Author(s), Title and Publication:

Malhotra, N., & Ackfeldt, A. (2016). Internal communication and prosocial service behaviors of front-line employees: Investigating mediating mechanisms. Journal of Business Research, 69(10), 4132 – 4139.


Prosocial service behaviors (PSBs) are helpful behaviors of front-line employees (FLEs) directed towards the organization or other individuals. Especially towards co-workers and customers, PSBs are respectively referred as cooperation – helpful behaviors towards the organization and immediate workgroup and extra-role customer service behaviors – discretionary behaviors in serving customers that extend beyond their formal role requirement. Given that PSBs strongly influence customer perceptions of service quality and satisfaction, which, in turn, affect organizational effectiveness and performance, this article investigates how to motivate and promote PSBs among FLEs through internal corporate communication under the frameworks of attitude theory and role theory. Specifically, the authors argue that employees’ perception of internal communication between management and employees will affect their organizational commitment and role stress stemmed from role ambiguity and role conflict, which subsequently affect their PSBs.

Survey packets were distributed to 520 FLEs from a UK travel service organization, which offers short cruises for travel and tourism purposes, through the company’s internal mail system. Findings suggest that organization-related information provided by organization’s internal communication system influences their prosocial service behaviors through the reduced role stress and enhanced organizational commitment.

Implications for Practitioners

Managers of customer-contact service organizations must 1) pay attention to improving the quality of internal communication with their front-line employees, in order to effectively engage them in prosocial service behaviors, 2) understand that the underlying motivational mechanisms are employees’ psychological attachment and commitment to the companies, and 3) provide clear, salient, and sufficient job-related information to front-line employees to reduce their role ambiguity.

Location of Article

The article is available online at: (abstract free, purchase full article)

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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