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Chapter 8 Display Rules and Emotional Labor within Work Teams

What Have We Learned? Ten Years On

ISBN: 978-1-78052-208-1, eISBN: 978-1-78052-209-8

Publication date: 29 July 2011


Previous research on emotional labor has typically been conducted at the individual level of analysis, despite the fact that many organizations have incorporated work teams into their business model. The use of work teams turns emotional management into a group task on which employees work as a collective. The present chapter proposes a conceptual model that describes the antecedents and consequences of team-level emotional labor. We propose that work groups often impose positive display rules (express integrative emotion) and negative display rules (suppress differentiating emotions) on their members. Positive display rules generally trigger group-level deep acting, whereby teammates seek to change their internal feelings. Negative display rules generally trigger surface acting, whereby teammates retain their actual emotions but do not actually express differentiating feelings. These two dimensions of emotional labor, for their part, impact emotional exhaustion. Deep acting one's positive emotions lowers emotional exhaustion and surface acting increases it. We discuss the consequences of our model for workplace behavior, such as performance. We also discuss how the relationships involving emotional labor change when one considers these constructs at the group-level of analysis.


Becker, W.J. and Cropanzano, R. (2011), "Chapter 8 Display Rules and Emotional Labor within Work Teams", Härtel, C.E.J., Ashkanasy, N.M. and Zerbe, W.J. (Ed.) What Have We Learned? Ten Years On (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 197-223.



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