Category : Communication, Work Place Issues
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Overview of Emotional Labor
The idea of emotional Labor has evoked a great deal of interest recently, specifically in business arena (Emmons & Colby, 1995). At workplace, emotional labor is the capability to understand yourself and others efficiently to express emotions in a healthy manner, which is noted to be critical to both career satisfaction and job success (Sims, 1998). According to Goleman (1998) a professionally successful individual have high emotional labor in addition to the conventional cognitive labor or specialized skills of knowledge.
Emotional Labor is defined as the personal, social and emotional skills that influence your ability to succeed with increased demands and pressure at work and home. Some writers have proposed that the ability to understand and control one's own emotional state is relevant to success and failure outcomes in many different contexts. The idea of a distinct emotional labor, entailing the ability to understand one's emotions and to use that information to guide thinking and action, was suggested as early as Thurstone (1924), formulated more precisely by Salovey and Mayer (1989-90), and popularized by Goleman (1995). It is easy to accept the importance of emotional controls in labor thought; of course, to say that these constitute an independent labor is a far stronger claim. Some commentators believe it is unwarranted. Eysenck (1998) maintained that the voluminous research literature on personality already addresses many of the claims associated with emotional labor. However, Mayer, Caruso, and Salovey (1999) presented evidence that emotional labor is factorially coherent and that it consists of definable competencies that develop with age and experience. On this basis, they argued that emotional labor meets the standards of a bonafide labor.
Questions about the legitimacy of emotional labor raise the larger question of how broad "broad-sense" labor should be. Most who have an opinion on the subject believe that labor has been conceptualized too narrowly in the past (Neisser, 1976). Research on emotional labor redresses an area of neglect. "Hot" cognitions, those involving emotions and intentions, have been paid short shrift in labor research.
Significance of Emotional Labor
Emotional labor has been defined as an array of capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one's ability to cope with environmental demands (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Yukl (1994) points out those emotionally mature persons possess a more realistic knowledge of their personal strengths and weaknesses, and that their emphasis is more on self-improvement than ignoring weakness and fantasizing success. Those high in emotional maturity are more open to criticism and willing to learn from mistakes. Thus, feedback acceptance will be less affected by feedback sign for emotionally mature individuals. It is said that managers should consider the effects of emotional labor so as to ensure that organizational goal and objectives are being achieved.
What Anderson and Jones contribute to our understanding of the study of emotions at work is a clear demonstration of the need for greater theoretical development and empirical study of the role of individual differences as moderators of relationships among organizational constructs, and most particularly of the role of individual differences in emotional reactivity. The study of emotional labor and its components is a rich ground for such study. Other moderating constructs may relate to other relationships. Hochschild (1983), for example, suggested that some jobs may be more emotionally "hardy" and thus more resistant to the physical and psychological harm created by being required to manage feeling and emotional display at work. Rafaeli and Sutton (1987) suggested that individuals higher in self-monitoring may be more likely to responsive to external display rules or more skilled at responding.
Emotional labor has been defined by Mayer and Salovey as "the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth" (1997: 5). In this chapter, therefore, we focus on emotional labor as it affects perceptions, understanding, and management of emotions expressed by self and others. Recently, Chu (1997) postulated that emotional labor moderates the effects of perceptions of work stress resulting from short-term employment contracts. Ashkanasy, Härtel and Jordan (1998) argued similarly that emotional labor moderates the effect of work events on work attitudes and behavioral outcomes. An implication of these models is that emotional labor has a pervasive effect across a wide range of organizational variables and parameters.
In this instance, it is logical to extend the concept to explain how individuals view and react to situations and other colleagues. Thus, the effects of emotional labor may also carry over to leadership styles and the relationship between managers and members. We extend this reasoning to the experience, perception, and management of emotions in general. In particular, the effects of the quality of exchange between managers and members (LMX) can have a profound impact on work motivation and effectiveness of work (Ashkanasy, 1996; Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975; Engle & Lord, 1997). Managing the exchange situation would therefore m to be crucial to understanding how managers motivate and mobilize the emotional energies of the led.
Analysis: Emotional Labor
The role of emotions in specific job has only recently developed as a valid and pertinent area of scholarly discourse. More important, the concept has also gained recognition by serious researchers in the social sciences (Ashkanasy & Jordan, 1997; Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Weisinger, 1998). At the same time, there has been increasing interest generally in the role of emotions in applied and organizational settings (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1995), although much of this literature has been unfocused and scattered around different fields of study ( Pekrun & Friese, 1992).
Linking emotions to behavior in modern work settings in general and leadership in particular, although relatively rare, is not new ( Wasielewski, 1985). Nevertheless, since the articulation of the concept of emotional labor by Salovey and Mayer ( 1990), efforts to apply this concept to work settings and leadership are starting to emerge, especially in conference papers (Ashkanasy, Härtel, Fisher & Ashforth, 1998; Ashkanasy, Härtel & Jordan, 1998). In this chapter, we examine the application of emotion-related concepts, including emotional labor, in the specific instance of charismatic or transformational leadership in organizational settings.
Accordingly, some jobs require more emotional labor effective approach than the others, specifically for service-oriented jobs. Those who are in the consulting firms, hospitality industries and also banking and financial and also call centre industries who always provide direct service to their clients require more efficient emotional control than jobs that requires office works and paper works.
They observed that one important indication of organization’s work environment could be benefited from the emotional labor training program of an industry. The importance of emotional labor training varies in different organizations at different times. In other words, it’s significance and the importance of their quality depends on the organization’s tasks and employees. Effective managers in industries have long observed the relationship between emotional labor training to customer satisfaction. The company may improve their employees’ service capability by providing emotional labor training may result in an increased customer satisfaction.
Accordingly, many authors seeks ways to deliver customer satisfaction by improving the way employees manage their emotions could also increase job satisfaction. Higher job satisfaction hypothesized to improve internal and external service quality can result in unintentional turnover. These relationships could produce a self-reinforcing cycle of service quality success. On the other hand, systems provide the organization to learn about the needs, problems, expectations, and complaints of its internal and external customers.
Studies shows that the employee get on well with their customers or clients, they are more likely to avail the services offered. There is a sound research evidence also for this kind of argument. As just one instance, L’Oreal altered its employee recruitment policy to give way for the emotional competencies of the applicants. The outcome was an impressive increase in profits and decrease in turnovers. Further, another example comes from Hay/McBer Research and Innovation Group. Herein, they have compared a group of insurance sales agents who were weak in terms of emotional labor with another group who are considered to have strong emotional labor competencies.
The result of this research shows that the value of sales of the group with better emotional labor performed twice as the other group. With this, the trainers believes that through emotional labor training, the employees can be trained to enhance their self-awareness. Self-Awareness is being referred to as having an in-depth understanding of one’s own emotions.
Having a high self-awareness means to have an accurate understanding of how a person behave, how other people in the work environment perceive an individual and the ability to recognise how you communicate and interact to others with a sensitive attitudes, emotions, intents, feelings and general communication approach at any given circumstances. It also means being able to accurately disclose such awareness with others. According to the trainers, Emotional Labor training can help the employees to have a better interaction and communication with the clients and other employees.
Minimizing Damaging Effects
Accordingly, managing emotions in the workplace is a critical factor for managers to avoid damaging effects. In order to minimize these effects, emotional labor training can be considered. Trainers believed that the emotional labor abilities obtained from the emotional labor training program is considered to be critical to both individual and organizational success. The development and use of emotional labor training provides a set of core abilities which may affect many business issues which are essential for the success of the industry and employees. As perceived by the trainers, Emotional labor training can be considered as an effective tool for minimize the damaging effects of emotional labor especially for those who are working in guest service industries.
According to them, there are many reasons why emotional labor training can be considered to minimize the damaging effects of emotional labor. One of the reasons is it enhance personal productivity among employees. The Emotional Labor skills that can be learned from the emotional labor training allow employees to think more clearly under pressure. It helps them eliminate the time wasted by feelings of anxiety, fear and anger. Furthermore, Emotional labor training can also help the organization to develop effective managers. According to the trainers, Emotional labor is more than 80% of what enables star performers to progress into great managers.
In addition, as perceived by the trainers, emotional labor training is developed to integrate an individual to the heart of whom they are. Through this, the employees are being empowered to access and apply more of the wisdom and power within them. Emotional Labor training is also an effective tool for minimize the damaging effects of emotional labor because it enables the employees to be more effective even under pressure.
The results of training and development start a chain reaction. When the company is able to produce effective employees with high emotional labor then their profitability will increase. When this happens, they will also be able to compensate their employees based on their contribution to the company’s growth. In turn, it will create a feeling of satisfaction that will motivate them to improve further their efficiency and then the cycle will once again begin (Parker, 2005).
With emotional labor training, the performance of every employee in the company will naturally be improved to its maximum level. This will enable the employees to have good relationships with clients which in return results in having satisfied customers. In addition, various skills may be absorbed by the employee being trained, which in turn makes them more independent, resourceful and flexible in terms of emotional aspects.
Additionally, Emotional labor training is also considered as an effective tool for minimize the damaging effects of emotional labor, as perceived by the trainers, because it enables the organization, to assess their employees individually based on various aspects of emotions. This helps the company identify their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. The employees on the other hand will be able to recognize where they are good at and what needs to be improved in terms of their emotional needs.
Based on the analysis, it can be said that managers should be able to handle emotional labor in the company to ensure that employees are able to maximize their performance and to minimize the damaging effects of unhealthy emotional labor in the company.
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