The impact of employees’ clothing on customers’ perceptions and behavioral intentions has been examined in various contexts.

...we examine the influence of other customers’ dress style on customers’ approach behaviors in a restaurant context.

  • Should it be "dress styleS" in the second sentence?
    – Jenn
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 16:00
  • 3
    It all gets a bit cumbersome. Stylistically you're already improved things by ditching the passive construction in the second version. Go a bit further and discard both pluralisation and the possessive marker for employee and customer. Those features add nothing except pointless syntactic complexity. Just let the simple singular versions function as attributive nouns - it's perfectly natural English to do this. Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 16:03
  • 1
    In direct response to Jenn, yes. Each customer has their own dress style, so to talk about multiple customers implies multiple dress styleS.
    – MMJZ
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 0:19

1 Answer 1

  1. Are the possessives treated properly?
    1. Each employee has clothing, so employees' clothing is treated properly.
    2. Each customer may have a perception and a behavioral intention, so customers' perceptions and behavioral intentions is treated properly.
    3. All customers are highly unlikely to conform to a single style of dress without some extenuating circumstance or unifying force, so customers' dress style is not treated properly.
    4. Each customer may have their own approach behavior, so customers' approach behaviors is treated properly.
  2. Can there be a plural possessive when the following word is not plural? Yes, when a group of things can collectively possess a single thing.
    1. A group of family members (or a married couple) may collectively possess a single home, so the Jones' home is proper English.
    2. A group of citizens may possess a single right, so the citizens' right to assemble is also proper English.

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