Emotional Labor in the Workplace. Sustaining smile vs. sustainable smile: a case study from Denmark

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för service management och tjänstevetenskap

Abstract: Aim of the study: The aim of this study is to enhance the existing scope of emotional labor(EL) literature and broaden its reach to discussing the role of emotional labor in the workplace from a social sustainability perspective, exemplified within the context of hotel service work. It tries to identify how EL is experienced by hotel service employees and to understand how service employees perceive their contribution towards a hotel’s service delivery in order to draw a link to hotel service work as being socially sustainable. Methodology: This research project is carried out as a qualitative case study drawing on data derived from 13 semi-structured interviews with hotel service employees working at Marienlyst Strandhotel in Helsingør, Denmark. Results: Hotel service employees regard EL and the display of appropriate emotions as an essential part of their jobs. The enactment of EL implies a triple-sided interaction between an employee, the hotel guests, and the employee’s coworkers. Consequently, the display, the understanding, and the exchange of emotions determines both the service and work environment in which encounters between guests and employees take place. As a result of this study, EL is introduced as a tool that enables employees to stimulate positive work- and service environments through social interaction.

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