Deep Acting And Surface Acting Psychology Essay

Mans thoughts and actions are usually mastered by emotions, which are typical of human experience. Managing emotions at work is termed as emotional labor and it controls of a person’s behavior and attitude to display the required emotions. On the other word, when an individual performs emotional work as a required part of his job performance, it is called emotional labor and Hochschild also described a set of “feeling rules”, sometimes it also called “display rules”, by which people identify what the appropriate behavior is (Hochschild, 1983). These feeling rules are similar to a script, describing what the response people should express and suppress during their performing job task. This means that a person may evoke or suppress their certain emotion in order to conform the social norms. However, an employee’s emotional display is never a private experience, but an act that is controlled by supervisor or organization. As rules of emotional display are developed, employees need go through periodic training programs sessions and to learn how to smile in a sincere way and how to change their negative emotion, like anger or impatience into social empathy and kindness to annoying customers. Through these types of practices, employees can easily to suppress their true feelings and display the emotions that the hotel required.

An example, for front-line staffs, they are mainly communicated with customers and their job position is known to be the nerve centre of a hotel. As a result, their attitudes, behavior, manners and expression during performing the job task are important to determine the quality of service that the hotel provided (Barsky & Nash, 2002). In this case, display rule served as a function of regulation to avoid front-line staff expressing out of any negative emotions when they are performing their task but they are obligated to show positive emotions expression toward customers. On the other hand, expressing positive emotions of front-line staff might improve the quality of service and lastly lead to customer’s satisfaction and them also willing to pay more for the particular service. Therefore, front-line staffs must have to conform the display rule all the time during performing job task although they are facing to fussy customers.

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According to Hochschild, emotional labor is defined as “the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display; emotional labor is sold for a wage and therefore has exchange value” (Hochschild, 1983). It means these “display” emotions have economic value, which can be transformed into wages, salaries or tips. To perform emotional labor, service employees normally used three acting techniques as we known, which are “surface acting”, “deep acting” and “genuine acting”. However, job satisfaction can be affected by emotional labor and it depends on which acting techniques that employees experienced. As a result, such treatment of employees’ can have negative effects. Sandi Mann, from the University of Salford, Lancashire, England, discussed that having to manage your emotions in such a way could lead to work stresses (Mann, 2004). She also said that this stress could cause hypertension, heart disease, even exacerbate cancer. For example, surface acting can cause suffers to experience detachment from their own emotions and it may suffer emotional exhaustion at the same time decrease job satisfaction. In terms of the emotional exhaustion, the concept of emotional labor is not confined to the workplace, it also can involve every aspect of life.

Morris and Feldman found that dissonance and emotional exhaustion are positively related but in contrast with effort. However, dissonance and job satisfaction are became negative relationship. In other words, when employee has a fake emotions (surface acting), they will feel emotionally exhausted and reduce job satisfaction at the end (Morris & Feldman, 1996). In order to answer question of whether or not faking emotions increase or decreases job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion, researchers have suggested investigating this issue from the standpoint of role conflict theory (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987). Based on the role conflict theory, it is assumed that there are two positive correlations between emotive dissonance, emotional exhaustion and emotive effort and job satisfaction. People who display “fake” emotion (surface acting) will have experience a higher level of emotional exhaustion and lower of job satisfaction, people who display genuine emotion (deep acting) will also have experience a lower of emotional exhaustion and higher of job satisfaction. Based on these relationships, four hypotheses will be proposed.

1.2 Hypothesis

H1: Increased emotive dissonance will lead to increased emotional exhaustion.

H2: Increased emotive dissonance will lead to decreased job satisfaction.

H3: Increased emotive effort will lead to decreased emotional exhaustion.

H4: Increased emotive effort will lead to increased job satisfaction.

1.3 Purpose/ Problem Statement

A major reason for this increased attention is due to a change in the economy. When most of the developed countries have shifted their economy from manufacturing to the service industry, the nature of job role requirement has been changed. Whereas workers in factories deal with machines, service providers interact with people. Employees emotion are totally different when interact with people compare to deal with “lifeless” machine. However, emotions were ignored in the research of organization behavior in the past. The spirit of the hospitality industry is not only “getting a job done”, but also involves getting the job done with the right attitude, with the right behavior, with the right degree of sincerity and with the right amount of concern for any guests. A common belief held by many employers is that there is a high correlation between employees’ smiling faces and increasing revenue (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1989). So that, every company in the hospitality industry requires that their employees while interacting with customers display certain types of emotions such as friendliness, cheerfulness, warmth, enthusiasm and confidence.

But, different jobs that demand particular emotional displays. For example, those who works in customer service find that displaying smile and good humor, nurses to show caring and kindness, food serves are called friendliness and cheerfulness may lead to increase customer satisfaction, improve sales immediately, result in increased repeat business and financial success. It is because emotionally charged employee-customer interactions are essential to product delivery in service job roles. For example, if an employee is rude to a customer, this rudeness will leave nothing but a bad image about the hotel in the customer’s mind. So, even an employee also has ability to turn a customer away forever due to poor emotional attitude for hospitality industry.

As a result, even when dealing with irritating customers, the company still expects their employees to do what it takes to change the situation into a positive experience. Contrarily, negative emotional displays are prohibited and positive emotional displays are required. The display of requisite emotions as a part of job may be beneficial for hotel and customers but may have detrimental or taxing for the employee. For instance, as many hotels challenge their employees to provide world-class service for their customers, this thrust increase service quality, but also adds a burden on employees in terms of aggravating emotional labor. Therefore, this research contributes to the emotional labor literature by understanding how hotel employees, who endure a high degree of emotional labor, perform emotional labor and experience the associated job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion.

1.4 Research Objective/ Question

For the research, I found it is very interesting because nowadays most of employers only concerned about their result, for example customers’ perception of service quality, customer satisfaction and hotel’s fiscal success, but they forgot how employees’ behaviors are linked by their emotions and it will directly affect customer satisfaction. The primary objective of this research is to explore how the relationship between emotional labor and its associated job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion. In addition, which acting types will lead to employee suffer high levels of job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion based on the influence of variables like gender, age, how long interacting with customers. On the other hand, findings of this research can contribute not only to the existing body of literature on emotional labor, but to industry practitioners in terms of refining the current employee selection process. Besides, this research seeks to identify strategies the hospitality industry can utilize to retard the negative effects of performing emotional labor and to understand how company asset – employees can let their customers satisfaction and at the same time decrease employees high turnover rate.

2 Literature Review
2.1 Framework

After the research, many researchers asserted that emotional labor is a multi-dimensional construct. For example, Morris and Feldman proposed four dimensions of emotional labor, they are frequency of emotional labor, attentiveness of emotional labor, variety of emotional labor and emotional dissonance (Morris & Feldman, 1996). But Kruml and Geddes asserted that emotional labor indeed has two dimensions, emotive dissonance and emotive effort and they claimed that these two dimensions can best represent Hochschild’s (1983) notion of emotional labor who is the first disclosed the emotional demand on service providers in her book, “The Management Heart” (Kruml & Geddes, 2000). They developed an emotional labor scale based on three types of acting because researchers proposed that employees perform emotional labor through these three types of acting mechanism: surface acting, deep acting and genuine acting.

Although emotional labor may be helpful to the organizational bottom-line, there has been a considerable body of work which suggests that managing emotions for pay may be detrimental to the employee. According to Hochschild emotional labor is a largely negative phenomenon. She argued that high emotional demands have negative effects on psychological and physical health (Hochschild, 1983). Carrying out emotion work for long hours would overtax the employees’ abilities to show the desired emotions. They would go on smiling but they would not feel expected emotions. This discrepancy between displayed and felt emotion is what she calls “emotional dissonance”. According to Kruml and Geddes, emotive dissonance represents the degree to which employees’ expressed emotions align with their true feelings (Kruml & Geddes, 2000). Hochschild defined emotive dissonance as “the different between genuinely felt emotions and feigned emotions” (Hochschild, 1983). The dimension of emotive dissonance can capture surface and genuine, deep acting as two opposite ends of a continuum. The more employees adopt surface acting, the more emotive dissonance they experience. On the other hand, the more employees adopt genuine or deep acting, the less emotive dissonance they experience.

Another dimension of emotional labor is emotive effort. Kruml and Geddes claimed that this dimension taps the domain of deep acting (Kruml & Geddes, 2000). Deep acting involves attempts to actually experience the emotions one is required to display. Employees need to actively strive to invoke thoughts, image, memories or past experience to conjure up the appropriate emotional state and thereafter emotional expression. Therefore, the emotive effort dimension of emotional labor captures the “efforts” employees need to exert when engaging in deep acting.

Emotional Exhaustion

Surface Acting

Job Satisfaction

Deep Acting


The theoretical model above showed that the relationship between emotional labor, which are surface acting and deep acting with emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction. In the proposed theoretical model represented that surface acting with emotional exhaustion and deep acting with job satisfaction are positive relationship. Contrarily, they are negative relationship between surface acting with job satisfaction and deep acting with emotional exhaustion. Color lines are used to distinct correlations in order to clarify theoretical model, red is displayed positive and green lines are displayed negative relationship.

According to the theoretical model, both positive and negative consequences will be investigated in this study. Emotional exhaustion refers to feeling of being emotionally overextended and worn out by one’s work (Maslach, 1982). But, job satisfaction is a positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of the job (Locke, 1976).

Based on the dramaturgical perspective of emotional labor and drawn from Grandey (1999), and Kruml and Geddes’ (2000) works, emotional labor is operationally defined as “the degree of manipulation of one’s inner feelings or outward behavior to display the appropriate emotion in response to display rules or occupational norms”. This working definition emphasizes the different degrees of effort employees exert to manipulate or change their emotional state and behavior. As different types of acting require exerting different degrees of effort, surface acting is predicted to require the least effort, whereas deep acting requires the most effort. Genuine acting is when employees spontaneously feel what they are required to feel. It still requires some effort to express emotions in an organizationally appropriate manner.

2.2 Emotional Labor

Emotional labor was first used by Hochschild (1983) as a research topic to analyze how individuals manage their emotion in order to reach the performance goals. Emotions are feelings that people experience, interpret, reflect on, express and manage (Thoits, 1989). In many situations in our daily lives, we often find ourselves suppressing feelings and displaying a more socially accepted emotion that is deemed more appropriate. For example, showing excitement when a colleague’s promotion or suppressing anger when being cut off by someone in a waiting line. Whenever a person alters their outward behavior including emotion, verbal cues or body language to conform to an ideal, it is considered as “emotional labor”. Emotional labor exists widely within human service industry, in which human interactions play an important role in work.

Hochschild defined emotional labor as “the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display; emotional labor is sold for a wage and therefore has exchange value” (Hochschild, 1990). But Ashforth and Humphrey (1993) defined emotional labor as “the act of displaying the appropriate emotion” (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). Their definition differs from Hochschild’s (1983), since their definition emphasizes the actual behavior rather than the presumed emotions underlying the behavior (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). Managing emotions then become public acts when emotions are sold as products which need to be monitored by the company. So, every service employees must deliberately involve their needed feelings in every situation and they may not particularly suffer emotional exhaustion as a result. In terms of the emotional exhaustion, the emotional labor is not only confined to the workplace, it also invades every aspect of life.

2.3 Display Rules

In order to understand emotional labor, is what determines the correct emotional response for a situation, Hochschild described a set of “feeling rules”, also called “display rules” (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993), by which people identify what the appropriate behavior is (Hochschild,1983). Implement display rules in the hospitality industry is to regulate employees’ behavior. And emotional labor that performed by employees is mainly done at company’ interests with the purpose to ensure customer satisfaction. Such as, “show an positive attitude at every table” or “put energy and enthusiasm into every guest interaction” are common instructions in employee handbook. Based on these display rules, employees are expected to act friendly and upbeat and to cover anger and disgust even toward annoying or fussy customers. Therefore, emotional labor is requires the engagement, suppression and evocation of the employee’s emotions to get the job done.

Besides that, positive emotions that come together with service provided to customer are believed to create emotional contagion which influences level of customer satisfaction, customer intention to buy and also enhancing the hotel’s public image. Moreover, Hochschild ruled out that job task should be performed using “emotional labor” because the job position required :

(1) work face to face and voice to voice with the customers,

(2) to produce a positive emotional state in customers,

(3) are trained and supervised in order to provide customers with a standardized “moment of truth” each and every time,

(4) are paid with amount of money compensate for their physical work and cognitive ability (Hochschild, 1983).

2.4 Service Acting

Hochschild theorized that service is like a “show” where the service provider is an “actor”, the customer is the “audience” and the work setting is the stage (Hochschild, 1983). The work place “restaurant” provides the setting and context that allows actors “waitress” to perform for audiences “diners”. Researchers proposed that employees perform emotional labor through three types of acting mechanism: surface acting, deep acting and genuine acting (Hochschild, 1983).

2.5 Surface Acting

Surface acting is expressing an emotion without feeling that emotion (Hochschild, 1983). In surface acting or is called as “faking with bad intentions”, employees just follow the display norms without altering their inner feeling. On the other word, surface acting is the process to show expected emotions by large degree of control to their external bodily display although the emotions is not actually felt (Alicia, 2003). Employee conforms to the display rules to keep the job and get awards but they are no intention to help customer or hotel. For example, a hotel front desk employee may put on a smile and cheerfully greet a customer even if she is feeling down. Surface acting then is a discrepancy between felt and displayed emotion.

Indeed, it can be done with “careful presentation of verbal and non-verbal cues as facial expression, gestures and voice tone”. Such as, front-line staff will still maintain smiling face to customer although she is deep sorrow at that time due to fulfillment of hotel display rules. In this case, front-line staff only managed her emotion expression to comply display rules without changing her actual state of emotion. Furthermore, if a person used deep acting, she can control her emotion felt at expressed that time. So that, the desirable emotion expression will be automatically produced out (Humphrey, Pollack, & Hawver, 2008).

2.6 Deep Acting

Another acting technique is deep acting. Deep acting occurs when employees’ feelings do not fit the situation, they use their training or past experience to work up appropriate emotions. In deep acting or called as “faking with good intentions”, she is actually matching her inner feelings with the display norms and this seems veritable to the customer as well (Mittal & Chhabra, 2011). Ashforth and Humphrey also said that a person who used deep acting will try to image about something coherent that could change the actual emotion felt into other emotion in order to generate out desirable emotion expression (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). Hochschild classified deep acting as :

(1) exhorting feeling, whereby one actively attempts to evoke or suppress an emotion and

(2) trained imagination, whereby one actively invokes thoughts, images and memories to induce the associated emotion, for instance thinking of a weeding will feel happy or a funeral will feel sad (Hochschild, 1983).

For example, one flight attendant described how she uses the deep acting technique to control her anger when dealing with an annoying customer. She said that she thought the customer was a little child and she probably scared of flying. So, she doesn’t get mad even the customer was yelling at her.

2.7 Genuine Acting

As Hochschild’s acting paradigm rests on the assumption that service providers are making efforts to actually feel the emotions they are displaying, many scholars claim that Hochschild ignores the instances whereby one spontaneously and genuinely experiences and expresses the expected emotion without exerting any effort (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). For example, a bartender may show genuine caring when trying to comfort a depressed customer. Genuine acting is displayed with very little effortful prompting. However, Kruml and Geddes argued that these assertions about Hochschild’s acting classification are incorrect because she described the genuinely expressed emotions of service employees as passive deep acting or genuine acting (Kruml & Geddes, 2000). As the competition becomes more intense in the hospitality industry, many hospitality companies challenge their employees to strive for “world class service”. This striving for guest service excellence makes companies no longer satisfied with their employees engaging in surface acting and they are seeking to achieve genuine acting or deep acting in employees.

2.8 Emotional Exhaustion

Hochschild pointed out that performing emotional labor eventually causes estrangement from one’s genuine feelings and therefore has detrimental consequences for one’s psychological well-being (Hochschild, 1983). Emotional exhaustion is a specific stress related reaction that refers to a state of depleted energy caused by the excessive psychological and emotional demands that occur among individuals who work with people in some capacity. It describes feelings of being emotionally overextended and exhausted by one’s work, since emotions are not an inexhaustible resource. Emotional exhaustion is manifested by both physical fatigue and a sense of feeling psychologically and emotionally “drained” (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). It is considered the core characteristic of burnout (Maslach, 1982).

Maslach claimed that emotionally exhausted individual are those engaging in emotionally charged situations on a regular basis. She further indicated that as it is a general belief that service providers alone are responsible for ensuring the future well-being of their customers, it is also belief that constitutes an awesome and exhausting burden to service providers (Maslach,1982). Her view was supported by some researchers that have shown that employees who interact with customers on a frequent and continuous basis were found to suffer higher levels of emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion is one of the most-often-cited consequences of emotional labor and the two key reasons may create emotional exhaustion are :

(1) the experience of tension from emotional dissonance and

(2) the draining of resources while effort fully acting (Hochschild, 1983, Wharton, 1993).

Kruml and Geddes also suggested that the degree of exhaustion which workers experience varies according to acting types (Kruml & Geddes, 2000). Employees who cannot separate their “true self” and “acted self” are more vulnerable to emotional exhaustion. They cannot maintain an emotional distance from their customers. On the other hand, individuals are most susceptible to emotional exhaustion when they invest more emotion in the enactment of their helping roles.

However, other researchers have found different results. Morris and Feldman found that dissonance and emotional exhaustion are positively related (Morris & Feldman, 1996). In other words, when employees “fake” emotions (surface acting), they experience emotional dissonance due to the discrepancy between expressions and inner feeling and cause them feel emotionally exhausted. Moreover, role conflict involves conflict between the needs and values of a person and the demands of others in her role set. For example, organizational display rules that require an employee to smile may generate two possible reactions. If the individual has a natural inclination to smile, this demand is not likely to have any adverse consequences. On the other hand, if the individual’s experienced emotional displays do not include smiling, a conflict between the expected and experienced emotions may result.

Based on the conflict theory, there is a positive correlation between emotive dissonance and emotional exhaustion. People who display “fake” emotion (surface acting) experience a higher level of emotional exhaustion and people who display genuine emotion (deep acting) experience a lower level of emotional exhaustion. However, Mittal and Chhabra investigated that surface acting was present in 28.7%, deep acting was present in 74.8% and emotional exhaustion was present in 24.3% in the frequency table. The correlation between dimension emotional labor and emotional exhaustion, they found that emotional exhaustion was related to more surface acting and when demographic variables were entered in the analysis, age was found to be positively related to emotional exhaustion. They also found that surface acting was not found to be significantly related to emotional exhaustion when emotional labor variables were entered in the analysis. Similarly, deep acting was also not found to be statistically to emotional exhaustion (Mittal & Chhabra, 2011).

On the other hand, Cheung and Tang performed correlation analyze to examine association among major variables, like age and gender. They found that there was no significant correlation between age and surface acting. But gender was found to relate only to surface acting in which men tend to report higher use of surface acting than women. However, there was no significant correlation between gender and deep acting (Cheung & Tang, 2010).

2.9 Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is always caused by the result of emotional labor. The definition of job satisfaction as ” a positive or pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of the job” (Locke, 1976). Past years researchers on emotional labor did not have an exact conclusion on how emotional labor performed will increase or decrease job satisfaction. However, they believed that the emotional exhaustion can lead to increase of job dissatisfaction (Hochschild, 1983; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987; Morris & Feldman, 1996).

Hochschild found that to manage a personal of emotions for commercial purpose may lead to unsatisfying during working period. Based on the theory, employees who are required to perform their emotions according to display rules will experience a lower level of job satisfaction and it does not affected by what types of acting techniques that the employees involved. Grandey indicated that therefore surface and deep acting both are negatively related to job satisfaction (Grandey, 1999).

However, Morris and Feldman indicated that an increase in emotive dissonance will lead to decreased of job satisfaction (Morris & Feldman, 1996). It means when employees utilized surface acting, emotive dissonance will result and cause their job satisfaction level reduced.

In terms of the relationship between deep acting with job satisfaction, Grandey found that they are negative relationship (Grandey, 1999). But she did not provide any extra explanation for this relationship.

As an employee who used deep acting to perform emotional labor will not arise in emotive dissonance but increase in emotive effort and job satisfaction. An emotive dissonance is negatively related to job satisfaction when surface acting was performed by employees.

2.10 Hypothesis 1

In the hypothesis 1, increased emotive dissonance will lead to increased emotional exhaustion. It was presumed that there is positively related between emotive dissonance with emotional exhaustion. Therefore, when an employee experiences more emotive dissonance in interacting with customers, she would experience more emotional exhaustion. This hypothesis was rejected because based on their different demographic and their own personal characteristic.

2.11 Hypothesis 2

In the hypothesis 2, increased emotive dissonance will lead to decreased job satisfaction. It was presumed that an employee experiences more emotive dissonance when utilizing surface acting, she would experience less job satisfaction. However, this hypothesis was rejected on the past studies.

2.12 Hypothesis 3

In the hypothesis 3, increased emotive effort will lead to decreased emotional exhaustion. It was presumed that if employee employs more emotive effort in interacting with customers, she would experiences less emotional exhaustion. This hypothesis was supported. Based on the past studies, we can conclude that employees will experience less emotional exhaustion if they use more emotive effort during their service period.

2.13 Hypothesis 4

In the hypothesis 4, increased emotive effort will lead to increased job satisfaction. It was presumed that if an employee puts more emotive effort in interacting with customers, she would experience a higher level of job satisfaction. This hypothesis was supported. Therefore, employees are satisfied with their job when they are perform emotive effort to customers.

2.14 Solution

This is a serious side-effect and one of most concern to human resource management. Human resources can prevent this emotional cycle which using different methods for different situations. It has been discussed that surface acting is the type of emotional labor that can cause stress. However, deep acting can be beneficial for people. If deep acting is beneficial for the employees then deep acting should be encouraged in the workplace and surface acting discouraged by companies.

It is easy enough to train a person to detect the signs and prevent it, but dealing with people’s emotion can be more complicated than that. Firstly, the longer a person is in the job, the more likely that they will surface act as part of their job (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993). This means that the more they repeat a task, people can tend to simply complete the task without any thought or feeling. Furthermore, the feeling rules like guidelines provide a set of ways to employees in order to completing the task and allowing the individual to simply go through the movements, almost robotically. It is possible to lose most businesses simply because employee’s personality is undesirable by customers.

A popular way to alleviate these problems is to de-brief. De-briefing refers to informing another of, in this case, an emotionally stressful event. A trained professional or supervisor should available in the hotel for employees to talk to when they experience negative or positive event. The employee can talk to the supervisor or trained professional and receive any positive advice. This system can also be used over the phone with some industries having hotlines available to several hotels and employees to ring up.

De-briefing is done after the event occurs, so it cannot prevent it from happening. On the other hand, employees can be trained to identify the sighs of surface acting and given good feeling rules by which to operate, but the fact that the more they do the job the worse the problem gets can be a setback.

Moreover, repeat training may help providing a refresh on the methods on identifying and preventing surface acting, as well as encouraging deep acting in the hotel. Specific skills, such as atten

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