Role of Interpersonal Trust on the Relationship Between Employee Innovative Behaviour and Customer Participation: Evidence from The Hospitality Industry in Sri Lanka


  • N. Veerappan Eastern University, Sri Lanka
  • P. Pradeesh Eastern University, Sri Lanka



Purpose: The purpose of this study is to assess how the customers’ contribution impels employee innovative behavior in hospitality services with respect to the mediating role of interpersonal trust in selected hotels in Sri Lanka.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on the existing literature, conceptual model is created with the dependent variable of employee innovative behavior, independent variable of customer participation and the mediating variable of interpersonal trust. A total of 391 acceptable questionnaires were obtained out of 500 questionnaires distributed comprisesing 198 and 193 frontline employees and customers respectively (convenient sampling was used) in three to five star hotels in Sri Lanka. The collected data were analyzed using inferential statistics.

Findings: The quantitative survey divulges that there is a significant positive effect between customer participation and employee innovative behavior and interpersonal trust. In addition, a study reveals that increasing the level of interpersonal trust between customers and employees may boost employee innovative capacity. Hence it is proved that customer participation has an indirect significant effect on employee innovative behavior through interpersonal trust.

Originality: This study contributes to fill out the existing knowledge gap and it helps to improve the innovations in the service sector with the appropriate climate of information exchange.


Implications: According to the results, increasing consumer involvement in service design and delivery improves employee novelty. Meanwhile developing trust between the parties enhances the relationship as well as it will enhance the creative power of employees in hospitality services. This study contributed to the hospitality industry on innovative ideas which makes customer participation as a tool for their novelty in the Sri Lankan context.

Keywords: Customer Participation, Interpersonal Trust, Employee Innovative Behavior, Services, Hotels, Tourism