Purdue University Graduate School
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The Effect of Guest Aggression on Turnover Among Hospitality Managers: a Moderated Mediation Analysis of Stress, Anxiety, and Social Support

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posted on 2022-06-20, 20:05 authored by Michael James PittmanMichael James Pittman

Managers within the hospitality industry are often required to handle irate guests through various service-recovery situations and thus are exposed to frequent guest aggression. Consequently, manager work is associated with high stress and anxiety. This study used several theories to understand the complex landscape of manager stress and anxiety within the hospitality industry. The Conservation of Resource Theory (Hobfoll, 1989), Stress as Offense to Self Theory (Semmer et al., 2007), and the Social Exchange Theory (Baumeister & Leary, 2005) are used as the foundation to delineate the roles of guest aggression and workplace social support played in reducing manager turnover intention through stress and anxiety. The study results identify that stress and anxiety are vital in impacting turnover intention; however, only certain forms of workplace social support (such as appraisal support) moderate the relationship in such a way that turnover intention decreases.

The study design utilized a moderated-mediation analysis with a two-time cross-sectional survey. Respondents were guest-facing managers in various hospitality organizations, including restaurants, hotels, and clubs. Two hundred and sixty-three participants completed the first and second waves of the survey, and after data cleaning, a total of 260 usable responses remained. This study employed Hayes' (2018) mediation analysis model 4 and the moderated mediation analysis model 58 to test all hypotheses.

This study shows that guest aggression is a significant predictor of turnover intention, and anxiety mediates the relationship leading to turnover intention. At the same time, stress only has a direct effect itself on turnover intention. In addition, this study found that some forms of workplace social support increased turnover intention, while supervisor appraisal (words of affirmation) moderated the relationship. Ultimately, this study helps guide organizations in making decisions that may reduce managers' intention to quit while providing a foundation for future researchers to examine how workplace social support uniquely affects managers.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Hospitality and Tourism Management

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Susan Gordon

Additional Committee Member 2

Hugo Tang

Additional Committee Member 3

Karen Byrd

Additional Committee Member 4

Phillip Jolly