The purpose of this essay is to highlight the effect of emotional labour on hospitality workers and whether the requirements of emotional labour are ethical in relation to employees. The first part of the essay will focus on why emotional labour is necessary in the industry and the need for employees to effectively manage their emotions. This will be followed by examining the limitations and negative effects of emotional labour and how this could relate to unethical work demands on employees. Hochschild (1983) was the first to define emotional labour as an occupation that involves the induction or suppression of feelings in order to sustain and outward appearance that produces in others a sense of being cared for in a convivial safe place. Suggesting that employees need to be able to keep external emotional factors in check and put on a front to the customers in order to create a good overall professional opinion.
There has been much debate about whether emotional labour has any benefits for employees having to portray and manage themselves emotionally. But research has suggested that those who can effectively manage themselves draw positives in relation to self-satisfaction and stress management. Kruml and Geddes (2000) and Hochschild (1983) researched and found there were two processes in which people manage their emotions, these being; surface acting and deep acting. This coincides with Goffman (1959) who found that impression management, similar to emotional acting, focussed on employees having to bury their real emotions and putting on an outward appearance of projected emotion to reflect customer expectancy and company standard.
Surface acting is defined as; “An employee who tries to alter the way they appear or outwardly act when displaying emotions is said to be surface acting” (Kruml & Geddes, 2000). However, this only allows an employee a certain amount of control over their emotions. They will still be feeling their “real” emotion deep down. This will be an extremely difficult way to manage emotion and has been linked to increased stress, exhaustion and job dissatisfaction (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987; Grandey, 2003).
In stark contrast to this however, Deep acting is seen to have more of a positive impact on employees in terms of stress management and self-satisfaction. When engaged in deep acting, individuals are said to be able to change more than just their visible displays of behaviour. Rather, they have the capability to generate or control their inner feelings (Hochschild, 1983; Kruml & Geddes, 2000). Being able to reach this level of control gives the employee a large feeling of satisfaction and helps them to reduce the effect of personal emotion, by changing the way they feel completely. Hochschild, (1983) and Stanislavsky, (1974) both agreed that to deep act, employees evoke in themselves feelings needed to feel the right feeling for the job. Rafaeli & Sutton’s (1987) research brought them to the conclusion that this kind of acting...