The effect of customer participation on employee innovative behavior

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

The effect of customer participation on employee innovative behavior

 

Author: Li, Minglong
Title: The effect of customer participation on employee innovative behavior
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2016
Subject: Customer relations.
Organizational behavior.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: iv, 240 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2929095
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8777
Abstract: This study aims to investigate the influence of customer participation in services on the innovative behaviors of employees. These behaviors, relating to the generation and implementation of ideas, usually require support and resources from others, such as customers. Although previous studies have acknowledged the importance of customers in service innovation and investigated how their participation in product development teams can affect innovation performance, the effect of mandatory customer participation in services on employee innovative behavior has not been examined. This study attempts to address such gap by achieving the following research objectives. First, the study aims to develop a scale of perceived customer participation, as a precondition for the research question: how does customer participation influence employee innovative behavior. In addition, social exchange research indicates that more customer participation in services may lead to further customer-employee exchanges and a higher level of interpersonal trust between these parties. Trust has also been identified and examined as an innovation facilitator. Thus, this study proposes that interpersonal trust mediates the relationship between customer participation and employee innovative behavior. Another objective relates to the role of job complexity, which is associated with both customer participation and employee innovative behavior. Based on the previous literature, this study hypothesizes that job complexity moderates the customer participation-employee innovative behavior relationship.
Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to address the research question. The measurement scales of all constructs but "customer participation" were adopted from previous research, while the instrument of perceived customer participation was developed following the procedure suggested by Churchill (1979). The measurement items for customer participation were generated by referring to previous studies (25 items) and by summarizing the results of in-depth interviews with 12 customer-contact employees/managers in hotel restaurants (7 items). Next, a panel consisting of seven experts was formed to purify these items and improve content validity. Through this process, some measurement items were removed or rephrased and 18 items were retained. After that, a pilot study was conducted in Shenzhen to enhance the reliability, validity, and readability of the measurement scales. Based on the pilot data, the three dimensions of customer participation were identified (i.e., behavioral, information, and emotional participation) and the scale was purified (by removing three items). The high reliability and validity of employee innovative behavior and interpersonal trust were supported, and the measurement items of job complexity were also improved. These items were then used as the bases for the main survey. The main survey was performed in Beijing, and the data were analyzed using AMOS 20.0. The confirmatory factor analysis results showed a favorable fit of the measurement models to the data and indicated high reliability and validity of all measurement scales. Thus, the newly developed scale of customer participation was supported and other scales were confirmed. The structural equation modeling results indicate that, except behavioral participation, the information and emotional participation of customers significantly influence employee innovative behavior. Moreover, affective trust, but not cognitive trust mediates the relationship between customer information/emotional participation and employee innovative behavior. Job complexity also has a positive effect on employee innovative behavior. However, the moderating effect of job complexity in the relationship between customer participation and employee innovative behavior is not supported. These findings provide service firms with several implications in stimulating the innovative behaviors of their employees and managing customer participation effectively. This study also provides some theoretical contributions to innovation research and service marketing. The limitations and future directions of this study are also provided (in Chapter 6).

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