Employee adaptive and proactive service recovery: a configurational perspective

Graca Miranda Silva*, Filipe Coelho, Cristiana R. Lages, Marta Reis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to investigate the configurations that drive employee service recovery. Rather than analyzing the net effects of individual antecedents of service recovery, which is the common approach in the literature, this study uses a configurational approach to investigate how five antecedents (customer service orientation, rewards, teamwork, empowerment and customer service training) combine to yield employee adaptive and proactive service recovery behaviors. Design/methodology/approach: The study collects responses from 90 frontline employees through an online survey. Building on configurational theory, the authors developed and empirically validated four research propositions by using a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis. Findings: Three equifinal configurations of managerial practices result in either employee proactive or adaptive service recovery behaviors. Two of these three configurations result in both adaptive and proactive behaviors. In addition, the findings show that two out of the three configurations that lead to proactive behavior in service recovery also lead to the simultaneous existence of proactive and adaptive behaviors in service recovery. None of the sufficient configurations require the presence of all managerial practices. These results underscore that managers do not have to act on every single managerial intervention area to promote service recovery. Research limitations/implications: The study advances the knowledge on the antecedents of employee behavior in service recovery by investigating how these antecedents combine to yield different recipes for developing either employee adaptive or proactive behavior in service recovery. Practical implications: The findings provide insights for managers into the different combinations of practices that can be used to develop employee proactive or adaptive behavior in service recovery. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that relies on a configurational approach to understand the combinations of managerial practices that result in employee proactive and adaptive behaviors in service recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1607
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Employee adaptive service recovery
  • Employee proactive service recovery
  • fsQCA
  • Qualitative comparative analysis


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