An energetic workforce is imperative for corporate success. However, organizations often fail to reach their full potential as they do not master to create and sustain high productive organizational energy (POE). Hence, new approaches are needed in order to enable companies and employees to flourish in the long term and to achieve excellence. Whereas knowledge about intra-organizational determinants of POE is accumulating, external factors such as customers and their influences on POE have not yet been examined. In the course of this dissertation, three empirical studies were carried out providing new linkages, mechanisms, and contingencies of the energizing influences of customers on organizations.
Study 1 relies on a sample of 80 companies and demonstrates that both positive and negative customer feedback has an impact on an organization's positive affective climate and thereby on organizational well-being, i.e. overall employee productivity, employee retention, and emotional exhaustion among employees. Based on 93 companies, Study 2 examines how customers energize organizations by introducing prosocial impact climate as a mechanism at the organizational level linking customer recognition with POE. Additionally, transformational leadership climate strengthens this relationship. Study 3 is based on a sample of 152 companies and establishes the positive linkages between customer passion, POE, and organizational performance. Furthermore, it reveals top management team's customer orientation as a boundary condition of the relationship between customer passion and organizational performance.
Overall, across the three studies, positive customer influences are positively related to POE and organizational performance supporting the notion that customers effectively energize whole organizations. Hence, this dissertation provides a starting point for future investigations of external factors influencing POE. Moreover, an extensive discussion of the practical implications and recommendations on how to enable, stimulate, and amplify positive customer influences in the pursuit of corporate success is provided.
This study explores how organizational energy can be increased through customer passion, i.e. the perceived affective commitment and positive word-of-mouth of customers. We integrate literature on organizational energy with research on customers' influences on employees and develop hypotheses for such a relationship at the organizational level. We test our hypotheses in a dataset containing 495 board members and 8'299 employees from 152 organizations. The results show that customer passion is positively related to organizations' productive energy which in turn is positively related to overall company performance. Furthermore, our findings indicate that the relationship between customer passion and organizational energy is stronger when the customer orientation of the top management team is high compared to organizations with a top management team with low customer orientation. By providing first insights into the consequences of customer passion for employees in organizations, this study opens a new avenue for scientific inquiry on the energizing impact of customers on organizations.