Key drivers of frontline employee generation of ideas for customer service improvement

Cristiana R. Lages, Nigel F. Piercy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


Anchored in the service-dominant logic and service innovation literature, this study investigates the drivers of employee generation of ideas for service improvement (GISI). Employee GISI focuses on customer needs and providing the exact service wanted by customers. GISI should enhance competitive advantage and organizational success (cf. Berryet al.2006; Wang and Netemeyer 2004). Despite its importance, there is little research on the idea generation stage of the service development process (Chai, Zhang, and Tan 2005). This study contributes to the service field by providing the first empirical evaluation of the drivers of GISI. It also investigates a new explanatory determinant of reading of customer needs, namely, perceived organizational support (POS), and an outcome of POS, in the form of emotional exhaustion. Results show that the major driver of GISI is reading of customer needs by employees followed by affective organizational commitment and job satisfaction. This research provides several new and important insights for service management practice by suggesting that special care should be put into selecting and recruiting employees who have the ability to read customer needs. Additionally, organizations should invest in creating work environments that encourage and reward the flow of ideas for service improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-230
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Frontline employees
  • Generation of ideas for service improvement
  • Perceived organizational support
  • Reading of customer needs


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