Employee Emotional Competence: Construct Conceptualization and Validation of a Customer- Based Measure

Cécile Delcourt, University of Liege, Belgium
Allard C. R. van Riel, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Marcel van Birgelen, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Dwayne D. Gremler, Bowling Green State University

When customers experience intense emotions during service encounters, they are attentive to how well employees perceive, understand, and regulate these emotions—that is, the extent to which employees display emotional competence. This paper examines employee emotional competence (EEC) from a customer perspective in a service encounter context. Using this specific conceptualization of the topic, the authors develop a short, valid, and reliable measure of EEC that consists of customer perceptions of employee ability in terms of perceiving, understanding, and regulating customer emotions. The measure is strongly correlated with customer evaluations of the service encounter. This scale can be used by scholars to further explore the role of EEC in service contexts and by managers to observe and assess EEC in service encounters, determine the correlation of EEC with outcomes of interest, and use EEC in recruitment and hiring processes.


This paper is currently under review at a journal.