Journal article

The contribution of client embeddedness to an employee’s employment experience

15 Dec 2016


Does client embeddedness lead to improved employee quality of life, such as job satisfaction, affective commitment and employee engagement? If so, is this relationship affected by gender, age, tenure and psychological contract breach (PCB)? The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Regression and ANOVA analysis of a two-wave sample (n=121) of employees working for an aged care provider.


Client embeddedness at Time 1 predicts employee quality of life at Time 2. However, in this sample, this relationship is unaffected by gender, age and length of service. High levels of PCB weakens the relationship between client embeddedness and job satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications

The employee-client relationship directly improves quality of working life. However, it is unclear whether this finding is unique to this organisation, or whether client embeddedness can be cultivated over time or is a characteristic of an employee.

Practical implications

Organisations can substantially benefit from encouraging appropriate client-employee relationships. By adopting HR practices aimed at acquiring and cultivating client embeddedness through recruitment, performance management and training practices, organisations may increase employee quality of working life, and reduce employee turnover.


This paper substantially increases the understanding of client embeddedness by clarifying the direct effects of the client-employee relationship, and by identifying boundary conditions on the effect of client embeddedness. It also points to a distinct approach to recruiting and developing employees in client-facing industries.

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