Author: Lau, Chin Keung Brandon
Title: A study on the emotional labor of tour leaders in Hong Kong
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2017
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tour guides (Persons) -- China -- Hong Kong
Employees -- Psychology
Tourism -- Personnel management
Employee motivation
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xiv, 196 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Further to Goffman's (1959) study of dramaturgical perspectives to examine the structure of social interaction that one emerges when people are in one another's presence, Hochschild (1979, 1983) adopts his dramaturgical approach and applied the term emotional labor to paid employment. The construct of emotional labor was introduced by Hochschild (1979) who continued to develop the conceptualization of emotional labor. Although the study of emotional labor of front-line service providers commenced some 30 years ago, it is a comparatively new topic for the travel industry in Hong Kong and the study of the emotional labor of tour leaders is lacking. Focus groups, in-depth interviews, participant observation and documentation analysis are used in this qualitative study to examine the key factors affecting the performance of emotional labor by tour leaders; assess how the individuals' and companies' emotional labor strategies can improve tour leaders' performance and triangulate the validity of the findings. The findings of this study are significant to tour leaders, customers and the travel industry; they also contribute to the scholarly literature on emotional labor literature in the travel industry. This study found that customer satisfaction and job satisfaction are ranked as low priorities by tour leaders, whereas these are the most major factors to customers and travel companies. This study adds previously undiscussed factors--physical fatigue, finance and family to the scholarly literature. These factors are closely related to the career development and the well-being of tour leaders. The conceptual framework of emotional labor of tour leaders developed in this study explains the positive outcomes and negative consequences of emotional labor of tour leaders through the application of different emotional labor strategies. Both the new factors and the conceptual framework can be added to the literature on emotional labor. For the industry, it is recommended that emotional labor of tour leaders should be included in the curriculum of the tour leaders' examination course to upgrade the quality of customer service of new tour leaders who plan to join the industry. This study has created new insights on the emotional labor of tour leaders; however, by using qualitative methods, the number of targeted interviewees and the sample size was comparatively small. For future research studies, it is recommended that quantitative methods which can generate a sizable sample be used to examine the relations among factors that affect emotional labor of tour leaders in other countries.
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