Employee flow as an integrated and qualitative system: Impact on business-to-business service quality
Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Purpose: This article develops and tests the effect of a complete model of employee flow on business-to-business (B2B) customer service outcomes. Methodology: Employee flow in organizations refers to all inflows, outflows, and internal movements of staff, and is a crucial human resources area. However, research rarely deals with employee flow as a whole. Instead, studies generally limit themselves to individual employee flow aspects, such as employee turnover, and limit outcomes to internal organizational issues. This study employs hierarchical regression and structural equation to model the effect of an integrated and qualitative measure on B2B service quality through the INDSERV scale. Findings: Employee flow, especially net outflows, affects service quality perceptions through various mediated relationships. Employee flow affects outcome quality through potential and soft process quality and impacts hard process quality through potential quality. Relationship frequency, supply chain integration of the customer, and environmental characteristics are significant moderators. Research implications: The introduction of complete employee flow as a predictor variable is a research advance and can be extended to many research settings. Confirmation that INDSERV scales have an internal progression is new and informs future model building. Practical implications: Managers, especially in bigger and service-oriented companies, might employ integrated employee flow indices as a practical management metric. The tendency of B2B processes to separate client and customer staff (e.g., through technological bridges and call centers) is discouraged by the finding that employee flow affects outcomes partly through soft process, relational quality. Managers should attend to frequency and customer integration. Contribution: The use of integrated and qualitative employee flow models in modeling service outcomes, especially in B2B settings, is an original contribution, as is the hitherto untested progression within the subconstructs of the INDSERV B2B service quality scale. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.