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Bringing emotions to work should be a pleasure, but in practice it is often a pain

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  1. How bringing emotions may be positive for employees and companies
  2. Possible long-term negative impacts on individuals
  3. Various types of resistance which can be adopted at work

Companies have become aware, over the last several years, that emotions conveyed by employees, in facing customers, constitute key components of success. They determine the customer reaction. They influence his emotional state (fear, confidence, sympathy), and his will to buy. They determine the quality of the service, and more specifically, the company quality. Defined, controlled and correctly managed emotional activity of the employees has become a necessity for companies. The employee has to conform to ?emotional rules,? which are pre-established. He must be smiling, attentive, and enthusiastic.

He must avoid distant, apathetic, and tense behavior. This prescriptive emotional management imposed by the company requires employees to consider a significant amount of emotional work on themselves. Arlie Hochschild (1983), American sociologist, defines emotional work as the individual capacity to understand, evaluate, and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. The employee must adapt his way of thinking, reacting, and communicating. The employee is an ?actor' of the company.

[...] This way, McDonald's makes sure that emotions brought to work are ?naturally' done; it is a pleasure for the employee. That has an influence on his mind and spirit. He is inclined to listen and observe rules defined by the company (dress code). He facilitates the manager's quality of work. He motivates customers to adopt a loyal and grateful attitude. Lastly, his work-life satisfaction has a positive impact on his life and personal wellbeing. This leads us to think that the control of the emotions by companies may be entirely positive for employees and the organization. [...]


[...] (2005), ?Contrat psychologique, emotions au travail, socialisation organisationnelle' Comportement Organisationnel (Vol.1) De Boeck pp. 221-233 Grugulis, I. (2007) Skills, Training and HRD, Chapter 6 Houndsmills: Palgrave MacMillan Hochschild, A.R (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling Berkley: University of California press. Leidner, (1993) Fast food, Fast Talk: Service Work and the Routinization of Everyday Life Berkeley: University of California Press Morris, J. A. et Feldman, D. C dimensions, antecedents, and consequences of emotional labour', Academy of Management Review, No 21, pp. [...]

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