Personally committed to emotional labor: Surface acting, emotional exhaustion and performance among service employees with a strong need to belong

Dana Yagil, Hana Medler-Liraz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Individual differences in emotional labor and subsequent vulnerability to burnout have been explored through the prism of Congruence Theory, which examines the congruence between personality traits and job requirements (Bono & Vey, 2007; Moskowitz & Coté, 1995). Drawing on theory and research dealing with the association between the need to belong and self-regulation (Baumeister, DeWall, Ciarocco & Twenge, 2005), this study examined the relationship between need to belong and service employees' surface acting and associated outcomes. In Study 1, participants (N = 54) were asked to write a response to an aggressive email from a hypothetical customer. The need to belong was positively related to display of positive emotions and negatively to display of negative emotions in the responses, but not related to felt anger, suggesting that it is associated with the inclination to engage in surface acting. In Study 2, a field study conducted with 170 service employee-customer dyads, surface acting mediated the positive relationship between fear of isolation and emotional exhaustion, and emotional exhaustion mediated the relationship between surface acting and customer satisfaction. These results suggested that service employees with a strong need to belong might have a heightened risk of burnout because of their inclination to engage in emotional labor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-491
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Health Psychology
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.

Keywords

  • Burnout
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Emotional labor
  • Need to belong
  • Service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Applied Psychology

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