University Of Tasmania
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A multilevel study of service brand building

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:16 authored by Dhicher, AY
Both marketing scholars and practitioners acknowledge that employee brand building behaviours are important to build a strong service brand (Morhart et al. 2009; Santos-Vijande et al 2013). Managing frontline service employees to act on behalf of the service brand is an important, yet challenging task for managers in service firms. Frontline employees play a central role in service branding because their behaviours bring brand promises to life and help shape customer brand perceptions (Löhndorf & Diamantopoulos 2014; Wallace et al. 2013). Service firms must act proactively to ensure frontline employees act proactively on behalf of the service brand to achieve higher levels of service brand performance (Baker et al. 2014). To understand how service firms master this task, this study develops a theoretical framework underpinned by transformational leadership theory and proactive motivation theory (Parker et al. 2010) to elucidate the effect of brand specific transformational leadership (BSTFL) at multiple levels within service firms. This framework also includes the mediating processes and boundary conditions that simultaneously foster employee brand building behaviours. A quantitative research design, administering a survey protocol was used to collect data to test the theory developed. Specifically, two surveys were developed and administrated to branch managers and frontline employees of multiple financial service firms in Australia, including banks and insurance firms resulting in data being collected from 52 branch managers and 259 frontline employees across four service firms. A Two-phase analytical strategy was adopted, with the first phase focusing on the measures psychometric properties and descriptive statistics, and the second phase focused on hypotheses testing. Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) was used for the multilevel hypothesis testing in the second phase. This study offers a number of contributions to service marketing, particularly in relation to service branding theory and practice providing significant implications for financial service firms. Overall, the findings show that both BSTFL at both individual level and branch level positively influences employee brand building behaviours. Further, at the individual level, the results reveal that perceived brand authenticity and psychological empowerment partially mediate the relationship between BSTFL at the individual level and employee brand building behaviours. Moreover, BSTFL at the branch level is positively associated with initiative climate, and initiative climate is positively associated with employee brand building behaviours. Initiative climate further enhances the relationship between BSTFL at the individual level and employee brand building behaviours. In addition, the findings demonstrate a powerful impact of employee brand building behaviours on service brand performance at the branch level. Overall, this study is one of the few studies that has developed a multilevel framework in service marketing to identify the role of BSTFL and proactive motivations of employee brand building behaviours and service brand performance in financial services.


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