ON THE MEANING OF EMOTION WORK (EMOTIONAL LABOR) IN VARIOUS KINDS OF SERVICE WORK
Zapf, D., J. W. Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany
Emotion work (emotional labor) is defined as emotional regulation required to display organizationally desired emotions by the employees. It has received increased attention because it is relevant in the service industry where social interactions with customers, clients or patients are a significant part of the job. Empirical studies found equivocal effects which indicates that emotion work is a multidimensional construct with dimensions having positive and other dimensions having negative health effects. In the present approach, the following aspects of emotion work were differentiated: emotional regulation requirements: (1) the requirement to express positive emotions; (2) the requirement to express negative emotions, (3) requirement to be sensitive to clients' emotions; (4) emotional dissonance: the expression of emotions which are not felt. Analyses were based on a random sample (total N=405) of non-service workers, object-oriented service workers (e.g., sales people, bank employees) and person-oriented service workers (e.g., nurses, teachers). It was hypothesized that emotional dissonance is the stressful aspect of emotion work whereas the mere frequency of interaction with customers or clients can also be positive. Moreover, it was hypothesized that (relatively) high requirements to express negative emotions can be an indicator of good performance in person-oriented service work, thus leading to feelings of personal accomplishment, whereas in most object oriented services sectors such as banks, negative emotions are almost always an indicator of unsuccessful management of interactions with customers. These hypotheses were confirmed by the data.