Understanding "Smile School": Emotional Labor Training Occurrence and Consequences

Open Access
Grabarek, Patricia Ewa
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 13, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Alicia Grandey, Thesis Advisor
  • Alicia Ann Grandey, Thesis Advisor
  • emotional labor
  • training
  • deep acting
  • trainee reactions
Emotional labor is the regulation of emotions in order to meet organizational expectations (Grandey, 2000; Hochschild, 1983). Since it is important in service organizations, understanding formal human resources practices in improving emotional performance is necessary. Selection, monitoring, and rewarding emotional labor have been explored in previous research (Leidner, 1999; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987). Recently, however, authors have argued that in order to increase, improve, and maintain emotional performance, it may be necessary for organizations to provide emotional labor training (Goldberg & Grandey, 2007; Kim, 2007; Tan, Foo, & Kwek, 2004). Thus, training is a logical next step in furthering our understanding of emotional labor. The current research attempts to answer several research questions about the occurrence and consequences of emotional labor training. Using field survey data, study 1 answers questions about whether emotional labor training 1) occurs less frequently than rewards or monitoring, 2) occurs more frequently in jobs with high customer contact, 3) is more common in jobs with lower turnover, and 4) predicts emotional performance. Results indicate that training occurs less frequently than social rewards and monitoring for emotional labor and occurs more frequently in jobs with higher customer contact; however, training was unrelated to occupational turnover. Training for emotional labor was also found to positively relate to self-reported emotional performance beyond demographics and customer contact frequency. Study 2 was designed to test whether emotional labor training resulted in more or less negative reactions than other typical forms of training. Using a between-person experimental design and vignettes to manipulate type of training, results indicate that training for emotional labor does not result in negative reactions but actually enhances perceived social benefits more than other (technical skills) training. Implications for future research in emotional labor and customer service practices are discussed.