The relationship of service provider power motivation, empowerment and burnout to customer satisfaction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - Burnout, which is caused by chronic stress, is common in the service professions and has a negative effect, both on the service provider's job performance and customer satisfaction. Empowerment is a potential buffer against the stress involved in service roles, but its advantages may depend on the service provider's desire to be empowered. The study examines several interactive effects of empowerment and seeking power on service provider burnout. In addition, the study examined the relationship between service providers' burnout and customers' reports of their satisfaction with the service. Design/methodology/approach - Questionnaires were administered to 198 participants, comprising 99 service provider-customer dyads coming from public service organizations, that is government offices, welfare services, health services, and education, and private services, that is banks and communication companies. The dyads selected for the study were engaged in a "service relationship," that is, the customer has repeated contact with a particular provider. Findings - Service providers with a high power motivation experience more burnout as a result of stressful relationships with customers than service providers with a low power motivation. This effect, however, is reversed when service providers are empowered. Furthermore, the negative relationship of burnout with customer satisfaction was found to be stronger with a high level of empowerment than with a low level of empowerment. Practical implications - Practices of human resources such as selection and training should take into consideration the effect of service providers' predispositions on their willingness and ability to function under a high level of empowerment. Originality/value - The study shows the negative relationship of service providers' burnout with customer satisfaction and contributes to the understanding of the factors that should be considered in regard to the empowerment of service providers, in order to minimize burnout and its negative effect on customer satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-270
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Service Industry Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employees
  • Service industries
  • Shess

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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