Within the workplace, it is common to have organizational and cultural norms for behavior. These expectations require employees to display or refrain from particular emotions as a routine part of their job. Human emotions, however, are influenced by many factors inside and outside the workplace, and there may be times when emotions must be regulated to align with client, customer, or coworker needs. Emotional labor is the term used to describe the emotional regulation required in workplace interactions. For example, a nurse may feel tired, angry, stressed, or overwhelmed, but must appear caring and confident to patients. In addition, a bill collector may have a sweet disposition, but the job requires acting in a harsh and unrelenting way with customers who do not pay their bills.
In this Discussion, you will explore challenges related to emotional labor. You also will consider how personality affects emotional labor.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Read Chapter 4 in the course text, Organizational Behavior, and the article, “Managing the Hidden Stress of Emotional Labor.” Pay particular attention to the definitions of and challenges posed by emotional labor.
Read Chapter 12 in The Sage Handbook (vol. 1) and the article, “Emotional Labor and Burnout.” Consider how different personality traits may affect an employee’s propensity to engage in surface acting or deep acting.
Identify a job you had or one with which you are familiar that requires emotional labor. Consider the challenges emotional labor poses for an employee in this job and how specific personality traits might influence the level of emotional labor required. Organizational and cultural standards for behavior are ubiquitous in the workplace, and it is important to understand them. Employees are expected to express or avoid from displaying specific emotions as a routine part of their job duties under these conditions. Nevertheless, human emotions can be affected by various circumstances both inside and outside the workplace, and emotions might need to be regulated in order to meet the needs of clients, customers, or coworkers during certain times of the day. It is referred to as “emotional labor” to indicate the emotional regulation that is required during workplace encounters. If a nurse is weary, furious, stressed, or overwhelmed while caring for a patient, she must maintain her professional demeanor and confidence. Another consideration is that while a bill collector may have a pleasant temperament, the job needs him or her to be stern and unyielding when dealing with consumers who have failed to pay their debts.
By Day 5
Post a response to the following:
Briefly describe the job that you selected. Using specific examples from the workplace, explain challenges that emotional labor poses for an employee and why. Then, explain how factors related to the employee’s personality might influence the level of emotional labor required in his or her job.
By Day 7
Respond to at least two colleagues. Share experiences that you may have had that relate to the workplace challenges your peers described. How did your own perspective influence how you understood those situations or arrived at perhaps different solutions for the challenge? What ideas and concepts from the readings might prove helpful in better understanding or mitigating similar situations in the future?
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained as a result of your colleagues’ comments.
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