How customer mistreatment impacts employee work outcomes: A self-determination theory perspective


  • J. Chen RMIT University, Australia
  • H. Kang RMIT University, Australia
  • Y. Wang RMIT University, Australia


This study aims to discover how customer mistreatment influences employees’ work outcomes in relation to job performance and job satisfaction. Drawing on self-determination theory, this study proposes and tests a model in which the experience of customer mistreatment negatively predicts employees’ jobrelated outcomes via reducing their satisfaction in three distinct basic psychological needs. It also tests the moderating role of employees’ core self-evaluations on the relationship between customer mistreatment and basic need satisfaction. Data were obtained from 332 telemarketing employees from China. The results show that customer mistreatment negatively predicted job satisfaction and job performance via reducing employees’ need satisfaction for autonomy and competence. However, such negative effects were buffered when employees had high core self-evaluation.
Keywords: Customer mistreatment, psychological needs, self-determination theory, core self-evaluation, job satisfaction, job performance, China