University Of Tasmania

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Digital transformation for crisis preparedness: service employees' perspective

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 06:27 authored by Leo, WWC, Gaurangi LaudGaurangi Laud, Yunhsin Chou, C

Purpose: Digital transformation (DT) has had a profound impact on how services are delivered, but its effects on service frontline employees in crisis have yet to be examined. Using conservation of resources theory, this study empirically tests the overall effects of DT within service organisations on service employees' beliefs with respect to crisis preparedness, life satisfaction and customer orientation. It also examines the moderating effects of crisis-related anxiety and job experience on these relationships.

Design: The study hypotheses were tested quantitatively with an online survey of N=592 frontline service employees working in hospitality and retail services organisations during the crisis of COVID-19 pandemic. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the data. A post-hoc study of customer-facing supervisors (N=268) was conducted to validate the study findings and establish generalisability.

Findings: DT predicts service employees' beliefs regarding crisis preparedness. In turn, crisis preparedness increases life satisfaction and customer orientation. Moreover, crisis-related anxiety negatively moderates the relationship between DT and crisis preparedness. Post-hoc analyses validate the results derived from service employees' data. Surprisingly, there is no significant relationship between crisis preparedness and life satisfaction for supervisors/managers with low job experience.

Originality: This study makes an empirical contribution to the service management literature by examining the impact of DT on service employees' beliefs with respect to crisis preparedness that subsequently influences their life satisfaction and ability to remain customer oriented during a crisis. It highlights an important intersection between technology and service work in terms of a transformative impact of DT on service employee outcomes during crises.


Publication title

Journal of Services Marketing








Emerald Publishing Limited

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© Emerald Publishing Limited

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in commerce, management, tourism and services