ABSTRACT

Introduction: Emotional labour, leadership, and identity Emotional labour is a concept that was originated by Hochschild (1979, 1983). She defi ned emotional labour as the ‘management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display’ (1983: 7). Hochschild (1983) focused on how service workers, such as airline fl ight attendants, were required to display emotions as part of their job duties. For example, many service workers are told to smile and act friendlily towards customers (Pugh, 2001). Because emotions are contagious, service workers who display positive emotions may spread their positive emotions to customers and boost customer satisfaction with service quality. Rafaeli and Sutton (1987; 1989) were also among the fi rst scholars to study emotional labour, and they argued that organizations set emotional display rules that govern what emotions must be displayed to customers (they argued that organizations can regulate only observable external displays, and not internal emotional states). Display rules increase predictability and make service interactions go more smoothly; when display rules conform to normal social expectations, both parties (service agents and customers) understand what emotions should be displayed and how they should treat each other. Thus display rules guide interactions between people and increase effi ciency (Ashforth and Humphrey, 1993; Rafaeli and Sutton, 1989). As conceptualized in these early studies, emotional labour was something performed by front-line service workers – those who had direct contact with customers – and not by managers or leaders. As a result of these infl uential publications, almost all subsequent work has been on how service workers perform emotional labour.