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Emotional Labor and Emotional Exhaustion

By rajeevreddya Jan 10, 2014 791 Words
Emotional Labor and Emotional Exhaustion
Magdalene Ang Chooi Hwa (December 2012)
‘Emotional Labor and Emotional Exhaustion’, Journal Of Management Research Volume 12, Issue No. 3, Page No. 115 – 127
This study examines the emotional labor process, operationalized as surface acting and deep acting, as performed by hotel employees in Sabah, Malaysia. It also investigates the influence of emotional labor on emotional exhaustion, and the potential role of co-worker support in moderating the proposed relationship. Very often, employees are expected to conform to the expectations about emotional display even when they conflict with inner feeling. When this conflict results in individuals suppressing genuine emotion or expressing fake emotion, the work or effort involved in doing so is termed “EMOTIONAL LABOR”. Emotional labor is “the process of regulating both feelings and expressions for organizational goals”. Two main techniques of managing one’s emotion in the workplace—surface acting and deep acting - Surface acting relates to managing observable expressions, whereas deep acting corresponds to managing feelings.

EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION is a stress outcome that occurs when an employee is in the state of depleted energy. This state is consequential when an employee is emotionally overextended in interactions with customers, with little resource to recuperate from the drain on emotional resources. The co-worker support in moderating the influence of emotional labor on emotional exhaustion. Co-worker support should help to create a positive working environment, which by extension should minimize the need to engage in emotional labor when the display rules are positive.

A study was conducted to examine Emotional labor and Emotional exhaustion. The three main objectives of the study are: (a) to examine the relationships between emotional labor (i.e., surface acting and deep acting) and emotional exhaustion of frontline hotel employees; (b) to investigate the moderating role of co-worker support on the proposed relationship; and (c) to make recommendations on best practices in minimizing, if not eliminating, the adverse consequences of emotional labor.

The study was carried out on a sample of 137 hotel workers. 26 hotels were approached for the study, out of which 16 hotels agreed for the study. A total of 170 questionnaires were distributed to 16 hotels. At the end of the data collection period, a total of 139 questionnaires were obtained. The Likert response (1 = Never to 5 = Always) scale was used to measure the different dimensions of the questionnaire. The statistical techniques of correlations, regression analysis ant the Moderating role of co- worker support were used on the sample data.

Surface acting was positively related to emotional exhaustion. Deep acting was negatively related to Gender. This suggests significant difference between males and females with regard to performance of deep acting such that female employees were engaged in deep acting more than their male counterparts. Emotional exhaustion was regressed on both surface acting and deep acting. The results indicated that surface acting and deep acting was significant predictors of emotional exhaustion. Surface acting was positively linked to emotional exhaustion whereas deep acting negatively predicted emotional exhaustion.

New findings emerged from this study. Female employees were found engaged in deep acting more than their male counterparts. The reason could be that women are more adept at building relationships and as such are better socialized when compared to men. This socialization may lead women to perform deeper acting to adhere to positive display rules. Hence, training and education in emotion management should also be gender specific.

Performing surface acting is detrimental to employee’s well-being. Conversely, performing deep acting can help alleviate emotional exhaustion. It can thus be surmised that employees are better off to actually feel the organizationally mandated emotion rather than just “faking it” as less emotional exhaustion is likely with deep acting method. A crucial message for hotel managers is that education and training may be necessary to help employees use more appropriate and beneficial methods to manage their emotions.

The findings of the study also suggest that perhaps hotel managers should carefully monitor the kind and level of support made available to the employees. It should be noted that this self-report methodology is still deemed appropriate for this study since it seeks to assess employees’ performance of emotional labor, attitudes, and perceived outcomes. A longitudinal study is highly recommended so that the consequences of emotional labor can be better gauged over a period of time.

With this study, we got to know the cause and effect relationship between emotional labor and emotional exhaustion. The research is a good research as it took into consideration all the aspects of a good research. The study took a large sample which is good. In the sample, the outliers were removed from the sample so that we get a good estimate and hence we give more precise analysis of the sample. Hence, we can say that it is a good research.

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