Appropriate emotional display at work and climate for service : a multilevel study of Chinese retail sales associates

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Appropriate emotional display at work and climate for service : a multilevel study of Chinese retail sales associates

 

Author: Lau, K. K. Peter
Title: Appropriate emotional display at work and climate for service : a multilevel study of Chinese retail sales associates
Degree: D.B.A.
Year: 2007
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Emotions -- Economic aspects.
Work -- Psychological aspects.
Service industries workers -- Attitudes.
Department: Graduate School of Business
Pages: xii, 129 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2145959
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2590
Abstract: Emotional labor is a relatively recent affective construct (Barsade et al., 2003) in the study of organizational behavior. Beginning as a social psychological construct, emotional labor has been extensively examined in relation to potential personal burnouts (depersonalization, emotional exhaustion) resulting from emotional dissonance. Emotional dissonance necessitates the regulation of inner feelings that are incongruent with the organization's display rules. The service provider resolves emotional dissonance by surface acting and deep acting (Hochschild, 1983) to generate observable and appropriate emotions. The display of appropriate emotions is important in social interactions within the organization as well as with customers. Few researchers have specifically examined this observable emotional behavior. This study examined the sales associates' appropriate emotional display at work in an apparel retail environment requiring spontaneous emotional responses. The examination was made in relation to the sales associates' overall performance as an organizational outcome rated by their store managers (supervisors). The researcher posited that the psychological climate for service on the group level, and perceived organizational fairness on the individual level would influence the sales associates' appropriate emotional displays. Extant literature has uncovered significant emotional display determinants, which have included the individual differences of personalities (Goddard & Patton, 2004; Tan et al., 2003) and organization-related determinants such as company display rules (Diefendorff & Richard, 2006) and job-requirements contexts (Brotheridge & Lee, 2003). There has been little research exploring other types of possible organization-related contextual factors, such as perceived climate for service and perceived organizational fairness, which might also have an impact on the service providers' emotional display. The study results from a hierarchical regression analysis using MLwiN showed that appropriate emotional display fully mediated the path from climate for service to overall staff performance ratings. To deal with possible common method bias, the researcher constructed the employee's overall performance scale items to avoid cataloguing only the employee's service performance. In addition, the researcher conducted a confirmatory factor analysis to show the two constructs' distinctiveness. Based on recent research showing that perceived organizational injustice predicted counterwork behaviors such as the withdrawal of efforts (Conlon et al., 2005), the present study theorized that perceived low levels of organizational fairness would have an impact on the appropriate emotional display as well as overall staff performance rated by supervisors. However, the present study's data did not support the hypotheses related to organizational fairness perceptions. The researcher discussed these unexpected results in the Discussion Chapter.

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