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The effects of emotional labor on frontline employee creativity

Zizhen Geng (Business School, Xi’an International Studies University, Xi’an, China and School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China)
Chao Liu (School of Management, Xi’an JiaoTong University, Xi’an, China)
Xinmei Liu (School of Management, Xi’an JiaoTong University, Xi’an, China)
Jie Feng (School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 7 October 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to empirically test and extend knowledge of the effects of emotional labor of frontline service employee.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examined the effects of emotional labor (surface acting and deep acting) on frontline employee creativity, as well as the mediating effects of different kinds of job stress (hindrance stress and challenge stress) on the relationship between emotional labor and creativity. The research hypotheses were tested using data collected from 416 service employee–supervisor dyads in 82 Chinese local restaurants.

Findings

Results show that surface acting is negatively related to and deep acting is positively related to frontline employee creativity; surface acting is positively related to hindrance stress, while deep acting is positively related to challenge stress; and hindrance stress mediates the relationship between surface acting and creativity.

Originality/value

This study extends the consequences of emotional labor to frontline employee creativity from a cognitive perspective. It also advances knowledge about the effects of emotional labor on stress by classifying different kinds of job stress caused by different cognitive appraisals of surfacing acting and deep acting, and revealing the role of hindrance stress as psychological mechanism through which surface acting affects creativity.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by a research grant from the Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China, number 11YJA630069.

Citation

Geng, Z., Liu, C., Liu, X. and Feng, J. (2014), "The effects of emotional labor on frontline employee creativity", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 26 No. 7, pp. 1046-1064. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-12-2012-0244

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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