Is ICT good for employees? An analysis of its effects on sales agents' perceptions of service cannibalization
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The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of sales agents of service cannibalization resulting from ICT adoption. Specifically, a latent class segmentation approach based on sales agents perceptions was applied to identify distinct types of sales agents groups and understand the differences between these segments in terms of sales agents' perceptions of service sabotage and the use of ICT. Data from 497 sales agents, who voluntarily participated in the study and completed a questionnaire in an interviewer's presence, were collected from travel agencies in Spain. The results obtained classify sales agents into five groups: innovative, cannibalized, non-cannibalized, information provider and traditional. The major theoretical finding of the study is that not every sales agent perceives service cannibalization to the same degree. The differences could arise due to the level of ICT adoption of the travel agency (website, general information, Internet contracting, customized service, after-sales service payments systems) and the type of organization in which the sales agent works (independent or consortia/franchise travel agencies). Finally, this study provides recommendations to retail organizations in order to face up to the negative effects of a multi-channel distribution system on the sales agents. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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