Service with a smile and encounter satisfaction: Emotional contagion and appraisal mechanisms

Patricia B. Barger, Alicia A. Grandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

236 Scopus citations


Primitive emotional contagion has been proposed to explain why "service with a smile" predicts encounter satisfaction. We provide a comprehensive test of this mechanism by examining mimicry and mood as mediators in service encounters, contrasting such mediation with a direct path through perceived service quality. Independent coders recorded the strength of employees' and customers' smiles at three points in time during real service encounters, and 173 customers completed postencounter surveys. Mimicry effects were supported; however, only service quality appraisals, and not customers' affect, fully mediated the relationship of employee smiling and encounter satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1238
Number of pages10
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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