Emotion work as a source of stress: The concept and the development of an instrument.
Zapf, D., Vogt, C., Seifert, C., Mertini, H., & Isic, A. (1999). Emotion work as a source of stress: The
concept and the development of an instrument.European Journal of Work and Organizational
Psychology, 8, 371 - 400
Emotion work as a source of stress: The concept and the development of an instrument.
This article was downloaded by: [University of Barcelona]On: 19 February 2012, At: 06:13Publisher: Psychology PressInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales RegisteredNumber: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ pewo20 Emotion Work as a Source of Stress: The Concept and Development of an Instrument Dieter Zapf, Christoph Vogt, Claudia Seifert, Heidrun Mertini & Amela Isic Available online: 10 Sep 2010To cite this article: Dieter Zapf, Christoph Vogt, Claudia Seifert,Heidrun Mertini & Amela Isic (1999): Emotion Work as a Source ofStress: The Concept and Development of an Instrument, EuropeanJournal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8:3, 371-400To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/135943299398230PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE
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372 ZAPF ET AL. psychological stressors. Although the former were explicitly mentioned, the aspects these psychological stressors should comprise were not. Most studies on psychological stressors at work measure stressors that are related to the work tasks and to the organization of work (cf. Kahn & Byosiere, 1992; Zapf, Dormann, & Frese, 1996). Typical examples are quantitative and qualitative overload or time pressure. There are only a few approaches that try to systematize psychological job stressors based on a general framework. The most prominent approaches use role theory to link different role demands such as role conflict, role ambiguity and role overload to psychological stress (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964). Another approach is the differentiation of job stressors according to their effect on action regulation (Frese & Zapf, 1994;Downloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 Greiner & Leitner, 1989; Semmer, 1984; Semmer, Zapf, & Dunckel, 1995, 1999; Zapf, 1993). Basically, these stressors are of a cognitive nature, that is, working conditions are considered to be stressful because they negatively affect various aspects of information processing during task execution and because they require mental effort. Examples are time pressure, interruptions, concentration necessities or uncertainty at work. Another perspective examines psychological stressors associated with social relations at work. Scales addressing social stressors (Frese & Zapf, 1987) or interpersonal conflict scales (Spector, 1987) measure conflicts, animosities, verbal aggression and unjust behaviour at work. The theories underlying these kinds of stressors typically relate to conflict and aggression. Burnout is yet another research area that points to job requirements not included in the concepts of psychological job stressors mentioned so far. Burnout was first investigated in the helping professions (Maslach, 1982; Maslach & Leiter, 1997; Schaufeli & Buunk, 1996; Schaufeli & Enzmann, 1998; Schaufeli, Maslach, & Marek, 1993). It is argued that the personal relationships with patients, clients, or children are very demanding and require a high amount of empathy and emotional involvement. This is usually combined with a high aspiration level to build up personal relationships and avoid treating other people like objects. In these professions, the management of emotions is considered a central part of work. Burnout is then an indication that employees are no longer able to adequately manage their emotions when interacting with clients. It is a syndrome consisting of three aspects: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment (Maslach & Jackson, 1986). It is argued that, in the long run, burnout leads to psychosomatic complaints, depression, and other long-term stress effects. A recent meta-analysis (Lee & Ashforth, 1996) of the existing literature found role stress to be one of the best predictors of burnout variables. Interestingly, studies on burnout did not try to directly measure the emotional aspects at work. Rather, these aspects were taken as a given by doing research with samples where emotional job requirements could be taken for granted. Instead, various job stressors, such as role conflict, role ambiguity, time pressure, and lack of job control were measured.
EMOTION WORK 373 It is only recently that authors tried to investigate the relationships between more direct measures of emotional aspects at work and psychological strain (e.g. Abraham, 1998; Adelmann, 1995; Brotheridge & Lee, 1998; Grandey, 1998; Morris & Feldman, 1997). These authors referred to the concept of emotional labour introduced by Arlie Russell Hochschild (1983). This concept refers to the quality of interactions between employees and clients. The term “clients” is used to refer to any person who interacts with an employee, for example, clients, patients, children, customers, or guests. During face-to-face interactions with clients many employees are required to express appropriate emotions as a job requirement, for example, waiters or flight attendants are required to be friendly even to arrogant or aggressive customers. Hochschild drew upon the work ofDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 Goffman (1959) to argue that people in social interactions tend to play roles and try to create certain impressions. Impressions include the display of normatively appropriate emotions following certain display rules. In this respect, Morris and Feldman (1996, p. 987) defined emotional labour as the “effort, planning, and control needed to express organizationally desired emotions during interpersonal transactions”. It was our intention to investigate whether job requirements that refer to the regulation of emotions could supplement the concepts of psychological job stressors mentioned previously that refer to the regulation of cognition or information processing. Hochschild, as a sociologist, differentiated between emotional labour as the exchange value of work and emotional work as the use value. In the present context, the psychological processes, for example, the regulation processes of work actions rather than societal and economic aspects of labour are considered. In psychology, the term “labour” is used to describe the division of labour, labour–management relations, conflict resolution, and collective bargaining. The term is not used when individual behaviour and intrapsychic concepts are involved as in the concepts of physical and mental work demands, work motivation, work involvement, work design, etc. To be compatible with these research areas, the term “emotion work” is preferred. In sum, emotion work possesses the following characteristics (Hochschild, 1983; Morris & Feldman, 1997): (1) It is a significant component of jobs that require either face-to-face or voice-to voice interactions with clients. This refers to the service sector, in particular human services, but also to teachers, police, correctional workers, debt collectors, and others. It should be noted that not all jobs that require face-to-face interactions with clients belong to the service sector and that defining service is problematic (Nerdinger, 1994). We will use the term “person-related work” as an umbrella term for all jobs that require face-to-face or voice-to-voice interactions with clients. (2) Emotions in these jobs are displayed to influence other people’s attitudes and behaviours, usually by influencing their emotional state. For example, a child nurse may show sympathy and talk to a hurt child in a soft calming voice to make the child stop crying and cheer her up. (3) The display of emotions has to follow certain rules. At present, many
374 ZAPF ET AL. companies do not have explicit display rules as a part of the organizational culture or as part of their job descriptions, in particular not in Continental Europe. However, mission statements of companies sometimes incorporate display rules and there may be implicit display rules taught in one’s occupational education or as part of one’s professional ethos, for example, in the case of a nurse (Briner, 1995). In other cases, it may be the professional experience that you can’t sell anything if you are not polite, friendly, and helpful. Employers differ in their attempts to control and direct how employees display emotions to clients. In some cases, it is part of the supervisors’ jobs to take care that display rules are observed. Increasingly, companies ask customers to evaluate whether they were treated in a friendly manner.Downloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 A number of studies operationalized emotion work as a dichotomous variable indicating the presence or absence of emotion work in an occupation (Hochschild, 1983; Wharton, 1993). Hochschild suggested that emotion work depends on the frequency of interpersonal contact between employee and client, thus conceiving emotion work as an unidimensional construct negatively correlated with employees’ health. Accordingly, some authors (e.g. Adelmann, 1995) operationalized one scale for emotion work. However, these studies could not find the expected negative relations between emotion work and psychological strain, suggesting that more differentiated concepts should be used. Other authors have worked on the differentiation of various aspects of emotion work, many of them referring to the seminal work of Morris and Feldman (1996). Some started with Hochschild’s (1983) concept of emotion management to differentiate various dimensions of emotion work (e.g. Grandy, 1998; Kruml & Geddes, 1998). Other authors focused on determinants of emotion work in the sense of “objective” job requirements: This emphasizes that it is not in the discretion of the employee whether or not to express certain emotions in a job. Rather, independent of a particular worker, it is required by the organization and may be an explicit or implicit rule. Approaches referring to the concept of emotion management differentiated it based on how emotion work is done. One aspect differentiates between surface acting and deep acting. Based on Goffman (1959), Hochschild (1983) argued that individuals permanently manage their outer demeanour to conform with situational requirements. Most emotion theorists propose that emotions consist of several sub-systems (see Scherer, 1997): subjective feeling, physiological reaction patterns, and expressive behaviour, the latter including facial expression, voice and gesture. With reference to these concepts, surface acting means that employees try to manage the visible aspects of emotions that appear on the “surface” to bring them in line with the organizational display rules, while the inner feelings remain unchanged. Another concept of Hochschild is “active deep acting” when individuals try to influence what they feel in order to “become” the role they are asked to display. In this case, not only the expressive behaviour but also the inner feelings are regulated. Active deep acting refers to
EMOTION WORK 375 the case where an employee has to spend effort to regulate emotions. In other cases, an employee may automatically feel the emotion required in a particular situation. Hochschild called such forms “passive deep acting”. Most studies of emotion work include the concept of emotional dissonance (e.g. Abraham, 1998; Brotheridge & Lee, 1998; Grandey, 1998; Morris & Feldman, 1996, 1997). Emotional dissonance occurs when an employee is required to express emotions that are not genuinely felt in the particular situation. A person may feel nothing when a certain emotion display is required, or the display rule may require the suppression of undesired emotions and the expression of neutrality or a positive emotion instead of a negative one. Emotional dissonance may originate from “faking in good faith” when theDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 employee accepts the underlying display rule or from “faking in bad faith” when the feeling rule is not accepted (Hochschild. 1983; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987). Various authors (e.g. Abraham, 1998; Adelmann, 1995) propose that faking in bad faith has the most negative consequences. Based on this, Grandey (1998) and Kruml and Geddes (1998) identified two dimensions: emotional dissonance and emotional effort. Emotional dissonance refers to Hochschild’s concept of surface acting and passive deep acting (automatic emotion regulation), which are considered to be the opposite ends of a continuum. If an employee spontaneously feels the emotion, emotional dissonance is low; if he or she feels nothing or the opposite emotion, emotional dissonance is high. Emotional effort refers to the degree to which employees actively try to change their inner feelings to match the feelings they are expected to express. According to Kruml and Geddes, this dimension incorporates Hochschild’s (1983) active deep acting. Both dimensions showed a high correlation in the studies of Grandey. In conceptualizing emotion work as the behavioural response to variations in the frequency, variety, intensity, and duration of interactions, Brotheridge and Lee (1998, p. 7) used the term “emotional labour” to refer to “actions undertaken as a means of addressing role demands”. In this sense, operationalizations of emotion work come close to the concept of coping in stress research (Lazarus & Folkman,1984; Semmer, 1996). The authors operationalized surface acting and deep acting as the key constructs for emotion work. Deep acting refers to the active attempts to align one’s felt and displayed emotion, which means that the inner feelings have to be adapted to the emotions that have to be displayed. In contrast, surface acting means pretending to have the emotions expected to be displayed. In this case, employees do not try to feel the emotions they have to display. Brotheridge and Lee considered surface acting as the manifestation and even a proxy for emotional dissonance. Morris and Feldman (1996) concentrated on what they called dimensions of emotion work: the frequency of emotion display, the attentiveness to display rules required (referring to the intensity and duration of emotion display), the variety of emotions to be expressed, and emotional dissonance. They argued that
376 ZAPF ET AL. all these dimensions of emotion work would increase emotional exhaustion, the core variable of burnout. To conclude: Most authors consider the frequency, variety, duration, and attentiveness of emotions as dimensions of emotion work. Emotional dissonance is viewed somewhat differently. Several authors consider it to be a result of the determinants of emotion work (e.g. Adelmann, 1995); some authors even place it close to the dependent variables (e.g. Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). However, there is some agreement to define emotional dissonance as the discrepancy between displayed and felt emotions (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998; Morris & Feldman, 1996, 1997) and to consider it as one of the key predictors of emotional exhaustion. Brotheridge and Lee (1998) proposed that the emotionalDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 requirements at work do not directly lead to emotional exhaustion but may do so through their relation with emotional dissonance. Several attempts have been made to operationalize aspects of emotion work. Morris and Feldman (1997) operationalized three aspects of emotion work: the frequency of emotion work, the duration of emotion work, and emotional dissonance. For the frequency and duration scales they did not directly refer to emotion display but referred to the frequency and time interacting with clients, whereas emotional dissonance items directly referred to the match between displayed behaviour and felt emotions. Brotheridge and Lee (1998) and Grandey (1998) followed the model proposed by Morris and Feldman (1996) and operationalized scales for the dimensions of emotion work as frequency, variety, attentiveness, and duration (single item), and emotional dissonance, surface acting, and deep acting as the core variables of emotion work. In the first study of Brotheridge and Lee (1998), a factor analysis produced four factors collapsing emotional dissonance and surface acting into one factor, and intensity, variety, and duration into another. The two other factors were deep acting and frequency of emotional display. In a second study, the authors were able to distinguish frequency, variety, intensity, and duration, and surface acting and deep acting. Best, Downey, and Jones (1997) measured how often different emotions were expected on the job. Using factor analyses, they found three factors representing the expression of positive emotions, suppressing negative emotions and expressing negative emotions, whereby the latter showed a low reliability and a low response frequency. Abraham (1998) operationalized emotional dissonance using items from Adelmann (1995) that referred to display rules in the organization. She then developed identical items rephrased to reflect the degree to which the respondents would actually show the corresponding emotions. Difference scores of the respective items were then computed to reflect emotional dissonance. For the present studies we combined the literature on emotion work described previously with action theory-based approaches in stress research (Frese & Zapf, 1994; Greiner & Leitner, 1989; Zapf, 1993). “Work” or “labour” is a multidisciplinary concept. Hacker (1973, 1998) and Volpert (1974) argued that
EMOTION WORK 377 the psychological component of work is the work activity and from the perspective of action theory it is the psychic regulation of work actions. Through various cognitive processes, action theory links the objective work environment to behaviour. To describe job requirements, three aspects are distinguished: the regulation requirements of a task, regulation possibilities, and regulation problems (for details, see Frese & Zapf, 1994; Zapf, 1993). From an action-oriented perspective, regulation requirements are related to properties of the hierarchic-sequential organization of action and comprise the complexity of decisions, the number and connectedness of goals and sub-goals, and the extent of conscious vs. automatic regulation processes. Regulation possibilities refer to the concept of control. Control means having an impact onDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 one’s conditions and on one’s activities in correspondence with some goal. Decision possibilities exist with regard to the sequence of the action steps, the timeframe, and the content of goals and plans (Frese, 1987). Several authors have operationalized various aspects of control, such as task control referring to decision possibilities regarding the goals to be carried out, the sequence of plans to be performed, and the sequence of feedback information processing. Time control, for example, refers to both when and for how long a certain task is performed (e.g. Frese & Zapf, 1994, Semmer, et al. 1995; Wall, Jackson, Mullarkey, & Parker, 1996; Zapf, 1993). Regulation problems are an action theory conceptualization of work stressors. The stressors are differentiated according to how they disturb the regulation of actions (Frese & Zapf, 1994; Greiner & Leitner, 1989; Semmer, 1984). There is evidence that regulation requirements, regulation possibilities, and regulation problems are differentially related to health and well-being and that this differentiation helps to overcome a stimulus-response framework where every characteristic of the job has negative consequences and where “doing nothing” would be the best concept to avoid stress at work. In contrast, action theory proposes that human beings usually try to actively cope with their environment. In this sense, job design should support this active approach by providing challenging (i.e. sufficiently complex) tasks (regulation requirements) and control (regulation possibilities), but at the same time, reducing the stressors (regulation problems). Regulation requirements are relevant to the concept of personality enhancement (Hacker, 1973, 1998; see also Frese & Zapf, 1994). This means that they enable one to develop cognitive and social skills, and further satisfaction and self-esteem. They follow the person–environment fit model (Edwards & van Harrison, 1993): They are positive as long as they are matched by personal prerequisites and they become negative when they exceed them. Research shows that regulation possibilities (control) typically show a direct positive effect as well as a moderating effect between stressors and strains (e.g. Kahn & Byosiere, 1992). In contrast, regulation problems (stressors) have negative health effects. Stressors are in a sense independent of the person– environment fit, because people want challenging tasks, but they do not need a
378 ZAPF ET AL. minimal amount of conflicts, time pressure or superfluous organizational problems to feel happy. Using an action theory framework, the psychological focus of the present study was on the regulation of emotion display according to a goal given by the organization. In this sense, emotion work is part of intentional and goal-directed behaviour. From the organization, an employee receives an order to carry out a certain task in a certain way. This includes behaving according to the emotional display rules of the organization. The order is then redefined into a subjective goal (Hackman, 1970). Emotion work usually refers to a sub-goal of a higher order goal and requires certain emotion display during an interaction with a client. Ideally, emotion work is done in the automatic mode, that is, the emotionDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 is automatically shown in the social interaction as required (cf. Scherer & Wallbott, 1990). In this sense, the concept of emotion work differs from approaches that investigate emotions as a response to a variety of organizational conditions (e.g. Basch & Fisher, 1998). Emotion work poses various demands on the worker. This view considers the job requirement aspects of emotion work and is congruent with the idea that objective job characteristics or job stressors created by the organization affect the workers in various ways (Frese & Zapf, 1988, 1994; Spector, 1992). This approach conforms to the behaviour requirement approach in job analysis research (Hackman, 1970). Because our goal was to develop an instrument that should be used in addition to other instruments in the analysis of stress at work, we did not intend to operationalize all aspects of emotion work separately, but we used these concepts for the development of items. However, because of the empirical findings of Best et al. (1997), Brotheridge and Lee (1998), and Grandey (1998) we expected that the items of emotional requirements would represent at least two factors, namely the frequency and the variety/intensity of emotion work. We did not model the duration aspect. The reason is that the emotion work components were developed in the context of stress research where the frequency of emotion work seems to be most relevant. If intensity only is measured there should not necessarily be a strong relation with variables such as burnout, because the more intense emotions could be more seldom. Similarly, if variety of emotions is measured, the problem occurs that a high variety in general might be more stressful than a low variety but it may not occur very often. In the present study we partly tried to circumvent this problem by asking, for example, how often both positive and negative emotions have to be displayed. In addition to the work of Hochschild (1983), we drew upon concepts of emotion work that put the influence and management of clients’ emotions into the foreground (e.g. Brucks, 1998; Strauss, Farahaugh, Suczek, & Wiener, 1980; Strazdins, 1998). To be able to manage clients emotions, the accurate perception of the clients’ emotions is an important prerequisite. This is also in accord with communication psychology (Riggio, 1986) and the literature on emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995, 1998). Riggio operationalized basic social skills
EMOTION WORK 379 that are related to the regulation of emotions and differentiated sensitivity, expression, and control of emotions. Expression and control refer to the emotional requirements described previously. In addition, we operationalized “sensitivity requirements” as the necessity to be sensitive and consider the emotions of clients. It can be expected that sensitivity requirements are positively correlated with emotional requirements because the expression of an emotion during an interaction usually is dependent on the emotion of the interaction partner. Only in short script-like interactions might a person express emotions without trying to sense the emotion of others. In his qualitative study on supermarket clerks’ performance, Tolich (1993) argued that the presence or absence of control over one’s emotion display is oneDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 of the important issues of emotion work. He differentiated regulated emotion management from autonomous emotion management. Referring to the dif- ferentiation of various aspects of job control (regulation possibilities) mentioned earlier, emotion work control was operationalized as a special case of job control with regard to the display of emotions (in the sense of Tolich’s autonomous emotion management) and interaction control as a special case with regard to the underlying social interactions where emotions have to be displayed. Emotion work control refers to the extent to which an employee can decide whether or not to show a desired emotion. Emotion work control is probably lower when display rules have been made explicit in an organization, but this should not be necessarily so. Waitresses in restaurants may have to follow certain display rules, but there may be differences in how often and in what cases the waitresses are empowered to deviate from the rules. As described previously, some authors have operationalized emotion work by operationalizing aspects of the underlying social situation (e.g Adelmann, 1995; Morris & Feldman, 1997). In a similar way we operationalized the control of the social interaction, that is the degree of influence an employee has in social interactions with clients. An example is whether an employee can decide when to stop an interaction with a client. There are several reasons why we included the concepts of emotion work control and interaction control. First, they are part of the action theory framework we applied to emotion work. Second, qualitative research done by Hochschild (1983), Rafaeli (1989) and Tolich (1993) pointed to the importance of this concept. Third, the study of Erickson (1991, cited in Abraham, 1998) showed some evidence that the moderating effect of job control applied when emotional dissonance is involved and that this effect might be even stronger when the control concept is matched to the stressor (cf. the analogy of the match- hypothesis of stressors and social support of Cohen & Wills, 1985). Finally, emotional dissonance was considered as an emotion regulation problem. As in most of the other approaches, it is defined as the mismatch between felt emotions and the organizationally desired expression of these emotions. We considered emotional dissonance as an external demand rather than a reaction to emotion display or a behavioural strategy. One could argue
380 ZAPF ET AL. that, given a certain requirement for frequency and content (positive or negative emotion), it should then depend on the employee and his or her personality to what extent he or she feels in line with the required emotions. In this sense, emotional dissonance would be a stress reaction and a first sign of emotional exhaustion. However, there are qualitative differences in social situations that are not sufficiently described by the parameters for display rules. This is because the display rules describe the desired state of emotion display, but they do not comprise anything about how often individuals are exposed to situations where they have to show the required emotions. Moreover, they do not reflect other factors, namely how positive or negative the social interaction is, which may influence what people feel and whether this fits to the emotion required by theDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 display rule for this particular situation. Compare, for example, a nurse in a children’s hospital and a nurse in a retirement home. The display rules of showing friendliness and empathy may be the same, and frequency and duration of interactions may be similar, leading to similar required display rates of positive emotions, but the nurse in the retirement home may encounter many more situations where an average person feels disgust or anger. Similarly, cashiers of a supermarket chain may all have the same requirements to display positive emotions to customers, and the number of customers determining the frequency of emotional requirements may be similar. However, depending on where a supermarket is located, there may be differing frequencies of encounters with complaining or otherwise negatively behaving customers, which is a good predictor of negative emotions of the employee (Doucet, 1998). Consequently, the number of situations where gaps between felt and desired emotions appear may differ considerably. The discrepancy between what an average person is likely to feel and what the respective display rule is, varies from situation to situation. Therefore, the aspects covered by the concept of emotional dissonance are not covered by the frequency and other parameters of emotional requirements because they all refer to the display rules and to more formal characteristics of social interaction, such as frequency and duration, and not to the quality of the actual situations and the resulting differing discrepancies between display rules and average emotions in a given situation. Two more issues should be mentioned with regard to emotional dissonance. First, some authors focus on the display of emotions required by the organization, no matter what a person feels (e.g. Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). Display of emotion refers to facial expression, bodily behaviour, and voice. These are the visible aspects of the emotional system (Scherer, 1997; Scherer & Wallbott, 1990). If this is so, could then the display of emotions not be described by sensorimotor processes? The regulation of sensorimotor processes is, for example, a part of the action theory approach mentioned previously (Frese & Zapf, 1994; Hacker, 1998). According to action theory, sensorimotor processes are highly automatized. They are usually carried out in the automatic mode, that
EMOTION WORK 381 is, without conscious attention. This is also so with respect to the sensorimotor processes in the expression of emotion (Ekman, 1984; Izard, 1977; Scherer & Wallbott, 1990). If a certain emotion is felt, then the expression of this emotion automatically occurs whereby social competence may play a moderator role. If an emotion that has to be displayed, is not felt, then problems occur. In highly standardized situations it may be easy to fake. If this is not the case, then the true feelings may show through and may be recognized by other people (cf. Ekman & Friesen, 1982 who investigated the differences between true and faked smiling). In some cases, authenticity, that is not faking, may even be a key variable, for example, for therapists in encounter therapy (Rogers, 1951). Hochschild (1983) also raised the problems of surface acting and discussed that even in servicesDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 such as airlines deep acting is required. Employees are required to feel the emotions they should feel because otherwise there is the danger that it would not work. Findings in social psychology showed that people can sometimes tell when someone is faking a friendly face (Ekman & Friesen, 1982). Therefore, emotional dissonance as a job stressor should lead to both surface acting and deep acting as a reaction, implying that emotion work cannot be reduced to the sensorimotor regulation of emotional expression. This also shows the difference between emotional dissonance as a stressor and as a reaction. If deep acting was successful there is no internal state of emotional dissonance (emotional dissonance as a reaction or dimension of emotion work). However, deep acting can be a strategy to deal with the job stressor of emotional dissonance. Finally, emotional dissonance has to be discussed with reference to the differentiation of use value and exchange value of work (Hochschild, 1983; Marx, 1867/1977; Nerdinger, 1994). Hochschild (1983), who coined the term “emotional labour”, pointed out that “emotional labour is sold for a wage and therefore has exchange value” (p. 7). Nerdinger discussed in detail that, from the economic point of view, the work of the service provider is exchanged for money. However, in many cases the full service requires an interaction as if there were not an economic but a family-like relation. A therapist is expected to be truly interested in the client and not just because he or she is paid for it. Similarly, parents know that child nursing is a job and that the nurses work for money. Nevertheless they wish that the nurses really love their children. Nerdinger pointed out that the social interaction is not only a means to deliver the service but is part of the service product. Thus, a service employee may face contradictory expectations given by the personal interaction with the client (who, for example, may want advice) and the economic interests of his or her employer (who may insist on high sales). Moreover, the requirements of the organization itself may be ambiguous. A computer hot-liner may be required to be customer friendly, but, at the same time limit talks with customers to 5 minutes. One can hypothesize that such contradictory job requirements are a source of emotional dissonance in any kind of person-related work.
382 ZAPF ET AL. In sum, applying the concept of action theory to emotion work first leads to integrating the special control concepts described earlier. Second, it helps to understand that emotion work is not necessarily negative but has also positive implications. To explore the construct validity of the instruments developed for the present studies, we developed several hypotheses. Hypothesis 1: Emotion work is a multidimensional construct Within emotion work, emotional requirements, emotion control, and emotional dissonance can be distinguished. The differences in these concepts have beenDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 described previously. Empirically, this hypothesis is supported by most findings in the literature so far with regard to emotional requirements and emotional dissonance (e.g. Brotheridge & Lee, 1998; Grandey, 1998; Morris & Feldman, 1997). We are not aware of studies that operationalized a concept equivalent to emotion work control or interaction control. Also, the fact that studies that did not differentiate between various aspects of emotion work did not find the expected results (Adelmann, 1995), supports the view that emotion work is not a homogeneous construct. Hypothesis 2(a): Emotional requirement scales are positively correlated It is expected that the various aspects of emotional requirements are highly correlated, whereas emotional requirements and emotional dissonance should show a positive but lower correlation. The reason is that all emotional requirements are a function of the interaction time with clients and the existence of display rules. In contrast to Morris and Feldman (1996), most of the items of the present study have a frequency component. The more interactions a person has with a client, the more this person is supposed to show positive and negative emotions. In addition, the sensitivity requirements should also be high. Sensitivity requirements should be positively correlated with the other scales because the expression of emotion should in most cases be dependent on the emotions of the interaction partner,which have to be adequately perceived. Hypothesis 2(b): Emotional requirement scales are also positively correlated with emotional dissonance The frequency of emotional dissonance also depends on the frequency of interactions. Therefore, emotional dissonance should be positively correlated with the emotional requirement scales. However, because emotional dissonance is also a function of how pleasant or unpleasant the social interactions are, the correlations are expected to be lower than the correlations amongst the emotional requirement scales, which all mainly depend on the interaction frequency. In
EMOTION WORK 383 addition, Morris and Feldman (1996) proposed that the higher the frequency of emotion display, the higher is the chance that emotions have to be displayed that do not fit the emotions felt. A similar argument applies for the variety of emotions. For variety of emotions it can be added that it is more likely that employees have problems with negative emotions compared to positive emotions. With regard to the correlation between emotional requirement variables and emotional dissonance, the empirical findings are mixed. Grandey (1998) found a correlation between suppressing negative emotions and emotional dissonance, but not between expressing positive emotions and emotional dissonance. Also, Brotheridge and Lee (1998) found a correlation between frequency of emotion display and emotional dissonance.Downloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 Hypothesis 2(c): Emotion control is negatively related with emotional dissonance There is evidence in the stress literature that control is negatively related to job stressors. Abraham (1998) was able to demonstrate such a relationship for job autonomy and emotional dissonance. This negative relation should also occur for specific control measures such as emotion work control and interaction control, especially if the specific control variables match the specific kinds of stressors, which should be the case in the present study. Hypothesis 3: There are both positive and negative relations between emotional requirements and strain and well-being Much of the literature addressed the negative effects of emotion work (e.g Adelmann, 1995; Hochschild, 1983). Most often scholars cited the negative relations with burnout, hypothesizing that emotion work would increase emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and would reduce personal accomplishment. Some authors discussed relationships with poor self-esteem and depression. Hochschild, in particular, referred to the problem of alienation from one’s true feelings. A few authors, however, also referred to potential positive effects such as job satisfaction, self-esteem, and self-efficacy (e.g. Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993; Morris & Feldman, 1997; Stenross & Kleinman, 1989; Tolich, 1993; Wharton, 1993). Drawing parallels with action theory-based concepts of work characteristics (Frese & Zapf, 1994; Hacker, 1998), it can be assumed that work in general is not either positive or negative. Rather, a challenging job may comprise positive job content variables such as job control, complexity, or variety at work, but challenging jobs often go along with high quantitative workload and uncertainty at work. Similarly, it is not assumed that emotion work is generally either negative or positive. On the one hand, emotion work is laborious and effortful. Therefore, if a high frequency of emotional display and a variety of emotions are
384 ZAPF ET AL. required this should lead to psychological strain, especially to emotional exhaustion (Morris & Feldman, 1996). When emotional requirements exceed certain limits the likelihood increases that the emotions that have to be expressed do not match the emotions that are felt at that moment. That is, in line with the person–environment fit model (e.g. Edwards & van Harrison, 1993), if emotional requirements are frequent and last for a long time, their effects on well-being should be negative. This assumption is supported by findings in the burnout literature. Maslach (1982) stated that frequent, intense, and charging face-to-face interactions were associated with higher levels of emotional exhaustion. Cordes and Dougherty (1993) in their review reported that longer interactions with clients were associated with higher levels of burnout. Morris and Feldman (1997)Downloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 considered emotional exhaustion as the key consequence of emotion work. Reviewing the empirical literature, however, shows that the expected correla- tions between emotional requirements and emotional exhaustion were often not (Adelmann, 1995; Morris & Feldman, 1997) or only occasionally found (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998; Grandey, 1998). For Morris and Feldman, this may be due to the fact that they did not directly refer to the frequency or duration of emotional display but to the underlying social interaction. Although empirical findings are mixed here, it is assumed that variables representing emotional requirements are positively correlated with emotional exhaustion and other variables of psychological strain. Based on the literature on the affiliation motive it can be assumed that dealing with other people and expressing emotions when interacting with these people satisfies affiliation, status, and recognition needs, for example, by showing altruistic behaviour (e.g. Bierhoff, 1990; Hill, 1987). In many cases, the expression of emotion can be thought of as a spontaneous process experienced not to be effortful at all (cf. Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993; Scherer & Wallbott, 1990), but contributing to a social situation with positive consequences for the employee concerned. The intentional expression of positive emotions usually increases the probability of the interaction partner to show reciprocal positive emotions in return (Wiemann & Giles, 1997). This can be perceived as positive feedback contributing to the employee’s satisfaction and self-esteem. Adelmann (1995) referred to the facial feedback hypothesis to argue for positive effects of emotion work. There is at least some evidence for the weak form of this hypothesis: In an experiment, Strack, Stepper, and Martin (1988) showed that participants whose muscle groups necessary for laughing were stimulated found a movie more funny in comparison to a group whose laughing muscles were inhibited. There is, indeed, some evidence of the positive implications of emotion work. On a qualitative level, Tolich (1993) described supermarket clerks who enjoyed showing prescribed emotions in the form of jokes or entertainment of customers who chose their checkout lines. Stenross and Kleinman (1989) reported that detectives positively assessed interrogations with criminal suspects because this
EMOTION WORK 385 played a central role for goal achievement, namely, solving a case. Wharton (1993) found a positive relation with job satisfaction and Grandey (1998) reported a positive correlation between expressing positive emotions and job satisfaction. Based on these considerations and empirical findings it was expected that emotional requirement variables are positively correlated with personal accomplishment, self-esteem, and job satisfaction. Hypothesis 4: Emotion work control and interaction control have a positive effect on health Emotion work-related control is conceptualized as a special case of jobDownloaded by [University of Barcelona] at 06:13 19 February 2012 control concerning the possibility to decide whether or not one likes to express emotions in a certain situation. In many studies on job stress (e.g. Kahn & Byiosiere, 1992) it has been shown that job control is typically positively related to well-being. Therefore, it can be expected that this is also true for the special cases of emotion work control and interaction control. There is no direct empirical evidence so far. However, on a qualitative level, it has been shown that the exertion of control in social interactions was perceived to be positive and that employees struggled for control in interactions with clients (Rafaeli, 1989; Tolich, 1993). Hypothesis 5: Emotional dissonance is negatively related with health Hochschild (1983) was the first who described the negative effects when positive emotions have to be displayed when either nothing is felt or if the felt emotions are even in contrast to the displayed emotions. Hochschild asserted that if employees do not feel what they ought to feel, they may blame themselves and feel phony and hypocritical. This may result in low self-esteem (Kruml & Geddes, 1998). In such cases, they may also start to blame the company, which is likely to go along with decreased job satisfaction. Rafaeli and Sutton (1987) argued that emotional dissonance is a form of person–role conflict (Kahn et al., 1964), which means that one has to do things that are against one’s better judgement. Because role conflict is a strong predictor of emotional exhaustion (cf. the meta-analysis of Lee & Ashforth, 1996), it was hypothesized that emotional dissonance is also a strong predictor of exhaustion. All in all, the clearest empirical relation between emotion work variables and psychological strain occurred for emotional dissonance and emotional exhaustion (Abraham, 1998; Brotheridge & Lee, 1998; Grandey, 1998; Morris & Feldman, 1997) and depersonalization (Grandey, 1998). Mostly, no relationship was found for relations with personal accomplishment (Grandey, 1998). Empirical evidence on the relation between emotional dissonance and job satisfaction is mixed. Morris and Feldman found a negative relation between emotional dissonance and job satisfaction, whereas Grandey (1998) did not.