Is Physical Attractiveness More Important than Professional Competency?: The Moderator of Self-Confidence

Is Physical Attractiveness More Important than Professional Competency?: The Moderator of Self-Confidence

Chien-Wen Tsai (Chinese Culture University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0201-2.ch014
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The international tourist hotel industry that focuses on quality of the “tangible” service is a typical high-contact service. To survive in the recent competitive work environment, many enterprises enhance their competitiveness in the process of service employee selection and emphasize the importance of physical attractiveness. This study uses self-confidence as a moderator which is rare relevant empirical evidence to confirm the relationships between physical attractiveness, professional competence and service attitude. The results show that confidence of the service personnel, physical attractiveness and professional competence have positive significant correlation relationships with service attitude. Service personnel's “self-confidence” is the most important variable towards service attitude. The study borrows selection and training functions of human resource management to integrate the knowledge of psychology, marketing management to expand the theory.
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Due to the rapid changes and developments in our current environment, we are looking for ways to find the best differentiated competitive advantages for enterprises in this competitive world. For the services industry, in addition to hardware facilities (appearance and equipment); the soft service (media); namely, the “front-line service personnel,” has become the most representative means of enterprises and the organizations, creating first impressions of the enterprise for customers. The enterprise being the first-line of services delivered, must maintain the service provided by the service personnel of a high quality (Nickson et al., 2005); in order to gain competitive advantage (Rapert & Wren, 1998). The importance of the front-line service staff to the enterprise (Luoh & Tsaur, 2009) is obvious, especially for the international tourist hotel industry, which has a lot of contact with the customers and emphasizes the “tangible” service quality. However, Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985) believe it is difficult to make an accurate assessment of service quality, due to some of its features such as un-storability and being invisible; therefore, the service quality could be replaced by the service attitude (Parasuraman et al., 1988). During the ‘moment of truth’ in service contact, customers would pre-set their views and expectations of the service staff, as well as presume what situations may occur in the environment (Lockwood & Jones, 1989), thus, forming possible stereotypes and influence the evaluation of the services (Fischer, Gainer, & Bristor, 1997).

Therefore, many industry executives believe: during this ‘moment of truth’ regarding contact, customers would establish their first impressions of the service staff and judge whether the physical attractiveness of the service staff could affect the service provided (Berger, Fisek, Norman, & Zelditch, 1977). Previous studies also show that the good-looking service staff may influence the cognition of service personnel’s service attitude (Luoh & Tsaur, 2009). And if the service personnel are neatly dressed, it would motivate customers to generate a positive perception (Sirgy et al, 2000) and make them feel appreciated and respected. Therefore, the international tourist hotel industry believes that to enhance the competitive advantages and increase service differentiation, it could be achieved by the physical attractiveness of the service personnel (Warhurst et al., 2000; Spiess & Waring, 2005).

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