Integrating conservation of resources and attribution theories, this study investigates the extent to which perceived customer mistreatment increases customers’ negative word of mouth by reducing service workers’ subsequent customer-directed in-role performance and customer-directed organizational citizenship behaviors. We also hypothesized that customer-directed blame attributions would moderate these relationships. Data collected from 153 restaurant servers, 153 coworkers, 149 supervisors and 306 customers show that the negative relationship between customer mistreatment and customer-directed behaviors (both in-role performance and organizational citizenship behaviors) is stronger for employees who engage in high as opposed to low levels of customer-directed blame attributions. Furthermore, the conditional indirect effect of customer mistreatment on negative word of mouth, via customer-directed organizational citizenship behaviors, is stronger for those employees who engage in high as opposed to low levels of customer-directed blame attributions.
- Attribution theory
- Blame attributions
- Conservation of resources theory
- Customer mistreatment
- Negative word of mouth