Customer Incivility as a Social Stressor: The Role of Race and Racial Identity for Service Employees

Julie H. Kern, Alicia A. Grandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations

Abstract

Experiencing frequent incivility from customers is a noted social stressor linked with job burnout. Race (as a surface-level characteristic and as a deep-level identity) is proposed to explain emotional exhaustion, the primary burnout dimension, for service employees. The authors did not find that "microaggressions" were more likely toward racial minorities, nor any difference in job-related exhaustion between racial minority (primarily African American) and nonminority (White) retail employees. However, the centrality of minority employees' racial identity strengthened the association of customer incivility with emotional exhaustion because of increased stress appraisals, consistent with the Group Identity Lens Model. Proposals for future research on workforce racial diversity are made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-57
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of occupational health psychology
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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