Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Influence of Leader and Employee Emotional Labor on Service Performance: A Hierarchical Linear Modeling Approach

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Influence of Leader and Employee Emotional Labor on Service Performance: A Hierarchical Linear Modeling Approach

Article excerpt

In service-oriented enterprises, the emotional labor that frontline employees engage in when interacting with customers is an important way for the enterprise to foster a competitive advantage. Previous researchers have concentrated on contextual and individual differences that may impact on employee service performance by influencing which emotional labor strategy employees use (Buckner & Mahoney, 2012). To our knowledge, few researchers have conducted studies on leader emotional labor, which is the situational factor of emotional labor, and the extent that this can affect employee emotional labor and service performance. Brotheridge (2006) pointed out that leader emotional labor is worthy of attention. One of the biggest challenges faced by the leader of an organization is to humanize the job (Xia & Lu, 2011), which will further influence employee service performance. As such, the leader should fully stimulate the enthusiasm of employees so that they want to strive for the organization.

Affective events theory (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996) can provide a basis on which to analyze leader emotional labor and its effects. Recently, it has been suggested that emotion is the most common challenge in organizational behavior and leadership, depending on the ability of leaders to manage and use their own emotions in employee emotion management. However, the focus in leadership behavior theory research has mainly been on relationship orientation or employee orientation (Peng, Wang, & Gu, 2011), ignoring the importance of employee or team emotion management. Leadership, described as the intervening act that influences team emotion, can affect employees' emotional response, and then their behavior and attitude at work. An important contribution of affective events theory is that it has enabled a distinction to be made between emotionand attitude-driven behavior. Emotional labor is regarded as an emotion-driven behavior; therefore, it is essential to explore how leader emotional labor influences employees' emotional responses, and their emotional labor and service performance. In addition, emotional labor researchers have seldom used hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to explore the cros s-hierarchical effect between the organizational and employees' level. Therefore, in this study, on the basis of affective events theory, we used HLM to explore the influence of leader emotional labor on employee emotional labor and service performance.

Literature Review and Hypotheses

Leader Emotional Labor

After Hochschild (1983) put forward the concept of emotional labor, Grandey (2000) used the emotion regulation theory to explain emotional labor, which she defined as the process of modifying one's own emotions and expressions to be consistent with organizational or occupational display rules. This involves one of two regulation strategies: surface or deep acting.

Humphrey, Pollack, and Hawver (2008) developed the first theoretical model to describe how leaders perform emotional labor. Leader emotional labor is a process whereby leaders use emotional expression to influence the mood and motivation of their subordinates. This involves the two regulation strategies of surface and deep acting. Gardner, Fischer, and Hunt (2009) designed a conceptual model for leader emotional labor in which they identified a third regulation strategy of genuine emotions.

In both these models, leader emotional labor is described as the interaction between the leader and the internal customer (the employee), and it is proposed that leader emotional labor will directly influence the subordinates' attitude and behavior. Many organizations have clear organizational or occupational display rules that state how their employees are to get along with coworkers as part of their organizational culture (Carlson, Ferguson, Hunter, & Whitten, 2012). Thus, in this study, we defined leader emotional labor as the process by which leaders modify their own emotions and expressions to coax their employees to comply with organizational rules and requirements during leader-employee interaction. …

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