Title page for ETD etd-0122102-140841

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Polly, Lisa Michelle
URN etd-0122102-140841
Title Social Exchange and Customer Service: The Relationship between Perceived Organizational Support, Leader-Member Exchange, and Customer Service Behavior
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Irving M. Lane Committee Chair
Gary Greguras Committee Member
Jim Diefendorff Committee Member
Robert C. Mathews Committee Member
Bryant Hudson Dean's Representative
  • leader-member exchange
  • perceived organizational support
  • customer service
Date of Defense 2001-11-14
Availability unrestricted
As the economy continues to shift from the production of goods to the delivery of services, one way in which an organization might set itself apart from its competition is through the delivery of high quality customer service. Therefore, a critical question for organizations becomes how to elicit the appropriate level of service from its employees. The purpose of the current study was to propose and test a social exchange based model of customer service. Specifically, it was suggested that the quality of the organization-service employee and manager-service employee relationships would be related to employee customer service behavior through their impact on employee commitment and motivation. Surveys were sent to 348 employees and 945 customers of a large southeastern hospital. Completed surveys resulted in 107 data pairs that were subsequently submitted to structural equation modeling in order to test the proposed model. Results indicated support for several of the proposed relationships. In particular, perceived organizational support and leader member exchange were positively related to organizational and supervisory commitment respectively. Further, organizational commitment was positively related to motivation. Contrary to expectations, however, motivation was not related to perceptions of service quality and satisfaction. Possible explanations for this lack of a significant relationship include a restricted range in both the predictor and the criterion scores and the possibility that a third variable, such as service climate, may be constraining the motivation-performance relationship. Overall, these results suggest that organizations that wish to improve employee commitment and motivation should focus on improving the quality of the employee-supervisor and employee-organization relationships. Limitations, implications, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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