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Affective Complementarity in Service Encounters


  • Angelo Giardini

    () (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen)

  • Michael Frese

    () (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen)


Face-to-face interactions are a crucial part of services. However, research that investigates the dynamics of service encounters is still rare. In this study we used a theoretical framework that aligned the concept of interpersonal complementarity with Mehrabian and Russell?s (1974) three-dimensional model of affect. We hypothesized that there are positive relationships between employees? and customers? affective experience of pleasantness and arousal (correspondence rule) and a negative relationship between the interactants? experience of power (reciprocity rule). Furthermore, we explored the role of gender combination in service encounters. We tested our hypotheses with a sample of 29 service employees and 345 service encounters. Using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), our hypotheses were confirmed. Furthermore, we found that the relationship between employee and customer arousal was affected by the gender combination.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelo Giardini & Michael Frese, 2007. "Affective Complementarity in Service Encounters," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 18(1), pages 75-87.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:doi_10.1688/1861-9908_mrev_2007_01_giardini

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    Emotions; Service; Social Interaction;

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General


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