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Staying engaged on the job: The role of emotional labor, job resources, and customer orientation

Nwamaka A. Anaza (Department of Marketing, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois, USA)
Edward L. Nowlin (Department of Marketing, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA)
Gavin Jiayun Wu (College of Business Administration, Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 11 July 2016




Frontline employees face constant emotional demands in the course of providing services to their customers, which can impact job engagement. This study aims to investigate the influence of emotional labor (surface and deep acting) and job resources (having a mentor and availability of expressive emotional network resources) on employees’ customer orientation and their relationship to three dimensions of job engagement: vigor, absorption and dedication.


Using data collected from food service providers, a conceptual model based on the job demands–resources theory is developed and tested.


Findings show that having a mentor and expressive emotional network resources increases customer orientation, which in turn increases vigor, absorption and dedication. However, surface acting negatively affects customer orientation, which indirectly reduces job engagement.


Consistent with the main tenet of the job-demands and resources theory, it was found that surface acting reduces engagement, whereas job resources (expressive emotional network resources and mentorship) boost engagement. Moreover, the results suggest that the commercialization of human feelings still remains an important topic for service providers to consider during service interactions because its presence affects frontline service employee engagement levels.



Anaza, N.A., Nowlin, E.L. and Wu, G.J. (2016), "Staying engaged on the job: The role of emotional labor, job resources, and customer orientation", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 50 No. 7/8, pp. 1470-1492.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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