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EMAC 2022 Annual

Customer’s perspective on front-line service employees with disabilities: The role of interaction and emotions

Published: May 24, 2022


Musa Essa, University of Bologna


The issue of hiring and including people with disabilities in the workplace has been extensively studied from a human resource (HR) perspective, largely ignoring the role played by customers in contributing to this problem. One of the main concerns of employers in the service sector is the customer’s perception of service quality. Research shows that customers may patronize and prefer buying from businesses that hire and include people with disabilities in their staff members, but do not investigate if this preference remains under conditions where customer are in a close interaction with a front-line employee with a disability and what emotions could result from such an interaction. This paper aims at investigating the effect of disability status of service employees in the hospitality sector on the customer’s perception of service quality. It specifically focuses on the role of close interaction and emotions in influencing the customers perceptions.