Revisiting the debate on the relationship between display rules and performance: considering the explicitness of display rules

J Appl Psychol. 2015 Jan;100(1):249-61. doi: 10.1037/a0036871. Epub 2014 May 19.


We argue that the strength with which the organization communicates expectations regarding the appropriate emotional expression toward customers (i.e., explicitness of display rules) has an inverted U-shaped relationship with service delivery behaviors, customer satisfaction, and sales performance. Further, we argue that service organizations need a particular blend of explicitness of display rules and role discretion for the purpose of optimizing sales performance. As hypothesized, findings from 2 samples of salespeople suggest that either high or low explicitness of display rules impedes service delivery behaviors and sales performance, which peaks at moderate explicitness of display rules and high role discretion. The findings also suggest that the explicitness of display rules has a positive relationship with customer satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Commerce
  • Employment*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Work Performance*