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Emotional Labor and Tourism-Based Visitor Interactions: Job Characteristics as Determinants of Emotion Regulation

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Emotional labor is experienced by tourism employees when interacting with visitors to tourism sites through the demonstration of emotions designated to be appropriate by the employing organization. While the performance of emotional labor has become a key requirement of the job for many tourism employees, little is currently known about the factors involved in the employee's decision to engage in the emotion regulation activities of either deep or surface acting in order to meet this job demand. What is known is that the decision to engage in deep acting results in more positive outcomes for the employee (lower levels of burnout) and potentially the organization (enhanced customer satisfaction). This study examines the role of key job–environment characteristics in the decision of tourism employees to engage in either deep or surface acting in the performance of emotional labor. These key job–environment characteristics consist of variations in the frequency, variety, intensity, and duration of visitor/customer service interactions. The sample for the present research consisted of 181 visitor/customer service personnel participants recruited from two tourism-based organizations. The results indicated that the frequency of interaction predicted the performance of surface acting and the combination of the frequency and variety of emotional display significantly predicted the performance of deep acting. Contrary to expectations, the intensity and duration of emotional display did not explain any variance in deep acting. The findings have implications for the work design of tourism-based roles where the performance of emotional labor is required to fulfill organizational expectations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.
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