The Role of Employee Stress Experiences in Service Interactions
In my recent research projects, I integrated the burnout, recovery, emotional labor, and service literatures to investigate the larger research question of how employee stress-related experiences predict customer-related behaviors and customer outcomes. In my talk, I will provide an overview and focus on one of the studies- an experience-sampling study titled: “Reciprocal relations between emotional exhaustion and episodic surface acting: An experience sampling study”. In this study, I proposed a loss cycle at work following a conservation of resources framework. I hypothesized that when employees are more emotionally exhausted during the day, they will use more surface acting (i.e., faking emotions according to display rules), which will again predict emotional exhaustion. I tested the hypotheses in a one-week experience-sampling study with 120 service employees. Multilevel path analysis showed that surface acting towards the first customer of the day was positively related to emotional exhaustion following the interaction, and this at-work emotional exhaustion predicted later surface acting, which was positively related to subsequent emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion before work did not predict surface acting towards the first customer of the day. Findings highlight the theoretical and practical importance in integrating the idea of loss and gain cycles into the organizational behavior literature.