Frontline employees’ compliance with fuzzy requests: A request–appraisal–behavior perspective

Xiaodong Li, Chuang Wang, Juho Hamari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


While fuzzy requests from customers are pervasive in service encounters, it is lacking understanding of how to manage these kind of requests. By combining health belief model and theory of planned behavior, this study proposes a request–appraisal–behavior paradigm to elucidate frontline employees’ compliance with fuzzy requests. The research model is empirically examined with data collected from 256 frontline restaurant employees. The results show that compliance behavior is negatively influenced by conflict susceptibility, request severity, and punishment expectation, but positively influenced by satisfaction reward expectation, customer orientation norms, and job autonomy. The moderating effects of customer orientation norms and job autonomy on the relationships among satisfaction reward expectation (punishment expectation) and compliance behavior are also demonstrated. This study is among the first theoretical explorations of compliance behavior toward customer’ fuzzy requests. It also offers effective strategies for service providers and frontline employees to manage and cope with fuzzy requests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Compliance behavior
  • Fuzzy request
  • Request–appraisal–behavior
  • Service encounter

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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