A multi-level analysis of customer contact teams

Academic Article


  • Purpose: As organizations increasingly rely on teams to provide high levels of customer service, one's understanding and research methods related to teams must expand so that multiple hierarchical levels of an organization are analyzed effectively. This study aims to propose and test a model examining multi-level team relationships. Design/methodology/approach: Survey data from customer contact teams in a banking setting were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), a method appropriate for investigating individual and group level variables within an organization. Findings: Results indicate that team-member exchange, a group-level variable, is positively associated with employee performance and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and explained variance in outcomes above and beyond that explained by the individual-level relationship between the supervisor and subordinate. Research limitations/implications: Analyzing both individual- and group-level variables through HLM explicates team processes and outcomes. While this study examines the banking environment, certainly, teams are an area fertile for additional study in a variety of industries. Practical implications: The results provide support for the importance of team development and training as organizations increasingly use teams to provide critical customer service. Attention to the employee-manager relationship and team member interactions will improve performance. Originality/value: The paper extends understanding of important team member outcomes in an environment that increasingly relies upon teamwork to serve customers. It examines team-member exchange and its effects on employee performance and OCB in the context of customer contact teams. Additionally, investigates leader-member exchange in the context of team-member exchange, a relationship that provides a more robust understanding of team processes. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wech BA; Kennedy KN; Deeter-Schmelz DR
  • Start Page

  • 436
  • End Page

  • 448
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 6