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Ethnic employees' behaviour vis-a-vis customers in the service sector


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  • Sahin, Mediha

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics)

  • Rietdijk, Marius
  • Nijkamp, Peter


Modern societies in the western world are increasingly faced with cultural diversity as a result of international migration. The socio-economic position of ethnic groups in a globally mobile society has extensively been studied in recent years, from the perspective of their skills, language abilities, adjustment behaviour, and so forth. This study investigates the social and economic performance of ethnic workers in cities by addressing the question whether these groups have a higher or lower reputation or esteem on the labour market than their indigenous equals, seen from the perspective of the customer's perception and satisfaction. There is a popular feeling that ethnic employees in the service sector are less client-centered than indigenous employees. Sometimes, stigmatization is mentioned as a factor that acts as a negative predictor for someone's position on the job market. This phenomenon calls for a careful and critical assessment, as it may also rest on an unjustified stigma. Therefore, it is an interesting research question whether workers of ethnic origin, e.g., in the service sector, are more or less client-friendly than others. How do others judge their social or economic performance? After an extensive literature review, we formulate relevant hypotheses on the actual behaviour of ethnic employees and test these on the basis of empirical fieldwork in the service sector notably in the retail sector in the city of Amsterdam. Our conclusion is that, in general, there is no ethnic bias in the behaviour of these employees, although our findings suggest that gender bias does occur.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics in its series Serie Research Memoranda with number 0002.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:vuarem:2006-2

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Related research

Keywords: Client-friendliness; Culture; Ethnic groups; Migration; OCB (Organizational Citizenship Behaviour); Performance;

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  1. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
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