Impact of Emotional Labour on Teaching Effectiveness: A Study of Higher Education in India

Article excerpt


Seminal work has been done in the field of Emotional Labor (EL) performed in higher education. A small number of cases in which it has been researched is in the feminist literature especially pertaining to health care units and other service sectors. Further, research activities on EL are grounded on the traditional service sector (Bagilhole &Goode 1998, Sachs & Blackmore 1998, Bellas 1999, Hort et al. 2001). However, recent research has also expanded to masculinity literature (Mann 1997, Harris 2002, Strongman & Wright 2008).

For the purpose of this paper, the belief that higher education is operating in the managerialism paradigm is advocated (White Paper 2003). This implies that B-schools in India are turning out to be business houses. In the light of this assumption, Willmott (1995) had asserted that the student is perceived as a customer and the degree awarded by a university is perceived as a passport to the corporate world. Thus, the role of the academics is that of a service provider who treats students as customers. Extensive research on service organizations has emerged with the finding that employees should perform as a customer/provider interface and it is a means to gain competitive advantage.

The customer driven system even demands that teaching staff perform EL so that negative emotions are under control, and not let the customers feel disgruntled. They expect its performance at the time of the execution of duties, thereby, adding value to the teaching and learning activity being experienced by the customers (students).

The employee's behaviour requires "emotional labour" (Hochschild 1983) where employee behaves as a front line manager not the management, has to either conceal or manage actual feelings for the benefit of a successful service delivery. Teaching staff, in higher education, are expected to perform EL in order to achieve the dual outcomes. This signifies that the generated outcomes are perceived as customer (Gibbs 2001) satisfaction, and profit for the management. The effect of EL can also be extended to teaching effectiveness. The present study aims at linking EL with teaching effectiveness.


Managerialism has emerged from critical literature (Willmott 1995, Mok 1997, Giroux 1999, Simkins 2000, Meyer 2002, O'Brien& Down 2002) which has thrown light on the changing paradigm of education institution where they are focusing on quality, efficiency, effectiveness, predictability and substitution of human technology with non- human technology (Ritzer 1993). The whole transformation of education institution to service provider encompasses formal and external inspection including evaluation of teaching and research paired with resource and financial implications. It is also called McDonalisation of education signifying standardization and control in higher education (Ritzer 1996). It emphasizes on the ideology of rationalization where the education institution fosters the rationalization of workplace and rationalized homes (Ritzer 1993). The education institute believes that student being customer it remits the message that the university has become part of the corporate agenda (Willmott 1995). It has transformed the degree into a commodity, in other words known as a "meal ticket". Further, the role of the academician is that of a service provider who treats the student as a customer as she (the academic) aims to receive excellent ratings, and thus continued tenure and research funding. Maaret Wager (2001) in a paper presented at a higher education conference informs us that more and more measures of performance serve to control and coerce academics. This kind of transition of role from academician to service provider generates incongruent demand within a role theory paradigm. Inside this conceptual framework, conflict manifests as the service provider violates the requirement of one role while fulfilling the demands of the other (Varca 2009). …