectations to work full-time did not materialize. On the
commitment. Hence, the primary mediated route from other hand, our discussions also revealed that a good
psychological climate to turnover intentions is through the number of both part-time and full-time employees
direct linkage between affective organizational commit- viewed their current jobs as dead end and short-term
ment and turnover intentions. These results receive support solutions and that they were always on the look out
from earlier findings (e.g., Griffeth, Hom, and Gaertner for greener pastures. Such sentiments are consistent
2000; Williams and Hazer 1986). with the relatively low average tenures of both groups.
Third, the results indicate that both partial inclusion and Finally, although our focus was not on scale develop-
social comparison theories provide viable guidance for ment, our study generated viable measures of the two
studying the effects of employment status. When the rela- critical dimensions of psychological climate on the basis
tionships in the model are examined from the viewpoint of of a theoretically coherent and highly practical opera-
full-time and part-time employees using these theoretical tionalization. Our measures meet stringent psychometric
perspectives, a number of interesting results emerge. As criteria and demonstrate that, although these two dimen-
hypothesized, based on partial inclusion theory, the effect sions are correlated, they are clearly distinguishable and
of perceived management concern for employees on affec- their relative effects on job outcomes vary.
tive organizational commitment is significantly weaker
and the effect of perceived management concern for cus- Managerial Implications
tomers on job satisfaction is significantly stronger for part-
time employees compared with full-time employees. In Given the crucial role employees attribute to manage-
addition, as predicted by the social comparison theory, the ment concern for employees and management concern
effect of affective organizational commitment on turnover for customers, managerial actions should consistently
intentions is significantly weaker for part-time employees. show concern for both stakeholder groups in the eyes
Although not all the moderator hypotheses we developed of frontline employees. Having mission and vision state-
using these theories received support, the findings are ments that emphasize employee and customer well-being
encouraging and suggest that the basic tenets of these the- do not mean much, and may even backfire, unless man-
ories can be used in further research to examine the mod- agement walks the talk and makes the necessary invest-
erating role of employment status. ments in frontline employees and customer service
Fourth, our control variable, tenure, showed significant delivery systems. The strong effects of both dimensions
negative effects on perceived management concern for of psychological climate on turnover intentions observed
employees, perceived management concern for customers, in this study and the fact that frontline employee turnover
and job satisfaction across the two groups of employees. In leads to customer turnover (Schneider and White 2004)
all cases, the effect for part-time employees was significantly suggest that improving the psychological climate is a
stronger than the effect for full-time employees. It appears managerial imperative. Such actions can include training
that whereas all frontline employees may develop some and empowering frontline employees and rewarding
skepticism about management and their jobs as a function of them in tangible and significant ways by clearly tying
tenure, this skepticism is significantly stronger for the part- rewards to customer service and satisfaction. Also, the
time group. Furthermore, tenure shows a significantly study result concerning the strong linkage between part-
stronger positive effect on part-time employees turnover time employees affective commitment and turnover
intentions. These results are contradictory to the attraction- intentions suggests that to enhance part-time employees
selection-attrition hypothesis (Schneider and Reichers 1983) affective commitment, management should increase ben-
and recent empirical evidence (Van Breukelen et al. 2004) efits and institute special programs to improve integra-
that people with longer tenure are expected to be more satis- tion of part-time employees into the organizations social
fied, committed, and comfortable with the psychological life. Indeed, efforts to increase part-time employees per-
climate and less inclined to leave their jobs. ceptions of insider status may pay off handsomely
These findings suggest that, with the passage of time, (Stamper and Masterson 2002). It should be remembered
both groups develop negative views about management that as part-time employees feel isolated, they become

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Alexandrov et al. / PERCEIVED MANAGEMENT CONCERN 369

significantly more negative about the organization, and completion of a particular project or to alleviate seasonal
such dysfunctional sentiments may also be transmitted demand pressures. Hence, for finer insights, further
to full-time employees, leading to additional undesirable research should focus on employment status as a moder-
consequences. ator with these distinctions in mind.
Our model explains a healthy portion of the variance It should be noted that possible psychological climate
in both part-time and full-time employees turnover variances emanating from the unique aspects of each
intentions. Yet, the portion that remains unaccounted for store (e.g., store size, store managers behaviors and
presents a formidable challenge for management. Thus, management style) may pose a limitation. Our focus in
management must identify and address additional factors this study was on the individual frontline employee as a
critical to employees turnover intentions. For instance, a unit of analysis. Thus, we did not differentiate between
promising starting point could be to identify the motives employees of small versus large stores and our psycho-
of part-time workers (e.g., working for economic vs. logical climate questions specifically referred to top man-
noneconomic reasons) and try to cater to each groups agement as opposed to store management. However,
needs. Finally, management should monitor changes in climate perceptions probably vary as a function of
employees perceptions of psychological climate on a employees appraisals of both top management and local
periodic basis. When conducted over time, such assess- management behaviors and store size. Hence, explana-
ments can provide early warning signs and can enable tion of various sources of psychological climate variance
management to take corrective actions before employee is a worthy topic for further research.
appraisals are reflected in their affective states and Finally, although psychometrically sound and highly
turnover intentions. Equally important, these measures of practical, our psychological climate measures can
frontline employees perceptions are also leading indica- encompass a broader domain and be defined as higher
tors of customers perceptions about the quality of order constructs (Burke et al. 1992). Thus, further refine-
services offered by the firm (Schneider and White 2004). ments in study constructs can potentially shed additional
In other words, it is important for astute service managers light on the linkages we investigated. Also, inclusion of
to ask their employees now if they want to know what other relevant constructs such as job contents, stress,
their customers will think of soon. work-family conflict, and alternative job opportunities
(Connelly and Gallagher 2004) and control variables
Limitations and Further Research Avenues (e.g., workload, marital status, number and age of depen-
dents) into future models could provide more pointed
It should be noted that although this study contributes insights about the effects of psychological climate on
to our knowledge base, it has limitations and viable turnover intentions and actual turnover.
prospects for further research remain. Our study was In conclusion, frontline employees appraisals of how
conducted among employees of one retail chain. management treats employees and customers have signifi-
This may delimit generalizations. Replications among cant consequences. At a time of a volatile service environ-
employees of different retailers and other service organi- ment where various forms of nonstandard employment
zations would be illuminating in cross-validating our practices continue to grow, the management of frontline
results. Another limitation of our study is the fact that employees will be a challenge. Hence, the issues such as
full-time versus part-time employment designations were the ones we addressed in our study should remain as a
based on information provided by the management. For research priority.
instance, we were not able to distinguish between volun-
tary and involuntary and between seasonal and continu-
ous employees. There is a broad array of employment NOTES
arrangements under the rubric of contingent work that
can affect the relationships investigated in this study 1. It should be noted that when the variability of climate perceptions
across individuals is low, they also reflect organizational climate
(Connelly and Gallagher 2004). For instance, a mature (Schneider and White 2004). For the purposes of our study, the individ-
married female employee may prefer part-time employ- ual (frontline retail employee) is the unit of theory and analysis because
ment in the morning shift because of children, a young our focus is on the affective and behavioral consequences of psycho-
logical climate.
student may work only during the summer or in the 2. A set of tables summarizing the results of exploratory factor
evening after school hours, whereas a retired individual analyses is available from the authors. We used relatively stringent cri-
may want to keep a part-time job for some extra income teria for retaining a scale item (i.e., factor loading > .50 and corrected
item-to-total correlation > .50) to prepare the scales for the examination
or to meet social interaction needs. Others may be of measurement invariance across part-time and full-time groups via
employed on a temporary and contractual basis for the confirmatory factor analysis.

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370 JOURNAL OF SERVICE RESEARCH / May 2007

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