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Customer Service Roles

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Most organizations have implicit or explicit requirements concerning which emotions employees express and how and when they express them. These requirements are seen as more central in jobs that entail high levels of interaction with customers, such as customer service roles. In such roles, the way in which employees manage their feelings and expressions can influence the effectiveness of their interactions with customers and thus play an important role in influencing customers to purchase a product, to remain loyal to the organization, or to tell others about the service given (e.g., Hochschild, 1983; Parkinson, 1991; Pugh, 2001; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987, 1990; Sutton, 1991; Tsai, 2001).

When people regulate or manage their emotions in exchange for a wage, they are said to be undertaking emotional labor. However, while organizations may benefit from an employee's emotional labor, the consequences for the employee are less clear. Thus, although Hochschild (1983) indicated that emotional labor has generally negative consequences for employees, such as burnout and self-alienation, other researchers have also found positive, mixed, or contingent outcomes. For example, Zapf, Vogt, Seifert, Mertini, and Isic (1999) found that the requirement to express positive emotions was associated with feelings of personal accomplishment but also feelings of emotional exhaustion in employees. In addition, Schaubroeck and Jones (2000) found that emotional labor was more likely to be associated with symptoms of ill health among employees who identified less or were less involved with their job.

The consequences of emotional labor for employees may be complex, but another reason why different conclusions have been reached is that studies have used different perspectives of emotional labor (e.g., Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993; Hochschild, 1983; Morris & Feldman, 1996). In an effort to integrate these different perspectives, Grandey (2000) developed a theoretical model based on Gross's (1998) process theory of emotion regulation. Shown inFigure 1, Grandey's emotion regulation model identifies the important components of emotional labor, its antecedents and consequences, and the individual and organizational factors that might affect the process of emotional labor. The emotion regulation model is also useful because it shows how emotional labor can have varying consequences.

Figure 1. Conceptual model of emotional labor. From "Emotion Regulation in the Workplace" by A. Grandey, 2000, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, p. 101. Copyright 2000 by the Educational Publishing Foundation. Reprinted with permission. NA = negative affect; PA = positive affect; H1Ð'-H6 = study hypotheses

Many parts of Grandey's (2000) emotion regulation model have already been confirmed empirically using survey-based methods. The first aim of the present research, however, is to determine whether those findings can be replicated using a different methodology. The second, and more significant aim of the present research, is to use the emotion regulation model to focus on how customer service employees regulate their emotions in response to different work events over time and to examine the more immediate and short-term consequences of this regulation.

These two aims are achieved through the use of a time-sampling (or diary) method in which participants are asked to complete self-report measures at regular frequent intervals throughout the day. This approach is different from previous studies of emotional labor, which have tended to rely on survey-based methods. The use of survey-based methods has often restricted studies to measuring the general extent to which employees engage in emotional labor and to measuring the more general and long-term consequences of emotional labor. The main advantage of adopting an intraindividual methodology, such as time sampling, is that it can examine how individuals respond to changes in events or behaviors over time rather than comparing the responses of different individuals. For example, it can be used to examine what happens when individuals engage in different levels of emotion regulation rather than comparing the responses of individuals who exhibit different levels of emotion regulation.

Emotion Regulation Model

Grandey's (2000) emotion regulation model (seeFigure 1) is concerned with the way in which employees use emotion regulation processes to accomplish emotional labor and is therefore employee focused rather than job focused (Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002). The idea that emotion regulation at work can be equated with emotional labor is central to the regulation model.

The model proposes that there are two main types of emotion regulation involved in emotional labor: antecedent-focused and response-focused regulation. Grandey (2000) likened these two types, which she adopted from Gross's (1998) process model of emotion regulation, to Hochschild's (1983) concepts of deep and surface acting, respectively. Deep and surface acting both involve attempts to display required emotions, but they have different motives or intentions (Grandey, in press). Specifically, deep acting involves employees regulating their feelings to seem authentic, whereas surface acting involves employees regulating their emotional expressions to fulfill their job duty.

When deep acting, people regulate the precursors of emotion (i.e., they use antecedent-focused regulation) by modifying their perception of the situation. The two main techniques for changing perceptions of the situation are attention deployment and cognitive change. Attention deployment involves changing the focus of thoughts to things that induce the required emotions. For example, recalling pleasant memories can repair sad moods (e.g., Josephson, Singer, & Salovey, 1996). Cognitive change involves evaluating or appraising situations differently to change the emotions that they induce. For example, an employee might try to view a situation from a colleague's perspective as a means of reducing feelings of anger toward that person.

When surface acting, people regulate their emotional responses (i.e., they use response-focused regulation) by modulating their reactions to situations. This can involve suppressing, intensifying, or faking emotions, which can be achieved either cognitively or behaviorally. For example, an employee might pretend to be enthusiastic. An initial task of the present study, therefore, was to examine whether daily use of antecedent- and response-focused regulation corresponded to employees' general use of deep and surface acting. It was expected that cognitive change and attention deployment would relate to deep acting, and response modulation

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