Perceived Managerial Sincerity, Feedback-Seeking Orientation and Motivation among Front-Line Employees of a Service Organization

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Purpose - Literature on the services industry's front-line employees has largely focused on the relationships between service providers and customers. However, there is increasing approbation that managers influence the front-line employees' motivation, ultimately impacting service quality. This study investigates the relationship between front-line employees' perceived managerial sincerity, need for feedback, and role motivation. Design/methodology/approach - The data were collected at 26 restaurants (from a global fast-food franchised chain) located in a large US city, using a self-administered questionnaire, from their front-line employees. The final sample size was 185 (47.4 percent response). Findings - The results suggest a positive association between front-line employees' feedback-seeking orientation and their perceived managerial sincerity. A positive association also exists between front-line employees' motivation levels and their job satisfaction. Research limitations/implications - The focus on a subset of restaurants (from a single franchise system) and the limited scope of states-of-mind and behaviors measured are two main limitations. A multitude of other front-line employee characteristics and factors should be investigated in future studies. Practical implications - Results suggest that managers' interpersonal communication techniques enhance front-line employees' perceptions of managerial sincerity, and increase their motivation and job satisfaction. However, managers need to balance a portfolio of diverse employee traits with relevant managerial styles to achieve desired outcomes. Originality/value - The association between perceived managerial sincerity and feedback-seeking orientation is intuitively appealing and comforting. However, some employees are happy being told what to do without any concern for involvement. Employees with low perceived managerial sincerity are also low on feedback need.