This paper discusses some of the findings from exploratory research that provided an insight into the marketing barriers affecting frontline employees’ satisfaction and attitudinal commitment in the context of a fashion retail outlet in Melbourne. Frontline employees represent the ‘face’ of an organisation (Hoffman and Bateson 1997) and they play a key role in satisfying customers’ expectations, and thus in influencing the service quality perceptions which emanate from service encounters (Boshoff and Mels 1995; Bendapudi and Berry 1997; Grönroos 2001). Boshoff and Allen (2000) showed that in order to provide consistently high levels of service, frontline employees must be trained to deal with customers and be able to rectify the inevitable problems that may arise. Factors such as the attitudes and behaviours of management as well as the training and the empowerment they receive, can also influence the performance of frontline employees (Matthes 1992). To gain an insight into these issues, a focus group was conducted with casual frontline employees and depth interviews were conducted with their managers, at a fashion retail outlet in Melbourne. The findings suggested that a possible link could exist between frontline employees’ satisfaction and their attitudinal commitment, as they described low levels of satisfaction and attitudinal commitment towards the fashion retail outlet they worked for. These negative job attitudes were primarily attributable to the managers’ attitudes and behaviours; a lack of empowerment; as well as inadequate internal communication, and training. Further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the complex nature of the effects that such marketing barriers could have on frontline employees’ satisfaction and attitudinal commitment to their job.
Proceedings of 'Celebration of Ehrenberg and Bass: Marketing Discoveries, Knowledge and Contribution', the Australia and New Zealand Marketing Conference (ANZMAC 2003), Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 01-03 December 2003,