An Exploratory Examination in Quick-Service Restaurants

Kimberly Mathe and Lisa Slevitch, both of Oklahoma State University published, “An Exploratory Examination of Supervisor Undermining, Employee Involvement Climate, and the Effects on Customer Perceptions of Service Quality in Quick-Service Restaurants,” in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research. Ms. Mathe kindly provided the following thoughts on the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience is for hospitality operators and researchers, particularly those interested in quick service restaurant operations.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

I think everyone at one point in their careers has had a boss that undermined them in some way. It is a very relatable topic to everyone, which really sparked my interest.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Not really. I figured that supervisor undermining would be negatively related to service and employee involvement positively related to service quality. The interaction was very interesting. In low involvement climates, supervisor undermining doesn’t really matter suggesting that it is important to provide power, information, rewards and knowledge to employees in the QSR industry to gain the best results.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

From a practical perspective, training and development in the concepts of power, information, rewards, and knowledge should become a priority for companies because of its benefits. However, if companies provide the development or foundation for these concepts, it is critical to have a leader who will maintain these principles instead of undermine the employees which in turn can produce negative results. Additionally, supervisor undermining is very new to the hospitality literature in terms of quantitative studies. Hopefully, more researchers will start to look at this concept and show that in service industries, this variable is particularly detrimental in a variety of aspects.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

I’ve always tended to look at empowerment research so making the shift from empowerment to involvement is a nice transition. Involvement research is much newer and less studied, but I believe could also be as impactful as empowerment as the research stream progresses. I’m very excited to look at involvement in future studies.

How did your paper change during the review process?

It changed A LOT! Three great reviewers pointed out so many points I was missing that really added to the study. The post-hoc collection with lower level employees I believe really added to solidifying the concept of involvement climate. This paper would not be possible without the reviewers.

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