What Motivates Employees to Live up to Value Promises: An Employee Discourse

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/135690
Julkaisun nimi: What Motivates Employees to Live up to Value Promises: An Employee Discourse
Tekijä: Liewendahl, Helena
Muu tekijä: Svenska handelshögskolan, institutionen för marknadsföring, marknadsföring
Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Kuuluu julkaisusarjaan: Economics and Society – 277
ISSN: 0424-7256 (printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
ISBN: 978-952-232-245-6 (printed)
978-952-232-246-3 (PDF)
Tiivistelmä: Motivation is a popular notion in today’s worklife. Employees, in particular those who work in traditional customer service, should be motivated to care for their customers. Service literature assumes that managers are able to order subjectivity towards employees and see to it that employees are motivated. This study deviates from this viewpoint by adopting a humanistic and systemic stance. It sees motivation as an intrinsic process, and employees as active subjects in worklife as well as owners of their motivation. It takes an employee perspective as it sets out to explore their motivation to live up to value promises. Value promises is another topical concept. Currently, companies promise all kinds of things that should enhance customers’ value formation. Often these promises deviate from what actually occurs in service encounters, and psychological contracts such as value, brand and service promises are broken. Currently employees do, despite the increase of e-services, have a substantial role in delivering promises. The more complex and abstract the promise is, such as “the best service”, the more is required of employees to live up to it. The more emotion work embedded in the promise, the more important motivation for living up to it becomes. Taking value practices, i.e., service encounters and firm internal practices underpinning these as its locus, this study explored employees’ experiences by identifying issues that employees found having an impact on their work in customer interface, and thus influencing their motivation. A number of demotivating as well as motivating factors were identified: Too abstract marketing ideas and fuzzy promises, as well as a paternalistic and objectifying stance towards employees do impinge motivation negatively. Truthful authentic promises that reflect value practices as they are, and employees having agency to participate not only in delivering, but also in enabling and giving promises, to name a few, were found to have a positive impact on motivation. By noting these factors, this study strives to widen our understanding of the mechanisms that underpin employee motivation in a service context. The thesis suggests a Human Service Logic (HSL) as a new paradigmatic perspective to service research, parallel to the other current prevailing service logics. As central to employee motivation, the HSL emphasises social- and service competences. Drawing upon the three promises framework a promise integration (PI) model is suggested. The PI model introduces a new perspective on the TPF model; reordering, reorienting, and reframing it from promise management, governed mainly by managerial control, norms, and procedure, to a dynamic promise-living perspective, directed by human principles and co-active managing of value practices. The HSL framework, and its PI model, describes an employee discourse on motivation in a service context.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/135690
Päiväys: 2014-08-07
Avainsanat: employee motivation
value promises
human service logic
co-active managing
co-active enabling


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