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SOC366 Summary.doc

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC366H1
Professor
Stephen Reid

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Description
Emotional Labour in Service Work Robin Leidner • Emotional labour is crucial to the performance of interactive service work because these jobs involve direct interaction with people or “clients” • In service work, employers try to manage the emotions of their workers and in turn, workers try to control the emotional responses of their employer • Workers and consumers derive some benefits from the routinization of service interactions but the instrumental approach to human personality and social interaction raises moral issues • Places like McDonalds or other retailers ask employees to smile for customers which requires more effort than people who work with data or not with customers face-to-face o This “effort” is sold for a wage which Hochschild calls “emotional labour” which is the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display intended to produce a certain state of mind to others • As service jobs grow in number, emotional labour becomes a more prevalent component of work • Service sector: includes a broad spectrum of jobs: nannies, truck drivers, dental technicians, etc. and not all require emotional labour. Sales and customer service jobs require emotional labour which are part of the manufacturing sector • Interactive service work: jobs that require workers to interact directly with customers or clients, regardless of economic sector ex. psychiatrists and teachers • The emotional labour of frontline service workers is likely to be guided by their employers and not by the professional norms o Frontline workers then have to deal with their own emotions while managing the emotional responses of others • In service work its hard to differentiate between the worker, the work process, the product/outcome because the quality of the interaction is often part of the service being delivered • Customers, clients and patients are part of the work process; co- producers of the interaction • Service recipients are judges of the adequacy of the workers emotional labour • In the past there used to be a distinction between careers and jobs • Interactive service workers usually make use of their emotions and personalities when they do their work so employers usually have a direct interest in more aspects in their lives than other employers for other workers • Employers may feel that they are legitimately entitled to intervene with workers looks, feelings and words When do employers intervene in service workers emotional labour? • Not all employers monitor the emotional labour of service workers • Employers who believe that the quality of the service interaction does not have an appreciable impact on consumer choices, are unlikely to put a high priority on controlling emotional labour o Those who think it does have an impact will put in a bigger effort and priority on controlling and monitoring emotional labour • Some employers feel that they can depend on the employees to provide appropriate emotional labour on their own • Employers intervene when they find emotional labour crucial and doubt the capability or motivation of their employees
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