Customer mistreatment, employee depression, and organizational citizenship behavior: Emotional intelligence as a moderator

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Jeeyoon Jeong
Ji Hoon Lee
Cite this article:  Jeong, J., & Lee, J. (2022). Customer mistreatment, employee depression, and organizational citizenship behavior: Emotional intelligence as a moderator. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 50(3), e11167.


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Grounded in conservation of resources theory, this study investigated the relationship between customer mistreatment and organizational citizenship behavior by examining the mediating mechanism of depression in the workplace and the moderating role of emotional intelligence. Korean service employees (N = 319) completed a survey at two time points spaced 3 weeks apart. We found that customer mistreatment diminished employees’ organizational citizenship behavior through their sense of depression in the workplace. The results show that the positive relationship between customer mistreatment and depression in the workplace was weaker when employees had high emotional intelligence. The negative impact of customer mistreatment on organizational citizenship behavior was less pronounced for participants with high (vs. low) emotional intelligence. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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