On the Costs and Benefits of Emotional Labor: A Meta-Analysis of Three Decades of Research

Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 07/2011; 16(3):361-89. DOI: 10.1037/a0022876
Source: PubMed


This article provides a quantitative review of the link of emotional labor (emotion-rule dissonance, surface acting, and deep acting) with well-being and performance outcomes. The meta-analysis is based on 494 individual correlations drawn from a final sample of 95 independent studies. Results revealed substantial relationships of emotion-rule dissonance and surface acting with indicators of impaired well-being (ρs between .39 and .48) and job attitudes (ρs between -.24 and -.40) and a small negative relationship with performance outcomes (ρs between -.20 and -.05). Overall, deep acting displayed weak relationships with indicators of impaired well-being and job attitudes but positive relationships with emotional performance and customer satisfaction (ρs .18 and .37). A meta-analytic regression analysis provides information on the unique contribution of emotion-rule dissonance, surface acting, and deep acting in statistically predicting well-being and performance outcomes. Furthermore, a mediation analysis confirms theoretical models of emotional labor which suggest that surface acting partially mediates the relationship of emotion-rule dissonance with well-being. Implications for future research as well as pragmatic ramifications for organizational practices are discussed in conclusion.

58 Reads
  • Source
    • "It especially seems worth exploring the relationships between the four sets of practices reviewed and the form of emotional labor that follows, and the downstream consequences for patient satisfaction and service quality. Specifically, practices like compassion practices should produce patient satisfaction and service quality in part because they foster healthy emotion regulation at work and create more opportunities to experience authentic positive emotions during work (Hülsheger & Schewe, 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: As customer satisfaction and service quality have become increasingly important, management scholars have developed an impressive body of research regarding their antecedents. However, important gaps remain regarding satisfaction in diverse populations, better specifying practices and mechanisms, and the forms and effects of co-production practices. Oft-overlooked health services research on patient satisfaction and experience provides evidence of how the sector manages the extreme complexity, co-production, and intangibility of health care delivery where the financial and human consequences of low quality are high. Consequently, health care organizations, out of necessity, have developed specific practices to manage complexity and diversity (cultural competence and relational work systems), intangibility (compassion practices), and co-production (patient-centered care) to customize care and improve patient satisfaction and service quality. We also discuss the interpersonal processes (e.g., empathic communication) by which they do so. Then, we briefly explore unique temporal dynamics of care delivery and its measurement over time, and conclude with implications for future research on customer satisfaction and service quality (e.g., novel practices in health care as natural experiments) and patient satisfaction and service quality (e.g., building on management research to examine the effects of leadership, service climate, and emotional labor).
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2016 · Human Resource Management Review
  • Source
    • "Empirical findings, in general, document associations between emotion-rule dissonance and emotional exhaustion (Abraham, 1998; Diestel & Schmidt, 2011a, 2011b; Lewig & Dollard, 2003; Zapf, Vogt, Seifert, Mertini, & Isic, 1999) on the one hand and depersonalization (Diestel & Schmidt, 2011a, 2011b; Dormann & Zapf, 2004; Zapf et al., 1999) on the other hand. A recent meta-analysis (Hülsheger & Schewe, 2011) corroborated the potential health-impairing effects of emotion-rule dissonance reporting average corrected correlations as high as .40 for emotional exhaustion and .44 for depersonalization . The importance of these findings notwithstanding, they leave open the question of whether emotion-rule dissonance precedes employee burnout or vice versa because longitudinal studies examining the direction of the effects are still largely missing. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In interactions with clients or patients, human service workers are at risk of experiencing discrepancies between felt and organizationally mandated emotions (i.e. emotion-rule dissonance). Given the documented detrimental effects of such discrepancies on employee strain, the present study investigated whether job complexity mitigates the relation between emotion-rule dissonance and employee burnout using data from a two-wave panel study of eldercare workers (N = 583, 16-month time lag). Structural equation modelling revealed that emotion-rule dissonance at Time 1 preceded emotional exhaustion and depersonalization at Time 2. Beyond that, employees whose work offered job complexity were found to suffer less from emotional exhaustion and depersonalization when encountering discrepancies between felt and stipulated emotions compared to employees who conducted noncomplex work. Thus, designing complex tasks appears to be a crucial starting point for alleviating employee burnout in jobs that provoke emotion-rule dissonance.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Work and Stress
  • Source
    • "They do not make clear whether an employee is using reappraisal or attentional deployment. This may be the reason why data pertaining to deep acting and health outcomes remain inconclusive (Hülsheger & Schewe, 2011; Mikolajczak et al., 2009). Blau et al. (2010) propose a scale refinement for deep acting by making the distinction between attentional deployment and re-evaluation. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Our aim was to improve understanding of the relationship between emotional labour and health outcomes by developing an exploratory fine-grained scale based on previous research. With this measurement, we wished to clearly distinguish re-evaluation and attentional deployment (i.e., the 2 aspects defined as deep acting); amplification and suppression (i.e., the 2 emotion regulation directions of surface acting) and emotional dissonance. This scale was completed by 688 health care professionals and social workers along with the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Exploratory factor analyses were performed to assess the adequacy of a 5-factor solution. Links between emotional labour scores and burnout were investigated. The results contribute to the emotional labour literature in several ways. First, they provide further evidence of the negative health outcomes associated with emotional dissonance. Second, the study indicates that current measures of surface acting used in previous research can capture different processes, with suppression positively related to burnout and amplification negatively related to burnout. Third, cognitive change and attentional deployment, currently measured as composing a unidimensional factor, have different impacts on employee health outcomes: Cognitive change is associated with low levels of burnout while attentional deployment is positively related to burnout.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science
Show more