The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Employee Behavior and Service Quality in an Airport Setting : A qualitative study in service management
Abstract: In 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic brought a substantial change to the world. As good as everyone was affected and several sectors in the economy were impacted. Service businesses had to adapt their servicescape as a consequence. One services industry in Sweden which had to change their servicescape was airports, who had people arriving and departing from the entire world. Furthermore, the servicescape has a direct link to employee behavior and when changes in the servicescape are made, changes in employee behavior may arise. In addition, a changed employee behavior could impact the service quality. The purpose with this thesis is to add to the understanding regarding what changes the covid-19 pandemic brought to airports servicescape, if these changes affected employees and consecutively their ability to provide service quality. The purpose was fulfilled by conducting a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews. These interviews were held by employees representing different airports and analyzed through the Gioia Methodology. Our finding from this thesis suggests that the servicescape at the airports changed greatly as a consequence to covid-19 and the implementation of different measures. Employees had to use facemasks, plexiglas became the new normal and the intense climate at the airports disappeared. The findings in the thesis further propose that these changes in turn caused the employees to respond with feelings of discomfort, dissatisfaction, and stress. In addition, some of the changes triggered positive employee responses such as satisfaction and the feeling of security. The thesis has further discussed how these changes in the servicescape and the responses they brought, could trigger employees to behave in certain ways and how this could have affected the airports services quality during covid-19.
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