Humanitarian Crises: The (Un)Certainty of Servicescapes and Their Impact on Frontline Actors

Volker Kuppelwieser*, Nathalie Spielmann, Diego Vega

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Prior works discuss servicescapes as a stable environment but abstain from examining servicescapes in crisis situations and how they impact frontline employees (FLEs). This paper investigates servicescapes as something other than static and planned, and it accounts for the uncertainty often present in servicescapes. Specifically, we conceptualize servicescapes in crisis situations on a continuum that takes into account the landscape’s (in)stability and the processes’ (un)predictability. In so doing, we provide a more nuanced understanding of FLE experience and job satisfaction in crisis servicescapes, such as humanitarian contexts. Our research on these rarely surveyed but highly important service-providing circumstances identifies how FLEs need to reconcile the dynamic contextual facets and the variables likely to influence their job satisfaction. Across two studies of humanitarian aid contexts, including one with the United Nations, we show that servicescape processes and/or landscapes are often dynamic. We further show that organizational value’s congruence, pleasantness, and convenience have a positive impact on FLE job satisfaction in crisis servicescapes by decreasing their perceived level of uncertainty.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)371-388
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 27.02.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • servicescapes
  • frontline employees
  • crisis

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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