How Important is The Store Manager?

Topic: Organizational Performance
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2010)
Article: Store manager performance and satisfaction: Effects on store employee performance and satisfaction, store customer satisfaction, and store customer spending growth
Authors: R.G. Netemeyer, J.G. Maxham III, D.R. Lichtenstein
Reviewed By: Allison Gabriel

How many times do you frequently interact with a store manager when picking up your morning coffee? How about when you run to the store to grab some last minute groceries for dinner? The fact is, most of us are used to interacting with service employees, with the assumption that the store manager is in the background informing them of how to interact with customers. Research typically supports this view, believing that store manager’s actions impact their employees, and that these employees subsequently impact customer outcomes (e.g., customer satisfaction) and, ultimately the store’s performance. However, is it possible that store managers have their own impact on customers beyond that of their employees?

Netemeyer and colleagues examined this research question in a sample from a women’s clothing and accessories retail chain. The impressive sample contained information from 306 retail store managers, 1,615 retail store floor employees (i.e., the people we typically interact with), and 57,656 stores. Talk about an impressive sample!

The central question was this: will manager performance and satisfaction impact customers more than employee performance and satisfaction? Additionally, the researchers looked at whether or not manager performance and satisfaction impacted the performance and satisfaction of employees. Overall, it was found that managers’ job performance and satisfaction not only influence their employees’ performance, but also impact customer satisfaction in conjunction with bottom-line store financial performance. This finding has huge potential for organizations – not only should they be monitoring the performance of their front-line service employees, but this shows that managers can really set the tone for employee performance and impact customers positively in the long run. After all, who said manager should stay behind the scenes anyway?

Lichtenstein, D. R., Maxham III, J. G., & Netemeyer, R. G. (2010). Store manager
performance and satisfaction: effects on store employee performance and
satisfaction, store customer satisfaction, and store customer spending growth .
Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(3), 530-545.