Coping of regulatory frontline workers: The explanatory power of individual characteristics
Boer, N.C. de
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Frontline coping behavior is extensively studied but conceptual confusion remains. This article contributes to clarity by using three coping families (moving towards clients, moving away from clients and moving against clients) to investigate ways regulatory frontline workers cope. On top of that, studies have been successful in identifying rather than explaining coping due to the dominant focus on situational characteristics (e.g. role conflicts). This article, however, breaks new theoretical ground by exploring the role of individual characteristics, specifically personality traits and demographics, for explaining frontline coping behavior. Using a multi-source – and multi-method single case study, evidence for coping instances in all coping families as well as sector-specific applications were revealed. More importantly, three personality traits (urge for certainty, rule-obedience and dependability) and one demographic (individual professional background) that play an explanatory role in regulatory frontline coping behavior are presented. This study highlights the importance of future research taking an individual approach when studying frontline coping.