Family-supportive supervisor behaviors and employee turnover intention in the foodservice industry: does gender matter?

Phillip M. Jolly, Susan E. Gordon, Timothy T. Self

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: The restaurant industry is characterized by long hours, intense job demands and a lack of work-life balance. While a growing body of research has investigated methods for decreasing role conflict-related stress and strain in foodservice and hospitality employees, there is still little understanding of what supervisors can do to decrease work-life-related employee strain. This study aims to investigate how family-supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB) influence employee emotional exhaustion (EE) and subsequent turnover intentions, as well as the role of gender in moderating these effects. Design/methodology/approach: A survey-based design using a national panel of 226 foodservice employees was used to investigate the hypotheses developed in this paper. Findings: Results indicated that FSSB decreased employee EE and subsequent turnover intentions. The authors also found that this relationship was stronger for female employees. Research limitations/implications: The study provides insight into the role that employee gender may play in response to the perception of and reactions to FSSB. Women still shoulder a majority of home and non-work caring duties, and therefore, they may be more positively affected when supervisors engage in behaviors that allow for balancing work and non-work demands. Originality/value: There is little hospitality or foodservice-focused research into the effects of FSSB, and little overall research that investigates the role that gender may play in shaping the beneficial effects of FSSB. Given that women make up a majority of foodservice employees in the USA, yet there is a lack of female representation at higher levels of organizations, the study provides insights into ways in which organizations and supervisors can improve female employees’ working experiences and potentially increase their retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1084-1105
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 3 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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