Linking Emotional Labor and Job Satisfaction

When the customer service rep greets you with a warm smile, he is engaging in emotional labor (EL), or the regulation of emotions to fit the work role. While this practice can take a toll on employees and negatively affect job satisfaction, new research in the Journal of Management finds this isn’t necessarily the case. The article examines the EL–job satisfaction relationship through two different “lenses” to explain why it impacts some employees negatively and others positively:

emotional_labor_job_satisfactionOur results suggest that, by design, jobs with workplace interactions may have favorable outcomes for employees. Such jobs may be intrinsically motivating and fulfill psychological needs, especially if they are consistent with key social and/or personal identity characteristics. These findings further highlight the importance of the social context at work and support the burgeoning research on relational job design, which suggests that jobs, tasks, and projects are intertwined with workplace interactions, and these interactions are meaningful for employees. Despite these positive job attributes, tensions may occur at the interface between the worker and the job, creating various worker responses to job interactions. These responses, such as surface acting, may be related to unfavorable outcomes for some employees. Organizations and researchers might identify mechanisms and/or worker attributes that can create equilibrium conditions at the person–job interfaceJOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixW. In other words, adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to work design for “people work” jobs fails to account for employees’ various responses to occupational EL requirements. Organizations might consider mechanisms such as job rotation, shift work, and flexible work schedules to leverage the beneficial aspects of job interactions while avoiding the negative aspects of regulating emotions.

Click here to read “The Role of Occupational Emotional Labor Requirements on the Surface Acting–Job Satisfaction Relationship,” by Devasheesh P. Bhave of Singapore Management University and Theresa M. Glomb of the University of Minnesota, forthcoming in the Journal of Management and now available in OnlineFirst.

This entry was posted in Emotion, Employee Satisfaction and tagged , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Senior Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s