With the prevalence of service jobs, researchers have begun to pay attention to emotional labor in the workplace. Emotional labor refers to spontaneous manipulation of one’s feelings or/and expressions, in order to induce expected reaction of others (e.g. customers) or meet the organizational norms (Hochschild, 1983). Employees in service jobs commonly use emotional labor through two different strategies: surface acting and deep acting. Surface acting means the manipulation of the appeared expression; in contrast, deep acting refers to the adjustment of the internal feeling. In current study, we investigated the relationship between different acting strategies and burnout as well as job satisfaction. We also examined whether employees’ perceptions of customers’ social economic status and in-out group membership would affect their use of emotional labor strategies. Participants were employees from a jewelry store in China who completed surveys and interviews. Results showed that surface acting was positively correlated with emotional exhaustion, while deep acting was positively correlated with personal accomplishment. Employees used more deep acting if they perceived their customers as in-group members, indicating group membership as a predictor of deep acting. No correlation was found between acting strategies and depersonalization, job satisfaction, or perceived social economic status of customers. Several themes emerged from the interview responses. First, employees reported using emotional labor commonly at work and took it as a duty or a shaped habit. Second, whether employees were successful at selling influenced their emotions toward customers. Third, despite that some employees stated emotions should be left at home or with more intimate relationships, faking or hiding their emotions at work tended to put them in a worse mood and more stressed. Different ways of emotion management were mentioned, including diverting attention, self-persuasion, etc.
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Emotional Labor in China: Relationships with Burnout, Job Satisfaction, and Perceived Group Membership as Predictors.
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