®AcademyofManagement Review1993,Vol. 18, No.1,88-115.EMOTIONAL LABOR IN SERVICE ROLES:THE INFLUENCE OF IDENTITYBLAKE E. ASHFORTHConcordia UniversityRONALD H. HUMPHREYWayne State UniversityEmotional laboris the display of expected emotions by service agentsduring service encounters.It isperformed through surface acting,deep acting,or theexpressionofgenuine emotion. Emotional labormay facilitate task effectiveness and self-expression,but italso mayprime customer expectations that cannot be met and may trigger emo-tive dissonanceandself-alienation. However, following social iden-tity theory,weargue that some effectsofemotional labor are moder-ated by one's social and personal identities and that emotional laborstimulates pressuresfor thepersontoidentify withtheservice role.Research implications for the micro, meso, and macro levelsoforga-nizationsarediscussed.The role of emotion in the workplace has beenaconstant though oftenimplicit themein theorganizational behavior literature. The interactiveeffects amongthework context,thework content,and theindividual'semotional state—frequently operationalized as satisfaction, intrinsic mo-tivation, stress, and mood—has been examined under such headingsasjob design (Hackman&Oldham, 1980), decision makingandinnovation(Isen & Baron, 1991), group dynamics (Smith & Berg, 1987), leadership(Yukl, 1989), cultureandclimate (Schneider, 1990a),andthe physicalen-vironment (Sundstrom, 1986).Recent theoretical and empirical work has been focused on how emo-tionsareexpressedin theworkplaceaswellas onhow theyareexperi-enced (James, 1989; Parkinson, 1991; Rafaeli & Sutton,1987, 1989, 1991;Stenross & Kleinman, 1989; Sutton, 1991;VanMaanen & Kunda,1989;Zerbe&Falkenberg, 1989). This work indicates that the mannerinwhichone displays feelings hasastrong impact on the qualityofservice trans-actions,theattractivenessof theinterpersonal climate,and theexperi-enceofemotionitself.The present discussion focuseson theconceptofemotional labor(Hochschild,1979,1983), thatis, the act ofexpressing socially desiredThe authors thank Fred Mael, David Waldman, and the participants in Gary Johns'sorganizational behavior doctoral seminar at Concordia University for their helpful com-ments on earlier drafts of this article.88
1993Ash forthandHumphiey89emotions during service transactions. Hochschild argued that serviceagents are expected to experience and express certain feelings duringservice interactions, but that attempting to conform to those expectationscauses certain pernicious psychological effects among the agents. Giventhe rapid growth of the service sector in many Western countries and thegrowing recognition in the manufacturing sector of the importance of aservice orientation (e.g., Bowen, Siehl, & Schneider, 1989; Nusbaumer,1987),this phenomenon clearly warrants attention.