"God of Small Things": Service Interaction's Roots in Regulatory Focus and Affectivity


  • Tali Seger-Guttmann
  • Iris Vilnai-Yavetz


We link regulatory focus, positive and negative affective states, and service behaviors to suggest that, salespersons' service interactions depend on their motivation (promotion- or prevention-focused) and their emotional responses during the service encounter. Based on in-depth interviews with salespeople, a questionnaire applying the concepts of 'skeleton' (the core of exchange relations) and 'tissue' (informal social behaviors) was administered to 90 salespeople in apparel stores. Results supported our main assumption that salespeople interact with customers based on their regulatory focus (Promotion and Prevention) and affectivity (PA and NA). Promotion focus was positively related to positive tissue behaviors (i.e., extra-role behaviors) and to positive affect (PA) and negatively related to negative affect (NA). Promotion-focused salespeople are more likely to demonstrate PA and high-quality service performance by adopting extra-role (tissue) behaviors. PA and NA fully mediated the relationship between promotion focus and positive tissue behaviors I. Prevention focus was found to be positively correlated with skeleton behaviors (i.e., core behaviors) and NA. No relationship was found between prevention focus and PA.