New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Neal M. Ashkanasy and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 18: Emotional Labour and Employee Well-being: An Integrative Review
David Holman, David Martinez-Iñigo and Peter Totterdell What I envy you, sir, is the luxury of your own feelings. I belong to a profession in which that luxury is sometimes denied us. (Mr Rugg, accountant and debt collector, speaking in Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens, 1857 , p. 299) Introduction Dickens draws attention to the way in which we sometimes have to constrain our emotional lives according to our occupational role, and the discomfort this can cause. Dickens was writing 150 years ago, but it was Hochschild’s seminal work in 1983, The Managed Heart, that ignited interest in how employees actively manage the feeling and expression of emotion as an essential requirement of their work role; and how this is done in accordance with organizational rules concerning the feeling and display of emotion. Hochschild also revealed that when the emotional feelings of employees do not match the rules of emotional display – such as when an employee feels sad but must appear enthusiastic to a customer – they often use one of two strategies to ensure that their actions are in line with the display rules. Deep acting alters felt emotion in order to change emotional display and produces a genuine emotional display, whereas surface acting only alters the outward expression of emotion and produces a faked emotional display. She called the process of managing emotions as part of the work role, ‘emotional labour’, and a central concern was how emotional labour, particularly the feelings of dissonance and inauthenticity that arise from...
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