Implementation and Effectiveness of Strategic Actions Used to Reduce Employee Variability in the Service Sector
Employee variability can have significant adverse effects on service delivery and customers’ perceptions of service quality. However, the types of employee variability that exist and the appropriate actions required to address these various types of variability have not been systematically examined. This pioneering study systematically develops a typology of employee variability consisting of six categories: (i) understanding variability; (ii) attitude variability; (iii) capability variability; (iv) method variability; (v) effort variability; and (vi) decision variability. The study also suggests strategic actions that can be used to reduce the effects of each kind of variability. The present study categorises the strategic actions to address employee variability into four groups: (i) classic accommodation (CA); (ii) classic reduction (CR); (iii) low-cost accommodation (LC); and (iv) uncompromised reduction (UR). An empirical study is then conducted among 97 reputable Taiwanese service firms. The results shows that the respondent companies prefer the traditional CA and CR strategies. In contrast, the LC strategies are relatively neglected, despite their potential for producing a significant reduction in the adverse effects of employee variability. The study concludes that service providers should place greater emphasis on the implementation of automated low-cost strategies to reduce the undesirable effects of employee variability.
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