טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentTechiya Ramati
SubjectThe Influence of the Appearance of Service Providers on the
Affect and Interaction Tendencies of Customers
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Full Professor Rafaeli Anat


Abstract

The present research illustrates that employee appearance can influence customer affective reactions to a service operation, and that this influence leads to interest in interaction with the employee.

Building on conceptual work on organizational artifacts, Employee dress  was analyzed on two dimensions Aesthetics and Symbolism. Because of the array of plausible artifact symbolism, the focus was limited to the formality symbolized by employee attire.

The emotional dynamics build on model of emotion advanced by Russell and Mehrabian, (1978) which argues for three distinct dimensions of emotions: pleasantness, arousal and dominance. Interaction interest  between service providers and customers was measured along two domains categories: social interactions and business interactions.

An experimental 3 x 2 factorial design was used for data collection. Six video clips were recorded, all of which showed the same male actor performing the job of a bank clerk. Except for the formality and aesthetics of employee appearance videos were identical in all other regards, and each lasted exactly two minutes.

209 Subjects watched the video clips on a computer screen and then responded to 27 questions regarding their  affects and interactions interest.

 Results indicate that aesthetics and formality of dress influence observer interest in business but not interest in social interaction. Customer affect was shown to act as a mediator between aesthetics and formality of employee dress and customer eagerness for business interactions, as predicted.

The study documents the powerful influences that employee appearance can have on customer affect, and the importance of customer affect as a mediator between external factors such as employee appearance and successful service interaction.