Louisiana State University

Project Description

Applying Appraisal Theories of Emotion to the Concept of Emotional Labor

Project Abstract

Interest in the role of emotions in the workplace has increased in recent years (e.g., Arvey, Renz, & Watson, 1998; Ashkanasy, Hartel, & Daus, 2002; Fisher & Ashkanasy, 2000; Muchinsky, 2000). One particular area of workplace emotions research deals with emotional labor, or the regulation of emotions as part of the work role (Hochschild, 1983). Although emotional labor research has examined the ways that individuals can regulate their emotions, this research typically is not grounded in theories of the emotion generation process (Ashton-James and Ashkanasy, 2004) and does not try to improve the emotion regulation strategies that individuals use. The proposed study applies appraisal theories of emotion (Lazarus, 2001; Scherer, 2001; Smith & Pope, 1992; Smith, Haynes, Lazarus, & Pope, 1993) to the literature on emotional labor by designing a training intervention that teaches employees to change their felt emotions to match organizationally-desired emotions by reappraising work situations in a more positive light. Appraisal theories of emotion state that emotions are generated by appraisals or evaluations of situations or events. The purpose of the proposed training is to increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions in customer service employees by teaching them to appraise workplace events differently. Measures of dependent variables will be taken for one week (five shifts) before the training and one week (five shifts) after the training, resulting in a pre-test-post-test experimental design. Additionally, a control group will be included who receives only general customer service training. Controlling for pre-test levels of the dependent variables, employees who receive the reappraisal training are expected to exhibit higher job satisfaction, lower burnout, and higher customer satisfaction ratings than those who receive the control training.

Surveys released for this project:
Mikes Thesis 5
Student Recruitment 3
Employee Survey 121
Coworker Survey 69
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