A Sense of Place: The Role of Organizational Identity in the Service-Oriented Organizational Citizenship Behaviors of Frontline Service Employees Open Access
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Problem. With the high level of importance placed on service quality, and a lack of studies on the service behaviors of frontline service employees, this study was conducted to explore the influences of organizational identity (OI) on the service-oriented organizational citizenship behaviors (SOCB) of frontline service providers. Few studies of OI have explored its influence on organizational behaviors; in addition, most OI studies have been conducted from a positivist framework in the not-for-profit sector. Similarly, service studies reside more prominently in positivist methodologies conducted in the retail and marketing sectors or in fast food restaurants, hospitals, and hotels. Procedures. This qualitative case study involved a luxury-level restaurant. Data were gathered through 12 on-site individual semi-structured interviews with service staff of varied roles and tenure, as well as through direct observation, field notes and journaling, and document analysis. The data were recorded, transcribed, analyzed, and interpreted while iteratively triangulated by the sole researcher.Findings. The site’s OI claims influenced SOCB characteristics aligned with the construct attributes of participation, loyalty, and service delivery. The three OI claims were that the organization is guest focused, focuses on and maintains a gold standard of quality, and is employee focused. Additionally, it was found that a present and highly engaged founder was instrumental to leading, inspiring, and developing staff using a congruent organizational philosophy and core values supported through a rigidly defined formal structure while paradoxically balanced by an informal structuring of employee empowerment facilitated through communications and collaboration. Conclusions. The OI claims that surfaced in the study were congruent with and influenced SOCB attributes in a dynamic and iterative manner. In addition to the OI claims and SOCB characteristics identified, the chef/founder’s image, organizational philosophy and core values, and organizational structure were important groundings for both OI claims and SOCB. The Hatch and Schultz (2002) OI dynamics model facilitated analysis and interpretation of the iterative cycling between organizational culture and external image. This study contributes to OI, SOCB, and OI dynamics research, particularly in offering a better understanding of the influences of OI on the SOCB of a group of employees. In practice, this study is relevant for hospitality operators and practitioners seeking to better understand influences on the extra-role behaviors of frontline service employees and to enhance service quality.