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The Influence of Customer’s Verbal Abuse on Turnover Intention and Job Burnout of Sales Service Staff—The Moderating Effect of Organizational Atmosphere and Psychological Capital

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DOI: 10.4236/psych.2018.910135    47 Downloads   106 Views  
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ABSTRACT

This study with subjects of 345 sales service personnel, examines the organization atmosphere and psychological capital in the customer’s verbal abuse and sales staff turnover intention and job burnout of the influence of the adjustment. It was found that: 1) verbal violation of the customer had a significant positive correlation with the tendency to resign and job burnout; 2) psychological capital has a negative moderating effect on the relationship between verbal abuse and turnover intention of sales staff; 3) organization atmosphere has negative moderating effect on the relationship between customer’s verbal violation and sales staff’s turnover intention and job burnout.

1. Introduction

In recent years, China’s economy has been growing at a remarkable speed, and the service industry, which accounts for the largest proportion of growth, has also spawned many industry slogans such as “customer is god” and even “customer is parent”. When serving customers, service staff should also be respected by customers, because the quality of service is determined by both of them (Ma & Dubé, 2011) . However, from the current perspective of economic market, service staff are often treated unfairly by customers when they serve customers (Harris & Reynolds, 2003) . This unfair behavior of the customers, which makes the service personnel to the quality of their service question, though they had try their best to learn, but still cannot get due respect, will waste most of their working time on unnecessary negative feelings, in the long run, will gradually lose working enthusiasm and motivation. Staff’s negative emotional tendency towards work is also controlled by their psychological capital to some extent (Harris & Harris, 2008) .

Psychological capital is a relatively active internal trait, which is significantly related to the process of psychological operation (Luthans & Youssef, 2004) , as well as a positive, digitized internal state (Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2007) . According to COR theory, people with high level of psychological capital can better mitigate the negative impact of negative events in work (Hobfoll, 1989) . Therefore, employees need to properly improve their psychological capital level and their coping ability in work and life. When facing the pressure in work, the employee can actively mobilize his inner rich psychological capital, so that he can eliminate the disturbing pressure caused by negative things and change his demission tendency. In the same way, he can also contribute to the stable and positive development of the enterprise. According to the COR theory, when the internal psychological resources of an individual are not sufficient to digest the pressure they are facing, external factors can also help employees to solve their negative emotions, thus reducing the probability of negative behaviors (Hobfoll, 1989) .

In this paper, we introduce organizational atmosphere to study its effects on employees’ negative emotions or negative behaviors. Organizational atmosphere is a factor which is produced by the constant interaction of individuals in a group and has a certain influence on all aspects of individuals. It affects the employee’s behavior of organizational management, such as support, system, etc., or emotional experience in organizational context, and can show the reasons for the employee’s behavior. Research shows that the harmonious organizational atmosphere can improve the work enthusiasm of the organization members, increase the work effort, and reduce the probability of job burnout and turnover intention (Tagiuri, 1968) .

Job burnout, also known as occupational exhaustion, refers to the staff’s enthusiasm for work, low level of effort and inner dissatisfaction under great work pressure, especially in the service industry with more interpersonal communication. According to the theory of COR, when employees are hurt by negative external behaviors, they will mobilize internal resources for emotional regulation. The success or failure of the emotional regulation mechanism, which is the main influencing factor of negative work emotion, is of great significance to the results of both positive and negative aspects of work (Brotheridge & Lee, 2002) .

The combination of career disorientation, avoidance of participation, intention to change work environment and possibility of change is called turnover intention (Mobley, Homer, & Hollingworth, 1978) . In recent years, with the rapid development of economy, the employee’s pressure is more and more big, the separation rate is rising, how to retain employees, how to reduce staff turnover rate for companies and enterprises and society is a pressing problem, this problem has also been scholars are interested in, but the service personnel to work associated factors of negative emotions too internalized company, such as organizational commitment and employee in the company growth (Cotton & Tuttle, 1986) , salary level, degree of distribution justice and, etc., thus ignored another important external factors: customer verbal abuse.

Customer verbal abuse is the main negative behavior of customers (Grandey, Dickter, & Sin, 2004; Wang et al., 2011) . It refers to the “low-quality” interpersonal communication behaviors from the service providers and the behaviors that are intentionally caused by the service providers, which may lead to negative behaviors of the service providers in the implementation process of the service (Bedi & Schat, 2007) . In current market, customer service personnel to the words of the unfair treatment often happen, because of the low as service personnel in the view of the social status as well as the customers’ mentality is mostly a “who is the god who spends” incorrect cognition, enabling customers to make some damage to the service personnel itself and even affect the quality of its service.

Customer’s negative behavior is directly related to employee’s negative behavior. Boyd has also confirmed that a certain amount of unfriendly behavior by customers may affect the self-concept of service staff, leading to their self-deprecation and even a decrease in their confidence (Boyd, 2002) . According to the COR theory, when employees cannot adjust their internal emotions in response to external pressures, their internal emotions will be unbalanced. As a result, emotions will be explicit and behaviors will be affected, which will lead to employees’ willingness to leave, job burnout and even behavior corresponding to them.

Based on this, we make a hypothesis:

H1: There is a significant positive correlation between the verbal abuse of customers and the turnover intention of employees.

H2: There is a significant positive correlation between customer verbal abuse and employee burnout.

The total internal capital of employees is called psychological capital. The most recognized concept is defined by Luthans, which includes four dimensions of self-efficacy, optimism, hope and resilience (Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2007) . Previous research from the psychological capital (Larson & Luthans, 2006) for organizational commitment and job satisfaction, knowledge sharing behavior, and citizens organization behavior (Zhong, 2007) and innovation performance to study the role of, our country at present, the research has confirmed that the psychological capital has a significant negative effect on job burnout and negative regulatory role and its employees with a negative attitude (e.g., quit intention, job burnout, etc.) and turnover intention has significant negative correlation (Ke & Sun, 2014) .

According to the theory of resource conservation, when an individual encounters external stimulation and feels pressure, the individual will mobilize internal psychological resources to mitigate or avoid adverse consequences caused by external stimulation. Therefore, when service personnel face comes from the customer’s verbal abuse or unfair behavior, its inner psychological capital transfer, to digest the negative influence to prevent interference for this work, high level of psychological capital individuals to negative emotions, such as better adjust the ability to overcome, in the same way, low level of psychological capital, individuals are more likely to fall into negative emotions produce reduce more work interest would have quit thoughts and into action.

Finally, we propose the hypothesis:

H3: Psychological capital has a negative moderating effect on the relationship between verbal abuse and turnover intention.

Organizational atmosphere is the sum of organizational elements that are interwoven by various factors in an organization and have an important influence on the emotion and behavior of employees in the organization. Tagiuri believes that the organizational atmosphere is measurable (Tagiuri, 1968) . When it is higher, internal members are more satisfied with their work and have more initiative, while their willingness and behavior related to resignation are reduced. The current research in China shows the correlation between organizational atmosphere and employee engagement and job satisfaction, as well as the definition and evaluation of organizational atmosphere. Organizational atmosphere includes six dimensions, and “labor relations atmosphere” is its name in labor relations.

Research shows that it negatively affects working attitude and leave tendency of staff (Dastmalchian, 2008) . Organizational atmosphere includes the sense of organizational support, which positively influences the words and deeds of workers. It can be seen that organizational atmosphere also has a common positive effect. This paper focuses on the sense of organizational support in the organizational atmosphere.

POS theory proposes that when employees feel the internal support from the organization, they will have positive emotions to the organization and increase their enthusiasm for work. According to the theory of resource conservation, individuals cannot cope with external negative energy internally, so they hope to resort to the external environment. In this case, if sufficient external support is obtained, a series of negative behaviors will be avoided, and positive emotions and behaviors such as friendliness to the organization will also be increased. Inference, organizational support is needed to provide individuals, it is beneficial to the negative emotions of the individual in working gradually improve as the positive emotions, so that the employee’s turnover intention and job burnout, caused by negative emotions also have disappeared, such as turnover intention, therefore, perceived organizational support for the positive emotion of employees.

Based on this, we propose the hypothesis:

H4: Organization atmosphere has negative moderating effect on the relationship between customer’s verbal violation and sales staff’s turnover intention and job burnout.

2. Method

2.1. Participants

Due to the fact that the object of this study has been designated as “sales staff”, there are certain limitations in the selection of the object of this study. Considering the frequency and severity of speech violations by customers, we chose FMCG sales staff with large customer flow and frequent contact with customers to issue, test, collect and sort out the questionnaire. In this study, 437 questionnaires were issued, invalid questionnaires were rejected, 345 effective questionnaires were counted, and the effective questionnaire rate was 78.9%. After further sorting and classifying the valid questionnaires collected, it can be obtained: 1) there were 109 valid questionnaires for male subjects, accounting for 31.6% of the total questionnaire; in addition, there were 236 valid questionnaires for female subjects, accounting for 68.4% of the total questionnaire; 2) the number of valid questionnaires with the wage level “below 3000” is 94, accounting for 27.3% of the total; The number of valid questionnaires “in 3000 - 4000” was 114, accounting for 33% of the total. There were 137 questionnaires with a salary level “above 4000”, representing 39.7% of the total.

2.2. Measures

The questionnaires used in this study were all based on questionnaires developed by western scholars or original templates, which were adapted by Chinese scholars according to specific national conditions, and then integrated and tested.

Verbal abuse. Customer speech violation refers to the “low-quality” interpersonal communication behaviors from the service providers as well as the behaviors intentionally caused by the service providers that may lead to negative behaviors of the service providers in the process of employees’ service implementation (Bedi & Schat, 2007) . At present, there is no mature and widely used scale to measure this variable in the academic circle. Therefore, we adopt the customer verbal abuse scale developed by Chinese scholars Li and Zhou based on the basic situation of China, which has a reliability coefficient of 0.953. 18 questions, including the dimensions of “internal injustice perception” and “external verbal abuse” with internal consistency coefficients of 0.891 and 0.934 respectively, include: “the customer takes out bad emotions on you”, “the customer has been arguing with you throughout the service” and “the customer does not understand some rules you must follow”. The study used the five-point scoring method of likert-5, which used the scale value of 1 - 5 to indicate the attitude of “never”, “rarely”, “sometimes”, “often” and “always” (Li & Zhou, 2013) .

Turnover intention. According to Mobely’s research, the combination of career disorientation, avoidance of participation, intention to change work environment and possibility of change is called turnover intention (Mobley, Homer, & Hollingworth, 1978) . The turnover intention scale is also used in this paper to measure this variable. Likert-5 points mean a gradual transition from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. At the same time, this scale is a one dimensional measurement tool with a coefficient of 0.78, including 5 questions such as “I want to leave this enterprise very much”.

Organizational atmosphere. Organizational atmosphere is the sum of organizational elements that are interwoven by various factors in an organization and have an important influence on the emotion and behavior of employees in the organization. Taking Chen relatively broad “four dimensions of perceived organizational support questionnaire” as the foundation, at the same time try to be the nature of the work is relatively independent and influence degree between small at the same level as the reference factors, on the questionnaire to colleagues support dimension, eventually formed the reliability coefficient is 0.966, the three dimension and the dimension of alpha coefficients are “superior support” (0.93), “instrumental support” (0.895) and the “emotional support” (0.951) of measuring tool. It includes 13 questions such as “the company will try its best to provide me with the training or relevant support for the work” and “the company CARES about my personal development”. The linkert-7 scoring method is adopted, and 1 - 7 points are respectively used to represent the actual situation of the subject and the situation described in the title to gradually transition from “completely inconsistent” to “completely consistent”.

Psychological capital. The total internal capital of employees is called psychological capital. The questionnaire scale adopted in this paper is also the widely used pcq-24 scale developed by Luthans et al., which is widely accepted in the academic circle with the coefficient of 0.956 in this study. The consensus coefficient of four dimensions of “self-efficacy”, “hope”, “resilience” and “optimism” are 0.932, 0.896, 0.83 and 0.868, respectively. The scale included 24 questions such as “there are many solutions to any problem” and “I can think of many ways to achieve my current work goal”, and adopted the linkert-6-point scoring method, and expressed the subjects’ attitude of “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” step by step.

Job burnout. Job burnout, also known as occupational exhaustion, refers to the staff’s enthusiasm for work, low level of effort and inner dissatisfaction under great work pressure, especially in the service industry with more interpersonal communication. Using the scale of this article is presently the most authoritative, the most widely used after the MBI-GS scale on the basis of Chinese scholars Li adapted according to China’s national conditions suitable for the group of subjects and with Chinese characteristics of job burnout scale, the alpha coefficient is 0.961, “emotional exhaustion”, “attitude” and “achievement” the alpha coefficient of three dimension were 0.915, 0.933 and 0.845 respectively. The questionnaire is an explanation by using the likert-7 scoring method, and the scores of 0 - 6 are respectively “never”, “rarely”, “occasionally”, “often”, “frequently”, “very frequently” and “everyday”. The topics include: “since I started this job, I have become less and less interested in work” and “work makes me feel tired” were 15 measurement questions.

2.3. Statistical Analysis

SPSS16.0 and AMOS23.0 were used as data analysis software for data processing and research.

For this article the questionnaire are selected as the academic circles have been widely recognized and confirmed the use frequency is higher, has certain authority, it is no longer on this paper selected the questionnaire validity analysis, and use SPSS examine its alpha coefficients in this study, at the same time, the description statistics, regression analysis, correlation analysis and differential test description between the variables and their contact information, such as on the other hand, the five variables for 32 model was constructed, with AMOS do confirmatory factor analysis test.

3. Results

3.1. Reliability

Reliability refers to whether the test scale is stable and reliable. If a test scale has a higher reliability coefficient, it proves that the scale has a higher reliability. It can be used as a tool to measure a variable. The reliability analysis of the scale is the previous step of data analysis. If the reliability coefficient of a scale is not up to the standard, all data measured by it is meaningless. Therefore, the reliability coefficient test and analysis should be carried out first for each questionnaire to be used in this study, as shown in Table 1.

As can be seen from the chart, the first coefficient of each scale is above 0.7, the first coefficient of each dimension is above 0.8 and the reliability coefficient is good. Therefore, the scales used in this study are all available and reliable measurement variables.

3.2. Correlation Analysis and Descriptive Statistics of the Measured Variables

Descriptive statistics including the mean, standard deviation, variance of variables, such as the most intuitive and easy to understand explanation of the basic conditions of variable data analysis, correlation analysis is done for after the author validate assumptions one of the most basic guarantee, whether to preliminary test hypotheses and common sense, whether the selected data can conform to the hypothesis.

The measurement results of this study are as shown in Table 2.

Table 1. Results of reliability coefficient of each scale (N = 345).

Table 2. Correlation analysis and descriptive statistics of variables.

**: p < 0.01; *: p < 0.05; ( ) represents the coefficient of internal consistency.

There was a significant positive correlation between verbal abuse and turnover intention (r = 0.12, p < 0.05) and job burnout (r = 0.184, p < 0.01). There is a significant negative correlation between psychological capital and job burnout (r = −0.791, p < 0.01) and turnover intention(r = −0.55, p < 0.01). The relationship between organizational support and turnover intention(r = −0.58, p < 0.01) and job burnout was significantly negative (r = −0.148, p < 0.01). This measurement result fully conforms to all the assumptions made by the researchers in the previous study on the relationship between variables.

3.3. The Difference Test of Questionnaire Score and Demographic Variables Was Adopted

In order to make the final test results more accurate, need to demographic variables such as gender, wages and other variables independent sample t-test by SPSS and One-way Anova (single factor variance analysis), to verify whether it is a survey of research institute with a variable results have a significant impact, thus in the study of the relationship between the variables can be more accurate to control the demographic variables it is concluded that the test result of the real relationship between each variable.

3.4. Regression Analysis of Verbal Abuse on Job Burnout and Turnover Intention

In order to investigate the unique relationship model between independent variable speech aggression and dependent variable job burnout and turnover intention, a regression analysis was performed on speech aggression and job burnout after controlling for demographic variables gender and salary.

The analysis results are as shown in Table 3.

The Table 3 shows that verbal abuse and job burnout and turnover intention of regression coefficients are all positive and significant, but by calculating the square (Sr2) of partial correlation coefficient of regression to test verbal assault unique interpretation of job burnout and turnover intention rate found that verbal assault unique interpretation of job burnout and turnover intention rate was 0.131 and 0.135, respectively, that verbal assault has a significant effect on job burnout and turnover intention.

3.5. Verification Test of Variable Discrimination Validity

Differentiating validity test is the focus of this study, because it is of great significance. Only when each variable is independent from each other, overlapping index is appropriate, and has appropriate validity can test the subjects in five different directions in the specific practical environment, and the most accurate data and result analysis have been obtained.

The software AMOS23.0 was used to refer to the practices, analysis and summary of previous scholars, and the implementation method of the most widely used verification test was to take the dimension of each variable as the latent variable index. If the variable was single dimension, each subject was directly tested.

The measured results are as shown in Table 4.

As shown in Table 4, the five-factor model (χ2 = 1071.85, df = 485, CFI = 0.926 > 0.900, TLI = 0.918 > 0.900, RFI = 0.902 > 0.900, RMSEA = 0.072 < 0.080)

Table 3. Regression analysis results of verbal abuse on job burnout and turnover intention.

Note: B is the unstandardized regression coefficient, ß is the standardized regression coefficient, and the following is the same.

Table 4. Results of confirmatory factor analysis (n = 345).

(Note: in the above table, A represents verbal infringement, B represents Turnover intention, C represents organizational support, D represents psychological capital, and E represents job burnout).

is the model with the best fitting effect and good matching index among the 32 nested models (χ2 = 1071.85). As a result, the 5 variables in this study are independent of each other and have good discrimination validity.

3.6. Hypothesis Testing

SPSS16.0 was used to verify the hypothesis of this study, that is, the effect of customer verbal abuse on turnover intention and job burnout of sales staff: the regulating effect of psychological capital and organizational atmosphere. Because this study has two moderating variables and two dependent variables, four combinations should be considered in this step, namely, the dependent variable is “turnover tendency” or “job burnout”, and the interaction term is “verbal abuse” and “psychological capital” or “verbal abuse” and “sense of organizational support”. In the preceding analysis can know “wages” and “gender” for this paper to measure the factors significantly influence, so, the first step in the words “infringement” and “psychological capital” or “perceived organizational support” into the regression equation should be first to “sex” and “wages” control in the first layer of the regression analysis, the second step will be “psychological capital” and “verbal assault” or “perceived organizational support” the interaction of the items included in the regression equation, four groups of hierarchical regression result is as shown in Tables 5-8.

It can be concluded from Tables 5-8 that in addition to Table 8, the combination of all table independent variables and regulatory variables can significantly increase the explanatory rate of the model (ΔR2 = 0.01, F = 5.197, p < 0.01; ΔR2 = 0.028, F = 16.703, p < 0.001; ΔR2 = 0.025, F = 11.252, p < 0.001) makes them more persuasive. The regression coefficients of the combination of verbal abuse, mental capital or verbal abuse, organizational support were significant: (ß = 0.106, t = 2.28, p < 0.01; ß = 0.215, t = 4.087, p < 0.001; ß = 0.202, t = 3.354, p <

Table 5. Hierarchical regression analysis of psychological capital on verbal abuse and turnover intention.

Table 6. Hierarchical regression analysis of organizational atmosphere for verbal abuse and turnover intention.

Table 7. Hierarchical regression analysis of verbal abuse and job burnout by organizational atmosphere.

Table 8. Hierarchical regression analysis of psychological capital on verbal abuse and job burnout.

0.00), suggesting that psychological capital has a significant moderating effect on the relationship between customer verbal abuse and turnover intention and organizational support (organizational atmosphere).

4. Discussion

After controlling for two demographic variables that affect the five variables covered by this study, the following conclusions can be drawn:

There was a significant positive correlation between customer verbal abuse and turnover intention and job burnout. Therefore, if the sales staff feel strongly from the customer’s verbal insult threat of infringement of sex, its turnover intention and job burnout level will be higher than those who did not feel the verbal assault sales personnel, making it lose interest in work to produce mental fatigue or even leave the professional post, with the occurrence of this phenomenon more and more high frequency, the result will gradually make a for the sale of consumption environment construction and development of mature, stable, so to buyers and sellers of good economic environment and harmonious development, people should carefully examine and deliberate the causes of this phenomenon and refer to the corresponding solution. In the modern consumption environment, both the buyer and the seller have gradually got rid of the original concept of “the customer is god” and gradually turned to the equal consumption relationship. Therefore, as a consumer, we should sincerely respect the service staff, treat them equally, improve our own quality, abandon the old concept of low status of the original service staff, and obtain better service quality. A service personnel, should be friendly consumers seriously, try to efficiently solve the consumer put forward about product problems, at the same time, ready to all the skills required to work, at any time with professional knowledge to solve the problems at the aspect of purchase for the consumer, so as to construct the harmonious business relationship, promote both buyers and sellers of mutual benefit and win-win results.

The negative psychological capital of sales staff regulates the relationship between customer verbal abuse and turnover intention of sales staff. In other words, sales staffs with higher level of psychological capital are more likely to show positive attitude when encountering setbacks, thus reducing negative words and deeds in their work. Based on this, raise the level of psychological capital to create a good working atmosphere is key, first as a sales personnel, dealing with their own career and his profound understanding of fully, do a good job on the produce of preliminary psychological preparation, with confidence, calm attitude towards work, so that avoid unnecessary psychological gap in the real work environment, reduce negative emotions; Secondly, the enterprise can appropriately increase the degree of confidence and anti-attack ability of employees through such external forces as rewards and training, so that their enhanced psychological capital can be significantly improved to reduce negative words and deeds.

The organizational climate for customers verbal assault on sales staff turnover intention and job burnout on the effects of a dramatic negative regulatory role, because of this paper is the study of the organizational climate of perceived organizational support, so from this we know, when the sales staff in a working atmosphere with high levels of perceived organizational support, the negative emotions to work namely, turnover intention and tired feeling was obviously lower than the level of perceived organizational support had the sales staff to produce less. Therefore, in order to make employees perceive a high-level sense of organizational support, the company should not only pay attention to employees’ performance, but also pay high attention to employees’ life, work attitude, psychological perception and other aspects, give them the most appropriate support and reduce the occurrence of negative words and deeds.

This research topic is relatively new, from which is the fastest growing of the third industry, service industry as the breakthrough point, discusses the service industry staff, let people eliminating original for service industries such as “the customer is god”, “service personnel shall use all means to satisfy customers” “service personnel low status” stereotype to true view of service industry professionals, to equality, sincere attitude towards server. Secondly, this paper chooses verbal abuse as the independent variable to observe its influence on the psychology and behavior of service industry personnel, which makes people pay more attention to their words and behaviors and improve their comprehensive social quality. Finally, this paper studies data analysis using a variety of data analysis software to solve the problem, the original complex consists of five variables research gradually broken down into a small step, and orderly, accurate to solve the problem, also has exercised the flexible use of the ability of data analysis software, the same perceived: cooperation is the only thing that can solve complex problems.

Based on the results and the analysis summary, also can see some limitations of this study, first of all, the researchers assume that the participants were the general term for the sales staff, but for practical reasons, the researchers use garment industry sales personnel, so the accuracy of its results can not completely represent the whole sales team; At the same time, because of the data processing time and the limited number of researchers, the researchers only issued more than 400 questionnaires. In future studies, we can increase the number of samples and the type of sample source, so that the study has better validity.

5. Conclusion

In this study, salesmen were used as subjects to test the impact of customer verbal abuse on their turnover intention and job burnout. After certain data collection, recording, analysis and summary, the final conclusion was drawn:

1) There is a significant positive correlation between customer verbal abuse and turnover intention of sales staff.

2) There is a significant positive correlation between customer verbal abuse and job burnout.

3) Organizational atmosphere plays a negative moderating effect on the relationship between customer verbal abuse and turnover intention of sales staff.

4) Organizational atmosphere plays a negative moderating effect on the relationship between customer verbal abuse and job burnout of sales staff.

5) Psychological capital plays a negative moderating effect on the relationship between customer verbal abuse and turnover intention of sales staff.

Acknowledgements

The research is supported by grants from the National Social Science Fund of China awarded to the first author. Project number is 14CGL073.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Gong, Z. , Sun, Y. and Zhang, Z. (2018) The Influence of Customer’s Verbal Abuse on Turnover Intention and Job Burnout of Sales Service Staff—The Moderating Effect of Organizational Atmosphere and Psychological Capital. Psychology, 9, 2369-2383. doi: 10.4236/psych.2018.910135.

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