A self-verification perspective on customer mistreatment and customer-directed organizational citizenship behaviors

Rajiv K. Amarnani, Simon Restubog, Ruodan Shao, David C. Cheng, Prashant Bordia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


Customer mistreatment events play a major role in employees' subsequent customer service behaviors, and is believed to have implications for employees' sense of self. We extend this line of research by developing a self-verification account of the relationship between customer mistreatment and customer-directed OCBs (OCB-Cs) by examining theoretically prescribed novel mechanisms (i.e., self-verification) and boundary conditions (i.e., self-esteem and entity customer appreciation) for this relationship. We conducted a programmatic series of studies using daily diary (Study 1), audio vignette (Study 2), and behavioral experiment (Study 3) designs to test the proposed model. The overall pattern of results showed that customer mistreatment led employees to feel less self-verified, especially among those with higher trait self-esteem. These employees in turn were more likely to withhold OCB-Cs, especially among those perceiving lower levels of entity customer appreciation. Overall, these results deepen our understanding of the role of the self-concept in how employees experience and react to customer mistreatment--depending on how employees see themselves and how they see their customers in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-931
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number5
Early online date2 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2022


We are grateful to Michael Fischer for helpful feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript and to Deshani Ganegoda, Vinh Lu, David Jones, Amirali Minbashian, and Luke Zhu for feedback on the first author's doctoral dissertation which developed into this paper. We are also grateful for research assistance from Pavel Cruz, Claire Simpao, and Alloysius Paril.


  • customer appreciation
  • customer mistreatment
  • OCB-customer
  • self-esteem
  • self-verification
  • workplace aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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