The Relationship between Service Sector Employees' Job Satisfaction Levels and Customer Perceptions of Service Quality ------ An International Perspective

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Wang, Jiachen
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MSc in International Business
Dublin Business School
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Both general and marketing management share an interest in job satisfaction, a number of researches have been carried out on the concerns of job satisfactions and service quality. It seems obvious that satisfied employees will generate satisfied customers who will, as a consequence, be loyal. This link has been assumed by many academics (Hoffman, 1992; Brown and Peterson, 1993; Reichheld, 1996), but the evidence of the relationship is actually very limited at the moment. This research attempts to examine the relationship between service sector employees' job satisfaction and customer perceptions of service quality, it also attempts to investigate the relationship between service employee JS and customer loyalty; moreover, the cultural impacts on JS were also observed. Therefore, the objective of this study is to test and add values to previous studies in the area, particularly in international cultural aspects. The industry context is translation and interpretation service, which follows Hartline and Ferrell's (1996) investigation of the US hotel industry and Atkins et al (1996)'s research US hospital industry, but with more international elements. Extensive secondary research was conducted and a study of an established translation and interpreting company was held in primary research stage (As the researcher was undertaking a work placement in the studied company, which could be an advantage). A combination of qualitative research and survey research was used in this research with three research techniques applied, which are direct observations, questionnaire surveys, and in-depth interviews. The data were gathered, compiled and analysed using SPSS, and results received. Contrary to previous studies, the relationship between employee job satisfaction and customers' perception of service quality is not significant as assumed, although employee self efficacy does have a positive effect on CPSQ; however a strong relationship was found between JS and customer loyalty that JS has a positive effect both on customer repurchase intention and customer intention to recommend; moreover, findings also show that employees' diverse cultural backgrounds have great impacts on JS. To increase customer loyalty and thereby profitability, managers must find their ways to increase employees' self efficacy and job satisfaction, and reduce employees' role conflict and role ambiguity. This can be achieved by carrying out proper recruiting, training and rewarding programs and having a smooth communication system within a company; however, management commitment is the key for the above. Finally, recommendations are made for the studied company managers and suggestions are given for future research.