Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Sajeev Varki, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Lafferty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yancy Edwards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Barnett, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Terry Sincich, Ph.D.


service sabotage, boundary spanners, emotional exhaustion, perceived organizational support, perceived supervisory support, personality


The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate how emotional exhaustion (EE) impacts a boundary spanning employee's usage of service sabotage behaviors (SSB). This dissertation also investigates how perceived organizational support (POS) and perceived supervisory support (PSS) alleviate a boundary spanning employee's EE and SSB. Furthermore, this dissertation examines how extraversion (EXT) and imagination (IMAG) moderates the relationship between POS and SSB and between PSS and SSB.

A boundary spanning employee is any organizational employee who "engages in job-related interactions with a person who is considered part of the environment, who is not a member of the organization" (Robertson 1995, p. 75). These employees are important as research has shown that consumers use the attitudes and behaviors of these employees to positively or negatively impact their perceptions of the service encounter (e.g. Bitner 1990; Bowen and Schneider 1985; Pugh 2001).

SSB are overt or covert behaviors which negatively affect the relationship between the organization and the customer (Harris and Ogbonna 2006, 2002). Rather than the boundary spanning employee engaging in negative behaviors towards other employees or the organization as a whole, SSB are acted upon the customer.

EE occurs when an employee believes they are overextended by their work (Maslach and Jackson 1981). Boundary spanning employees are forced to display organizationally desired emotions even when encountering negative customers (Cordes and Dougherty 1993; Mulki, Jaramillo and Locander 2006). This interaction between the customer and employee may result in discontent and the employee may engage in SSB as a way to show this discontent.

A boundary spanner's EE is hypothesized to positively impact SSB; therefore, it is important to investigate what will reduce or mitigate a boundary spanner's EE. Two constructs that are hypothesized to reduce both EE and SSB are POS and PSS.

In order to test the hypotheses developed in this dissertation, 490 non-management retail sales and customer service employees across a variety of organizations were sampled. Results found that EE positively impacts SSB. EE also partially mediates the relationship between POS and SSB. The hypotheses associated with PSS, EXT and IMAG were not supported.