informal learning, frontline employee, Macao, formal learning, employee training, human relations
Original Research Article
This study uses qualitative methods to better understand how the informal learning of frontline employees influenced their customer relationship skills in dealing with patrons at gaming tables, in the hope of achieving positive customer experiences in a competitive environment in Macao. As casino operators need to get their employees to work after limited formal training, they might find that their emphasis on formal training might be insufficient to provide patrons with customized service in Macao. In this context, the concept of informal learning, which is determined and directed by learners themselves to further improve what they have learned from their formal training, is likely to be of special significance in Macao. Based upon a constructivistic framework, this study used semi-structured interviews to gather data from 49 frontline employees. The study relied upon the Miles and Huberman (1994) framework to analyze qualitative data. Data analysis suggested that informal learning among frontline employees would lead to four strategies: (i) to be polite and respect patrons; (ii) to uncover patrons’ emotional status from their body language; (iii) to manage patrons’ emotions in their gaming pursuit; and (iv) to self-regulate emotions to the demands of a service encounter.