Communication Professionals as the Office Factotum: A Study of Emotional Labour and Well-Being in the Communication Profession

University essay from Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi

Abstract: This thesis investigated the concept of emotional labour for communication professionals in an internal communication context. Recently, the well-being of communication professionals has caught public attention in Sweden since the communication practitioner is considered an office factotum or all-purpose servant with numerous responsibilities and activities and is frequently overwhelmed by their multifaceted work assignments. The theoretical framework for this study consisted of the concept of emotional labour and the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) theory. Previous literature has focused on emotional labour in service and health occupations in an external communication context, where the outcomes of using different emotional labour strategies have impacted employee well-being, both positively and negatively. This thesis carried out a single case study based on data collected from 20 semi-structured in-depth interviews with communication professionals from three occupational sectors in Sweden, and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings revealed that communication professionals engage in emotional labour in an internal communication context, using surface acting and genuine emotions, whereas deep acting was undiscovered. This resulted in different outcomes for their well-being, although job satisfaction remained high. Before experiencing burnout, surface acting was more prevalent, and after recovery, genuine emotions were more common. This indicated that surface acting might be considered a maladaptive self-regulation strategy and genuine emotions an adaptive self-regulation strategy. Finally, regarding the current state of knowledge, this study aimed to contribute to further comprehension of emotional labour in an internal communication context, and additional exploration of JD-R integrated with different emotional labour strategies is suggested.

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