Affecting Emotions in the Workplace and Long Term Consequences
Employees, particularly in service industries, find themselves increasingly called upon to display positive emotions in the workplace. Ashford and Humphrey (1993) define the act of displaying an emotion according to a display rule as emotional labor (p. 90). According to Grandey (2003), research has shown that positive affective displays, or expressing positive emotions, in service interactions, such as smiling and conveying friendliness, are positively associated with important customer outcomes, such as intention to return, intention to recommend a store to others, and perception of overall service quality. Types of emotional displays include surface acting (modifying facial expressions) and deep acting (modifying inner feelings) (p. 86). It is possible for managers to find ways to encourage employees to display positive emotions more than negative emotions in the workplace, such as through rewards and punishment, though the long term negative effects of emotional labor on employee well-being must be considered.
Changing Employees’ Affective Displays
When a customer comes in contact with an employee of an organization, they often expect a certain level of service and positive emotional displays. It is in a manager’s best interest to influence an employee’s affective displays to ensure that the customer receives their anticipated experience. When it comes to altering employees’ displayed emotions, managers have several methods at their disposal. Rafaeli and Sutton (1987) “propose that three dimensions of the organizational context create and maintain expectations about emotional expression: recruitment and selection, socialization, and rewards and punishments” (p. 26). The first step involves a careful recruitment and selection process to ensure that the candidate possesses the...