Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Antecedents of Emotion Work in Customer Service Work

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Antecedents of Emotion Work in Customer Service Work

Article excerpt

In the present era of globalization, hierarchical management is encouraging its employees to participate actively in the decision making process. They use diversified teams to focus on various issues at a global level for providing quality services to the organization. Emotional regulation seems to play an important role while persuading the audience through social networking and personal face to face interaction. Employees put in their physical and mental labor along with their cognitive ability into the job. The study of emotions in organizations, thus, has become increasingly important in recent years especially in customer service work where employees are required to interact with their clients frequently as a part of their job profile. Such encounters often mandate that an employee should display certain emotions and suppress others (Hochschild, 1983; Ashforth & Humphrey, 1995). For example, bill collectors are expected to be angry and irritated (Rafaeli& Sutton, 1987), nurses are supposed to show caring and empathy (Zerbe, 2000), and customer service workers are expected to maintain 'service with a smile' (Hochschild, 1983; Pugh, 2001). In order to comply with such requirements, employees manipulate their emotional expressions. In this process, they tend to experience discordance between felt and displayed emotions by suppressing their genuine emotional expressions. Such kind of emotional regulation at work is termed as 'emotion work'. Zapf, Vogt, Seifert and Isic (1999) defined emotion work (emotion work) as "the emotional regulation required of the employees in the display of organizationally desired emotions." In other words, it can be referred to as the psychological processes necessary to regulate organizationally desired emotions as part of one's job (e.g., Grandey, 2000; Hochschild, 1983; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987; Zapf, 2002). They viewed emotion work as a multidimensional construct with both positive and negative health effects.

The dispositional antecedents of emotion work has been studied with variables such as temperament construct, self monitoring and psychological wellbeing leading to an assumption that all the variables tend to influence the degree of emotion work experienced by employees in customer service work. This paper tests the antecedents of emotion work using established criteria of temperament construct and self monitoring ability and also a newer dimension of health psychology psychological wellbeing. Existing literature explained the effect of emotion work on psychological wellbeing, but the present study has attempted to examine its role as a factor influencing emotion work.

Researchers have shown that temperament is one of the antecedent variables of emotion work. This reflects one's mental behavioural repertoire. It is a combination of personality traits that arises from our genetic endowment (Reber, 1995).Emotionality is one of the three aspects of temperament which includes negative emotions such as fear, anger and distress. The existing literature suggests that people who are high on emotionality place a more negative interpretation on stressful work events, resulting in a deleterious impact on affective outcomes. Over time, greater experience with negative affect leads to analytical thinking patterns which tends to become one of the most habitual characteristic of their decision making process, regardless of any changes in current mood (Brief et al., 1995). Research has shown that negative affectivity (emotionality) is positively related to emotion work (Liu et al., 2004; Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002; Kokkonen & Pulkkinen, 2001; Watson & Clark, 1984; Larson & Ketelaar, 1991; Barrick, Mount, & Judge, 2001). Diefendorff and Richard (2003) reported that emotionality is positively related to employee perceptions of demands to suppress negative emotions. As a result, these individuals perform better in jobs that require the expression of negative emotions (e. …

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