Em - Essay Example

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This means that independent of whatever personal problems or mental turbulence an employee is dealing with, he/she is still required to greet customers…
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12 May Emotional labour: Emotional labour focuses on adding the elements of sympathy and care in all employee-consumer interactions which take place. This means that independent of whatever personal problems or mental turbulence an employee is dealing with, he/she is still required to greet customers with a positive energy and friendly attitude. However, critics also argue that rigid compliance with emotional labour can prove to be devastating for many employees because of negative effect exerted on their sense of identity. The importance of their self will be lost and they will feel like automatons forced to maintain artifice. This essay seeks to explore this concept of emotional labour with specific reference to the studies of Arlie Hochschild and Sara Jaffe. Following discussion will also scrutinize some important ways by which emotional labour affects workers and the relevance of this concept in the present business environment.
Controlling personal issues to display the right emotions for customers forms the bedrock of emotional labour. This concept was first introduced by Hochschild in her book “The Managed Heart.” As the name of her book implies, emotional labour is about managing heart and not permitting personal emotions to burst at the seams in front of a customer. Inhibiting inner feelings and conforming to an external ideal to project a better image about organization is emotional labour. Some service industries require employees to treat customers nicely regardless of however rude or unreasonable the customer is being. In this case especially when an employee is already not feeling well but still attempting to be nice, rude customers can readily make things worse. Research suggests that being forced to manage emotions in such drastic situations can culminate in work stress. Such workers can get very detached from their real self and may also experience burnout as a result. Hochschild herself addresses this worrisome issue by claiming that “the worker can become estranged or alienated from an aspect of self” (Hochschild 7). Jaffe is her article also points out that emotional labour makes female employees disadvantaged in a workplace. Instead of benefiting them significantly, the kindness or caring provided by women in care fields is taken for weakness. This kind of trend adds to exploitation of caring female employees (Harvey cited in Jaffe). Women are universally expected to display greater level of care for others and behave more kindly. They are expected to be submissive and disregard their personal issues. Women’s work is never really valued as it should be because when they are kind, they are considered vulnerable.
Summing up, emotional labour has both advantages and disadvantages. If on one hand, it helps to project a positive image of employers, employees, and the company, then on other hand, it takes away sense of identity from employees. Also, it can cause people to not take women working in care fields seriously. Care should be about pleasing others, but self should not be forgotten in the process. When women ask for improved working conditions, they are labelled selfish and told that all they should be concerned about is taking care of the community. This is not a positive trend and should be changed.
Works cited:
Hochschild, Arlie R. The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. USA: University of California Press, 2012. Print.
Jaffe, Sarah. “A Day Without Care.” JACOBIN. 2014. Web. 12 May. 2014. Read More
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