Emotional Labor: Regulating Emotions for a Wage

Alicia A. Grandey, Gordon M. Sayre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Many employees perform emotional labor, regulating their emotions to meet organizationally mandated display rules (e.g., “service with a smile”), which has both professional and personal implications. Emotion regulation in a work context is important to enhance customers’ mood and service satisfaction, but putting on that smile to perform one’s work role can have surprising costs depending on how the emotions are regulated. When employees try to change their feelings to appear sincere (i.e., deep acting), performance is enhanced, yet employees must often “fake it” (i.e., surface act), which has consequences to their well-being. We discuss how these concepts are similar and distinct from emotion-regulation strategies while also reviewing work factors that help optimize emotional labor’s impact on performance and well-being. Finally, we note recent studies that have expanded the concept of emotional labor and the methods used to capture this workplace experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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