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ASAC 2009 Niagara Falls, Ontario

Michel Cossette Ursula Hess Department of psychology University of Quebec at Montreal

This research aimed to investigate the impact of organizational factors on motivation to perform emotional labour and emotion regulation strategies. Based on a sample of 195 employees, results indicated that motivation mediated the effect of organizational justice on emotional labour strategies, but did not mediate the effect of job autonomy.

Introduction In service industries, employees not only have to deliver high quality services, but must also provide these services in a particular way. In particular, many organizations specify explicit rules to observe as part of their service performance (Hochschild, 1983), such as to “serve customers with a smile” and/or to suppress negative emotions toward the customers as part of the service performance (Hochschild, 1983; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987). Consequently, employees need to regulate their emotions in order to satisfy organizational demands. Organizational demands to regulate emotions in accordance with these rules are referred to as emotional labour (Brotheridge & Lee, 2002, 2003; Grandey, 2000, 2003; Hochschild, 1983). Mann (1999) found that more than two-thirds of frontline communications implied emotional labour suggesting that these interactions require a strategy to regulate one’s emotions. Two strategies that can be used have been discussed in prior research. These strategies are surface acting and deep acting (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993; Bono & Vey, 2005; Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002; Brotheridge & Lee, 2002, 2003; Diefendorff, Croyle, & Gosserand, 2005; Grandey, 2003; Hochschild, 1983; Zapf, 2002). Both have differential and important impacts on job attitudes and wellbeing. More specifically, surface acting leads to negative outcomes such as emotional exhaustion and job insatisfaction, whereas deep acting is not necessarily related to emotional exhaustion. On the contrary, it can lead to positive outcomes, notably job accomplishment (Bono & Vey, 2005; Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002; Brotheridge & Lee, 2003; Zapf, 2002). Although prior research has thoroughly investigated emotional labour consequences, much less attention has been accorded to their predictors. It is important to better understand predictors of these strategies in order to enable organizations and individuals to foster the use of more effective emotional regulation strategies. Recently, a number of researchers have examined situational variables such as job autonomy (Diefendorff, et al., 2005; Goldberg & Grandey, 2007; Grandey, 2003; Grandey, Dickter, & Sin, 2004) as well as individual variables such as personality traits (Diefendorff, et al., 2005), but much must be done in order to understand emotional labour antecedents. The present study focused on a recent research conducted by Gosserand and Diefendorff (2005). These authors proposed an interesting avenue to better

2003). 2003). Three emotion regulation strategies have been discussed and investigated. Both variables are likely to affect employees’ motivation. Thus. They investigated a motivational factor behind emotional regulation strategies that is commitment to display rule. et al. Specifically. play a stronger role in influencing whether individuals actively try to experience the desired emotion (Brotheridge & Lee. Employees may adopt different strategies to regulate their emotions in order to satisfy these demands. 2002. They found that the more committed individuals were to display rules. 1995. whereas deep acting is an antecedent-focused strategy. 1998). Grandey. John & Gross. surface acting is a form of response-focused emotion regulation where the employee manipulates only the expressive aspect of the emotion (Gross.comprehend how emotional labour is performed. Tardino. 2005). 1991). the second aim of the present study is to extend on previous research by examining the role of organizational factors in the emotional labour process. Sutton & Rafaeli. I. surface acting is a response-focused strategy. 2004). This can be done by either simply suppressing the negative emotion to appear neutral or by masking the negative emotion with a fake positive emotion expression (Brotheridge & Lee. & Munz. 2000. In customer service jobs. Brotheridge & Grandey. By contrast. employees are usually expected to express positive emotions and suppress negatives emotions (Adelmann. 2003. Emotion Regulation at the Workplace or Emotional Labour Emotional labour is defined as the requirement to express or suppress emotions as part of one’s job (Hochschild. that is. Lazarus. Two categories of factors have been examined as antecedents of emotion regulation strategies.. Emotion Regulation Antecedents There are several factors that can influence the type of strategy that employees use to regulate their emotions. Thus. 2003. These emotion regulation strategies differ with regard to the focus of the regulation (Grandey. 1993. 2005. 1998. 1988). 2002. employees may surface act (faking unfelt emotions and/or suppress felt emotions) or deep act. Gross. This can be achieved either through positive refocus (focusing attention on positive things) or through perspective taking (reappraising the situation by taking another’s point of view). conscientiousness and self-monitoring all reduced surface acting while employees high on neuroticism need to surface act to comply with display rules (Diefendorff. et al. et al. Firstly employees may express their naturally felt emotions (Ashforth & Humphrey. R. such as positive display rules and duration of interaction. it seems that job-based factors. 2005) and that research should take into account motivational forces. 1974) is an antecedent-focused emotion regulation strategy that takes the form of construing a potentially emotional situation in a way that decreases its emotional relevance (Lazarus. Diefendorff & Gosserand. dispositional and situational factors. 2005). Reappraisal (Gross. Personality traits such as agreeableness. 1998. 1983). Gross & John. As regard to situational variables. Since this strategy may not produce the desired emotional display. 2000. This exciting result supports the notion that emotion regulation strategies are motivated acts (Rubin. the present study includes organizational factors such as job autonomy and organizational justice.. Deep acting is a strategy that aims to change an employee’s perception of the situation. In order to better understand the effect of motivation to regulate emotions on emotional labour strategies. the current study focuses on motivation to regulate one’s emotions as an antecedent of emotional labour strategies. Diefendorff.. the stronger the relationship of display rule perceptions was with surface acting and deep acting. . Diefendorff. Daus.

their motivation can be self-determined. Ryan & Deci. In regard to emotional labour. With integrated motivation. 1985. 2003. Hence to the degree that an employee endorses the organizational demand imposed on him or her. When the employees own values also focus on serving the customer with positive and without negative emotions. 2005). 2000. attitudes. 2000. which by definition gives an external focus to the motivation to regulate emotions. This organizational demand reflects an organizational value. 2005. Hence. 1985. Gosserand & Diefendorff. rewards). different processes are described: introjection. 2005). 2000. 2001). identification and integration (Deci & Ryan. Gagné & Deci. intrinsic motivation is not pertinent since an employee engages in emotional labour to satisfy an organizational demand. emotion regulation strategies can be conceptualized as motivated acts (Rubin.. which vary in their degree of self-determination. A more complete level of internalization involves the integration of the behaviour with other aspects of oneself. where behaviour depends directly on the contingency between the behaviour and a desired consequence (approval. such that the external regulation of a behaviour is transformed into an internal regulation and thus no longer requires the presence of an external contingency” (Gagné & Deci. Other types of extrinsic motivations occur when a person internalizes the value of the behaviour (Deci & Ryan. 2005). or regulatory structures. 2000). the values and motivations that employees have can also define the choice of strategy. Gagné & Deci. However. 2005). but remains extrinsic. an interesting question is why employees are more committed to regulate their emotions? Do employees perceive emotion regulation as a challenge or do they commit to regulate their affect because they are told to do so? Emotional Labours as Motivated Acts Such reasons justifying why employees are more committed to regulate affect is addressed by Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci & Ryan. In order to describe the degree at which an external motivation has been internalized. 1985. et al. The most self-determined form of motivation is intrinsic motivation. but few theorists and studies discussed or measured motivation to engage in an emotion regulation activity (the two exceptions are Diefendorff & Gosserand. 2003. 2000. Specifically. The least self-determined form of extrinsic motivation is external regulation. the behaviour is more central to the identity and the person is more likely to act in ways that are consistent with one’s self (Deci & Ryan. Internalization is “defined as people taking in values. this study provides further understanding of the emotional labour process described in conceptual framework (e. Gagné & Deci. SDT further posits different types of extrinsic motivations. 2005). Gagné & Deci. 2000. this demand is congruent with the employees self. p. p. 2005). Gosserand & Diefendorff. Therefore.334). which is serving the customer with positive emotions and without negative emotions.334). Identification is a form of motivation that occurs when a person identifies themselves with the value of the behaviour and the behaviour corresponds to a self-selected goal. SDT distinguishes between different types of motivation along a continuum of self-determination. where activities are performed for the interest or for the pleasure they procure (Deci & Ryan.g. motivation to regulate one’s emotions becomes an important concept in understanding how emotional labour is performed (Diefendorff & Gosserand. . a person feels that the behaviour is an integral part of who they are and is thus self-determined. Introjected motivation occurs when a person’s behaviour “is taken in by the person but has not been accepted as his or her own” (Gagné & Deci. Gosserand and Diefendorff (2005) found that employees showing more commitment to display rules are more likely to regulate their emotions to comply with organizational demands. From this perspective. 1985. 2005). 1985. 2005.But over and above these factors regarding emotional regulation. Grandey.

Although SDT distinguishes between different types of motivation. In addition. Rafaeli & Sutton. 1999. expressing the prescribed emotions is congruent with the employee’s values. 2005). & Bargmann.This notion of endorsement is not new in the emotional labour literature. when assessing the different forms of motivation. they may do so in good faith because they accept the underlying display rule or they may do so in bad faith in cases where the display rule is not accepted (Ashforth & Humphrey. In fact. Furthermore. & Guay. 1985. In that case. It was mentioned above that surface acting was perceived as faking in bad faith whereas deep acting was perceived as faking in good faith. as well as withholding negative ones (Hochschild. Vallerand. Ryan & Deci. 2002. & Provencher. 2003. Thus. Kim. Zapf. 1989). 1987). that they want to serve as a role model for students. SDT is an interesting framework to clarify the reasons why employees adopt emotion regulation strategies. Bourbonnais. Deci. these two motivations to regulate emotions can be distinguished with regard to their level of self-determination. Indirect evidence supports the usefulness of the SDT framework in explaining motivation to regulate emotions at work. one may do so both because it is congruent with ones values and because not doing so would result in critiques. 1997. Customer service jobs require expressing positive emotions to customers. In a qualitative study. Thill. Many studies demonstrate that self-determined motivation enhances wellbeing (Blais & Brière. SDT has been used to better understand why people withhold their negative affects when interacting with others. it seemed relevant to assess how motivation to withhold negative emotions is related to emotion regulation strategies. By contrast. Deci & Ryan. Sutton (2004) identified two goals underlying teachers will of regulating their emotions: academic effectiveness and keeping a good relationship with students. 1983. This index reflects the relative contributions of employees’ motivations. Results suggest that more self-determined motivation to regulate negative emotions is positively associated with psychological wellbeing (Kim. 1989. Thus. 1987. each subscale correlates most positively with the subscale closest to it and less positively or negatively with subscales farther from it (Gagné & Deci. Twenty percent of teachers indicate that they regulate their emotions because it is part of them. Blais. the negative emotions that are experienced by employees lead to emotional dissonance (a discrepancy between employees’ emotional display and inner feelings) that is found to be stressful and emotionally draining (Abraham. Fortier. Vallerand. 1983. 2002. teachers report that they feel ashamed of showing their anger in front of their students. external and amotivation respectively. when employees are faking their emotions. & Zuckerman. 1998. 2001. In SDT terms. Hochschild. For example. Zapf. these reasons refer to introjected. 1996b. or that they do not know why they are regulating their emotions. these teachers fully endorse emotion regulation. 1995. when the organizational demand is to express positive emotions. an employee who smiles at the customer mainly because of fear of negative consequences and who cares little for the customer will have a score closer to the non-self determined end of the continuum. Ryan & Connell. 1993. Hence. whereas an employee who smiles because s/he shares the organizations values will have a score closer to the self-determined end of the continuum. 2002). participants rate the degree to which different reasons to behave in a certain way are true for them. Ashforth & Tomiuk. Consequently. & Riddle. Ashforth & Humphrey. Rafaeli & Sutton. Gagné. 1997). the motivations form a quasisimplex pattern. Ryan & Connell. Grouzet. most human behaviour is determined by more than one underlying motive. As one can see. Hess. 2002). 2004. 1996a. that is. when serving a customer with a smile. et al. Ryan. Specifically. In SDT terms. Saintonge. 2000. Ashforth and Humphrey (1993) proposed that an employee who is strongly identified with his/her role is easily convinced of the importance of regulating emotions toward the customers. Morris & Feldman. 2002). Unfortu- . another employee may fake an emotion so as to not be criticized by a superior. Subscales can then be combined algebraically to form a self-determination index (Grolnick & Ryan. 1987.. 1993.

as other emotional labour models have proposed (e. 2006). Hence. et al. this study did not investigate emotion regulation strategies.nately. we can make the following hypothesis as regard to deep acting and naturally felt emotions.. Hypothesis 2: Job autonomy is positively related to self-determined motivation. Blais. et al. 2002.. 1996b). 1999. employees need to have sufficient job autonomy and motivation to be able to depart from organizational rules when these become maladaptive. To avoid such misunderstandings. Morris & Feldman. & Steiner. In the SDT literature. Organizational Factors Influencing Motivation and Emotional Labour Strategies It is important to note that customer service relationships do not occur in a vacuum. an irate customer facing a smiling employee may react negatively to this smile. More specifically. 2000)..g. Blais. people who surface act are not convinced of the relevance of the display rule and do not endorse it. et al. 2001) and organizational justice is one important marker of the quality of work climate. Gagné & Deci. 2004. 1995. et al. 2005). 2002. Perceptions of autonomy depend themselves on the work climate (Blais & Brière. As a consequence. 1998. believing that the employee is laughing at him/her. 2001). Job autonomy also impacts on emotion regulation (Abraham.. 1989). 1964). autonomy is one of the crucial factors which influence the development and maintenance of self-determined motivation (Blais & Brière. Fisk. Deci. Rather they occur in a larger work context. feel they can control the sequencing of their work activities and the degree to which workers have the ability to modify or choose the criteria used for evaluating performance (Breaugh. social exchange relationships are based on trusting that a gesture of goodwill will be reciprocated in the future (Blau. and this support is positively related to employees' felt obligation to care about the organization's welfare and to help . Job autonomy refers to the degree of discretion individuals have regarding the procedures they utilize. Grandey. 2005. organizational justice communicates respect to employees which leads to greater identification with a group (Olkkonen & Lipponen. we mentioned that this strategy is considered as “faking in bad faith”. Hypothesis 1b: Self-determined motivation will be negatively related to surface acting. organizational justice leads to perceived support from one’s organization (Roch & Shanock. but based on Gosserand and Diefendorff (2005) findings that commitment to display rules was associated with higher levels of emotion regulation. As for surface acting. 2000. In other words. autonomy is one of the basic needs all individuals must fulfill (Deci & Ryan. Indeed. we posit that work environment may affect the level and type of emotional labour in which employees engage. Hypothesis 1a: Self-determined motivation will be positively related to a) deep acting and b) naturally felt emotions. the following hypothesis is made. Moreover. Job autonomy is an important factor that influences employees’ performance and motivation at work (Spector. Grandey. For example. et al. the following hypothesis is made. Deci. Specifically. which in itself will have an impact on the employee and the level of endorsement that the employee is likely to show for any organizational rule.. 1986). Hence. 2006). Grandey. 1985. 1995.

Hypothesis 3: Procedural and distributive justice are positively related to self-determined motivation. Distributive justice.9%. Examples of items are “When I am feeling negative emotions.0 years (SD = 9.4%. 2001).3% male) and an outbound call center in the telecom industry (n = 130. 41. 7. characterized by adherence to fair process criteria (Colquitt.2%. Thus. participants completed the questionnaire.0) respectively. University: 47. Armeli. 2006).6%.3%. This measure has good psychometric properties and reflects the concepts of emotion suppression (surface acting) and reappraisal (deep acting). defined as feeling of fairness surrounding the allocation of organizational resources (Roch & Shanock.3%.0%. A majority of participants held a college or a university degree (call center 1: Elementary: 1.0). inserted it in an envelope and dropped the envelope into a sealed box. In this sense.the organization reach its objectives (Eisenberger.totally agree) .0%. The Emotion regulation questionnaire (John & Gross. represents an economic exchange relationship and is more related to person-referenced attitudes.3% male).1 years (SD = 10. In order to preserve anonymity and confidentiality. 2006). Procedural justice. other: 6.8) and 30.4 years (SD = 10. High School: 10. this means that employees should be more willing to take care of customers. other: 4. especially those associated with outcomes such as pay satisfaction. Mean organizational tenure and mean job tenure were 6. Rexwinkel. Hochschild (1983) argues that employees engage in emotional labour in exchange of a salary. 63. Mean ages were 31.7%). Within an emotional labor framework. I make sure not to express them” (emotion suppression) and 1 All scales use a 7-point scale (1. refers to feelings of fairness regarding the procedures used in the organization and is related to good organizational interactions (Roch & Shanock.6%. Measures 1 Emotion Regulation.8) and 2. College: 37. we make the following hypotheses.totally disagree. High School: 19. Method Participants Participants were 195 employees from two call centers: an inbound call center in the banking industry (n = 65. call center 2: Elementary: 0. Lynch. Procedure Participants in both organizations completed the survey on their own time. 2004) was used to assess emotion suppression and reappraisal. University: 25. 2001). & Rhoades.3 years (SD = 9. College: 47.

87) . “Expressing negative emotions would hurt the clients.66) -. Job autonomy was measured using the Work Autonomy Scales (Breaugh.31** (na) .97. Examples of items are: “I am proud to meet my goals despite my concerns” (integrated). & Boles. 6. justice Motivation Nat.40 3. 3.80.12 .71 1. Antecedent Variables. The subscales presented adequate internal consistencies (integrated regulation: α = . 2. (2005).46 1.04 .15* . identified. Brooks.31** . The items used in the present study to measure distributive and procedural justice were developed in a sales force context (Brashear.91) . 4.justice Proc.14 5.60 1. Motivation to Withhold Negative Emotions.06 . All analyses were based on this index rather than on specific subscales. except that job autonomy was not significantly correlated with self-determined motivation to withhold negative emotions. Although he confirmed a three dimensions model in his studies. zero-order correlations.67 7. scheduling and job performance criteria.72). results from the present study supported a one-dimensional model (χ2 (27) = 48. amotivation: α = .5.69.81 5. We calculated a Self determination index that reflects each employee’s position on the motivation continuum by assigning the weights +2. identified.61. Table 1 Correlations Matrix and Descriptive Statistics σ 1.21** .5 and -2 to the integrated. p = .7.11 5.75.32** . identified regulation: α = . “It is important to me not to hurt the clients” (identified).30 1. CFI = . and I would blame myself for doing it” (introjected). Naturally felt emotions were measured using items from Diefendorff and al. -. felt emotions Suppression Reappraisal 4. The scales were translated into French using parallel back translation.45 1.41** . Autonomy Dist. external motivations and amotivation subscales respectively.38** . An example of item is “The emotions I show customers come naturally”. 7. All correlations were in the expected direction. I change the way I’m thinking about the situation” (reappraisal).04 .006.19** (. introjected regulation: α = . Cmin/dl = 1. 1985.28** (.30** (.10 . introjected. 5.34** . Alpha coefficients were acceptable (see Table 1). Results Descriptive statistics.26** (.11 .27** . 1989).76) .35** (. and “I am frequently overwhelmed with bad feelings” (amotivation).74) 2 3 4 5 6 7 . 1989) distinguished between autonomy as regards to work methods. external regulation: α = .69.83 5.“When I want to feel less negative emotions. “Managers expect that I show self-control when I interact with the clients” (external).09 .16 4. -.064). and reliability indices are reported in Table 1. RMSEA = . Breaugh (1985.12 1 (. 2004).36 1.77) . Subscales were created to measure integrated. introjected and external regulation as well as amotivation to withhold negative emotions. +1.

3 df 369 368 367 366 339 313 288 287 Δ χ2 12.76 1.8 654. the minimum discrepancy divided by the degrees of freedom (Cmin/dl). Hypothesis 2 was not supported.45 1.7* 13.8* 75. The values for the square multiple correlations were as follows: motivation (.8* 10. Hypothesis 1b was not supported as both zero-order correlation (p = .062 . more selfdetermined motivation to withhold negative emotions (MWNE) explained higher levels of both reappraisal and naturally felt emotions.0* 90. Spector. two items from autonomy scale were allowed to correlate as they share similar phrasing (Byrne. they realize that their inner feelings do not match the display rules and try to reappraise the situation in order to align those feelings with organizational demands.1* 9.87 . The results indicated that the theoretical model has a poor fit (see Table 2).Several measures of goodness of fit were used.36). Table 2 Summary of Fit Statistics Model Hypothesized model …suppression  reappraisal …autonomy  Naturally felt emotions …autonomy  reappraisal …item reappraisal 6 removed …item reappraisal 2 removed …item suppression 4 removed …correlating two items in the autonomy scale χ2 666.9 634.93 . Links were added from emotion suppression to reappraisal. The final model shown in Figure 1 had adequate fit (see Table 2).0 643. The original model suffered from problems in the measurement model.16).41 RMSEA .056 . we report the chi-square statistic. It is likely that when employees surface act.53). 2005.59) and regression path between motivation and emotion suppression were not significant (p = . Two items measuring reappraisal were dropped since their measurement error correlated with other items.74 1. This result is surprising as SDT and work motivation in general literature consistently found a significant and positive relation between autonomy and motivation (Gagné & Deci.0* 50.61 1.065 . results supported Hypothesis 1a. most of the paths were significant at p < . 2001). both organizational justice dimensions were positively and significantly related with MWNE. As predicted. An item from the suppression scale was also dropped as it was weakly related to its latent variable.00).1 418. and the root-mean-square error of approximation. Specifically.88 .90 .063 . Thus.048 . This result is consistent with previous research (Grandey. Finally. This suggests that there is another psychological process that link job autonomy and these emotional labour strategies. This item concerned suppressing positive emotions.1* CFI . as job autonomy was not significantly related to the employees’ MWNE (p = .046 * p < . suppression (.78 1. .12 and p = .88 . the comparative fit index (CFI). Tests of model fit were undertaken through the use of the maximum-likelihood estimation procedures of AMOS (Byrne. Adjustments were made in the model and in the measurement model. 1986).4 405. 2003).001 As indicated in Figure 1.Hypotheses were tested together in a path model.18). results supported Hypotheses 4.051 . naturally felt emotions (.05.94 Cmin/df 1. Analysis of this item indicates that it was not relevant in a customer service context.49) for zero-order correlation and regression coefficient respectively. However. Two links were added from job autonomy to reappraisal and naturally felt emotions.92 .88 .1 469. reappraisal (. 2001).50 1.81 1.9 544.062 .

05 Discussion Based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT). they adopted a more authentic stance towards their customers and regulated their affect by reappraising the situation. . That is. This supports the notion that employees who are more identified with their role are less likely to experience emotional dissonance (Ashforth & Humphrey. when employees endorsed the organizational demands to regulate negative affect.Figure 1 Final Model with Parameter Estimates * p < . the current study examined the relationship between self-determined motivation to withhold negative emotions and emotional labour strategies. 1993. it was found that employees’ self-determined motivation to withhold negative emotions was positively related to reappraisal (deep acting) and to naturally felt emotions (absence of emotional dissonance) (Hypothesis 1a). The major research questions driving our exploration were as follows: What is the relationship between employees’ motivation to withhold their negative emotions and their tendency to use certain emotional labour strategies? What are the impacts of organizational factors on employees’ motivation and emotional labour strategies? Addressing the first question.

the present study suggests that self-determined motivation to withhold negative emotions is a relevant concept to better understand how emotional labour is performed and the outcomes associated to emotion regulation strategies. However. 2003. 1998. 2005).e. 1999. employees less self-determined to withhold negative emotions were thought to use more surface acting to comply with organizational demands as they do not share organizational values as regard to customer service relationships. Job autonomy affected directly reappraisal and naturally felt emotions. 2005) and the regulation strategy underlying such motive taps into the response-focused emotion regulation strategies (Grandey. Surface acting might occur especially when surface acting presents less a threat to one’s self-identity. results suggested two additional links from job autonomy to improve the initial model. self-determined motivation to withhold negative emotions was not significantly related to emotion suppression. Brotheridge & Lee. 2002. when they feel autonomous in their job. A surprising result was the absence of the impact of job autonomy on self-determined motivation (Hypothesis 2). employees who felt more autonomy in their job were more likely to adopt an adaptive emotion regulation strategy. and consequently. 2002). Another explanation for this non-finding is related to how we defined job autonomy (i. Gross. 2000. Zapf. discretion individuals have regarding the procedures they use. 2000. 2003. 1997. Bono & Vey. A possible explanation for these links is the fact that employees may automatically appraise the situations in a way that inner feelings are already aligned with display rules when they do not need to focus on technical task (methods. These results can therefore explain why previous research has found that job autonomy seems to reduce emotional dissonance (Abraham. E. Future research should investigate potential moderators such as stress appraisal. which is concern about the relational aspect of employees’ job. 2005. Thus. In fact. R. A possible explanation to the non significant path between motivation and emotion suppression (surface acting) is that self-determined employees might use surface acting in specific occasions with customers. SDT maintains that self-determined motivation is enhanced when a person has autonomy (Deci & Ryan. Rafaeli & Sutton. Despite this non significant path between autonomy and motivation. this variable had the lowest mean in the present study (see Table 1). It is possible that job autonomy has to reach a higher level before it can impact positively on motivation. Morris & Feldman. are more likely to feel adequate emotions in their interactions. Sutton. sequence and performance criteria). Hence. 1987. Specifically. Grandey. 2001. faking or suppressing emotions is more likely to occur (Grandey. self-determined employees may use surface acting in response to a highly stressful appraisal of a situation. Gagné & Deci. Brotheridge & Grandey. 1985. This definition is close to technical aspects of the call center tasks which might limit the potential association to motivation to regulate emotions. In those situations. employees are more likely to pay attention to customers’ problems and concerns. feel they can control the sequencing of their work activities and the degree to which workers have the ability to modify or choose the criteria used for evaluating performance). job autonomy was not very high – which is a call center reality as call centers generally offer a controlling environment (Bain. In fact. et al. Morris & Feldman. job autonomy allows employees greater freedom to act in a way that is more genuine. 1997). Hence. Such a reason to act is considered by SDT a controlled form of motivation (Gagné & Deci. Deep acting and lower levels of emotional dissonance are associated with positives outcomes both for the employees and the organization (Abraham.Brotheridge & Lee. Pugh. Taylor. Morris & Feldman. 2002. Watson. Consequently. 2002. 2004).. Mulvey. Gosserand & Diefendorff. Contrary to hypothesis 1b. 2005. 1996b. 2002). 1998. . We based our prediction on qualitative findings that employees regulated their negative emotions to avoid feeling ashamed of not doing so. Moreover. & Gall. 1998. in the present study. 2004) and may not depend on how employees are generally motivated. 1996b).

Grandey. 2002. Moreover. like any study using self-report. Brotheridge & Lee. which in turn were related. Limitations The present research improves our understanding of the emotional labour process by identifying motivation to regulate emotions as a pivot between organizational context factors and employees’ emotional labour strategies. et al. which posits that individuals who strongly identify with their organizational roles.. Even though self- . as predicted (Hypothesis 3). Hence. Future research should consider the fact that employees can use several strategies to regulate their emotions (R. employees’ emotional responses may serve as emotional cues about the situation and lead employees to adopt another strategy to regulate their affect to comply with display rules. 2001. et al. modification indices suggested a positive link from emotion suppression to reappraisal. Morris & Feldman. 1987. 1997. 1996b. 2001). these employees tended to adopt an emotion regulation style based on authenticity and the use of reappraisal as the main strategy to regulate emotions. which have important consequences for employees and organization (Abraham. 2003). Moreover. Important antecedents in this context are the organizational justice dimensions. 2003. this means that when employees perceived that their organization and their supervisor showed respect and gave them support. several limitations must be addressed by future research. In turn. Blais. Deci. job autonomy was positively related to organizational justice dimensions (see Figure 1). Goldberg & Grandey. 2002. employees endorsed the emotional demands more and tended to reciprocate these gestures by trying to establish positive interactions with customers. thus generalizing the notion that a positive work climate facilitates self-determined motivation at work (Blais & Brière. which represented a more adapted way to cope with emotional tasks (Brotheridge & Grandey. to self-determined motivation to withhold negative emotions. motivation impacts emotion regulation strategies. 2002. that is “individuals who regard their roles as central. Brotheridge & Grandey. which affect employees’ motivation. Zapf.. 2007. 2006). This path suggests a dynamic use of emotion regulation strategies and replicated previous findings (Brotheridge & Grandey. salient. 2002. Pugh. Grandey. Deci. employees who use emotion suppression (or who are faking a positive emotion) while interacting with customers feel a discrepancy between their inner feelings and their emotional expression. job autonomy affects employees’ regulation strategies. Brotheridge & Lee. even if this implies showing a mild irritation towards the customer. and valued component of who they are. causality cannot be addressed in a correlational study. In the context of emotional labour. Following this line of reasoning. these results are consistent with the notion that organizational justice transmits to employees information relevant to shape their social identity (Olkkonen & Lipponen. 2004). an interesting question concerns the individual and organizational outcomes of the different combinations of emotional labour strategies. Second. 1989. 2002). Connell. 1995. Moreover. Sutton. employees might combine two or more strategies to regulate their affect. may improve the relationship quality with customers because they signal authenticity and an interest in the relationship. However. 2002. 1998. E. More specifically. common method variance might have an influence on the results of the SEM by leading to an overestimation of the link between variables.employees who have the freedom to show an authentic demeanour when facing an angry customer. Grandey. In order to get a model with a better fit. 2003. First. These results also support Ashforth and Humphrey (1993) theoretical model of emotional labour. Brotheridge & Lee. 2002. Rafaeli & Sutton. 2003). Hence. & Ryan. 2003. 1999. Following Gross (1998) model of emotion regulation. are apt to feel most authentic when they are conforming to role expectations”. 2002. although our hypotheses are well grounded in theory and validated links between factors.

and to thus enhance interaction quality with their customers.. 2005).. et al. In addition. Managers should attend closely to managerial practices that promote equity among employees and support them in their tasks. 1991). 2002. in contexts that are less controlling. allowing them to adopt an adaptive and more authentic emotion regulation strategy – which may occasionally require non-scripted interventions on the part of the employee.determined motivation to regulate affect precedes logically the regulation strategies. Specifically.. both negative and positive affect has to be employed flexibly thus that in some situations positive affect has to be suppressed and negative affect shown (Sutton. Blais. it does not suffice to hire new employees who show self-determined motivations but these employees have to be able to work in a context that allows them to retain this type of motivation. et al. et al. 1995.. 1989. However. which in turn influences the choice of emotion regulation strategies. Deci.. the role of job autonomy may be found to be more important. Only then can employees regulate their emotions in ways that maximize their authenticity and the consequent positive impacts on wellbeing and job satisfaction.. Conclusion The present research aimed to extend our comprehension of the emotional labour process. 2001. Deci. the present research was based on the situation in call centers. This is important in contexts where the standardization of service is a norm because one means to standardize is to remove all discretion from employees (Bain. Thus. However. the successes and failures associated with the regulation might in turn influence this motivation. The present research emphasized the importance of leaving some discretion to employees. et al. Deci. Motivation to regulate emotions was found to be the pivotal variable that connects the organizational context with employee emotional labour strategies. Also. In such contexts the role of motivation may be more complex than in the present study. et al. Thus. endorsement of emotion regulation demands). selfdetermined motivation can only be sustained in an environment that provides autonomy support. Gagné & Deci. fostering emotional competence through training and/or coaching might also help employees to better understand the customers’ perspective as well as to better understand organizational values. . motivation also depends on the work environment (Blais & Brière. they adopt adaptive emotion regulation strategies. 2002). Practical Implications The present findings suggest that when employees endorse the need to regulate their emotions. 1989. It is possible that relationships between variables change when other contexts are considered. self-determined motivation can also be acquired by employees who are provided with an autonomy supportive environment (Deci. organizations have an interest to select employees with a self-determined motivational profile and with an emotion regulation style that is consistent with job requirements.e. in some professions. The findings underline the importance of the work context for the development of self-determined motivation (i. competence feedback and appropriate levels of relatedness.. Further. For example. 2001). et al.

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