Minority service providers serving majority group customers: The relations between power attribution, empathy and emotional labor

Tali Seger-Guttmann, Karin Amit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the service relationships between minority service providers and their majority-group customers, focusing on power attribution, empathy, and emotional labor strategies. An online survey tapped the perceptions of service providers belonging to two different ethnic and national minorities (N = 511; of the sample, 301 respondents were FSU immigrants (59%), and 210 were members of the Arab minority (41%). Age ranged from 18 to 65 (Mage = 37); the total sample included 63% females. All service providers were from the “Service Shop” sector). Minority service providers' responses were affected significantly by the power they attributed to majority-group customers, activating higher emotional efforts to please customers. Testing moderated mediation model revealed that the mediation effect of minority service providers' empathy on the relationship between power attributed to majority-group customers and minority-group service providers’ emotional labor found to be significantly stronger for national minority service employees (in compare to ethnic minorities). The study emphasizes the importance of service relationships in a diverse environment and their practical implications. Additional theoretical contribution is related to the distinction between two types of minorities: national and ethnic minorities (service provider origin) in order to explore their attribution of power towards majority group customers, which effect the mechanism of empathy and in turn minorities provider's emotional mechanism (emotional labor).

Original languageEnglish
Article number103905
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
StatePublished - Sep 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Emotional labor
  • Empathy
  • Ethnic-minority
  • Immigrants
  • Majority-group customers
  • Minority-group service providers
  • Power attribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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