Understanding Muslim frontline employees’ perceived religious discrimination and emotional exhaustion

Walid Chaouali, Mohamed Yacine Haddoud, Mohamed Mousa, Ahmed Mohamed Elbaz, Narjess Aloui, Fawzi Dekhil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to investigate the impact of perceived subtle and overt discrimination on employees’ emotional exhaustion, along with potential mitigating factors such as social support, organizational inclusion and religiosity. Design/methodology/approach: The research is based on a sample of 359 Muslim employees working in US restaurants. The data are analyzed using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Techniques. Findings: The results reveal that high/low emotional exhaustion in tourism and hospitality sector is triggered by multiple combinations of high/low levels of subtle and overt discrimination, family and friends support and religiosity. Such findings hold important implications to both theory and practice. Research limitations/implications: By using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis, this research stands out from studies on discrimination that use conventional statistical methods. It proposes several solutions leading to a single outcome (high/low emotional exhaustion). This new approach contributes to the advancement of theory in this context. Practical implications: This study shows that there is no single best solution for high/low emotional exhaustion. Stated differently, multiple solutions provide several ways for firms to mitigate employees’ emotional exhaustion. Originality/value: Religious discrimination in workplaces is increasing at an alarming rate, particularly in customer facing roles, such as the tourism and hospitality industry. This is having detrimental effects on employees from minority groups, often leading to excessive levels of emotional exhaustion. Nonetheless, the extant literature has somewhat understated the consequences of this issue, creating a void that needs to be fulfilled. This study addresses this gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-745
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Customer deviance
  • Dysfunctional customers
  • Employee
  • Hospitality
  • Tourism


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