The Effect of Job-Related Demands and Resources on Service Employees’ Willingness to Report Complaints: Germany Versus China

Gianfranco Walsh, Zhiyong Yang, David Dose, Patrick Hille

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Service employees’ willingness to report complaints (WRC) is an important determinant of firms’ long-term growth. Despite its
importance, we know little about the factors that drive or hinder employees’ WRC. Drawing on the job demands-resources
(JDR) model, we propose job resources (supervisor support and employee empowerment) and job demands (perceived customer
unfriendliness and workload) as antecedents of WRC. We also examine the mediational role of organizational commitment
and customer orientation, and the moderating role of country, in the effect of JDR variables on WRC. Using data from
German and Chinese service employees, we show that supervisor support and workload positively affect WRC, whereas
employee empowerment and customer unfriendliness negatively affect it. Thus, contradictory to the prevailing assumption that
job resources help employees achieve work goals and that job demands inhibit their achievement, we show job resources (supervisor
support) and demands (workload) can enhance WRC, whereas other job resources (employee empowerment) and
demands (customer unfriendliness) have inhibiting effects. Organizational commitment and customer orientation mediate the
impact of all JDR variables on WRC except empowerment. Furthermore, supervisor support has a more positive, while empowerment
and customer unfriendliness have a more negative effect for German than for Chinese service employees. Service managers
may influence WRC by managing job resources, job demands, and employee-company and employee-customer interfaces.
Besides, employees from individualistic countries (Germany) are more sensitive to the JDR environment than those from collectivistic
countries (China). Thus, managing job resources and demands may reap more benefits in the form of enhanced WRC in
individualistic than in collectivistic countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-209
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number2
Early online date24 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


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