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A systematic literature review of emotional labor research from the hospitality and tourism literature

Lindsey Lee (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hospitality and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Juan M. Madera (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hospitality and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 4 June 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an exhaustive review of emotional labor research from the hospitality and tourism literature by outlining the theories, the antecedents and the outcomes of emotional labor, as well as the underlying mechanisms (i.e. mediators and moderators) of emotional labor.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides a qualitative and critical review of emotional labor research from the hospitality and tourism literature, providing insights into the trends and gaps in the literature.

Findings

The conservation of resources theory and affective event theory are the two most common theories in the reviewed literature. Emotional intelligence and personality are the most commonly investigated antecedents while burnout and job satisfaction are the most investigated outcomes of emotional labor. Stress and burnout are the most examined mediators of emotional labor and subsequent outcomes, such as commitment, turnover intentions and well-being. Moderators include leader-member exchange, job position, gender and climate of authenticity.

Practical implications

Four major gaps for research and practice are identified as follows: the lack of an overarching theoretical framework; inconsistency in how emotional labor is defined and measured; the vast majority of emotional labor studies are cross-sectional studies; and no research examines potential interventions to help service employees engage in effective emotional labor strategies.

Originality/value

This review offers a model providing a comprehensive framework that outlines the various antecedents, outcomes, mediators and moderators of emotional labor and corresponding theories for future research.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, L. and Madera, J.M. (2019), "A systematic literature review of emotional labor research from the hospitality and tourism literature", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 2808-2826. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-05-2018-0395

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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