Employees’ emotional labor and emotional exhaustion: Trust and gender as moderators

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Wenlan Wang
Shenghua Huang
Hongbiao Yin
Zheng Ke
Cite this article:  Wang, W., Huang, S., Yin, H., & Ke, Z. (2018). Employees’ emotional labor and emotional exhaustion: Trust and gender as moderators. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46(5), 733-748.


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In order to obtain a comprehensive insight into the nature of service employees’ emotional labor, we examined the effect of gender and employees’ trust in colleagues on the relationship between their emotional labor and emotional exhaustion. We focused on two emotional labor strategies: surface acting and deep acting. Participants comprised 679 Chinese service employees. The results showed that trust in colleagues strengthened the negative relationship between employees’ deep acting and emotional exhaustion but also exacerbated the positive relationship between employees’ surface acting and emotional exhaustion. The exacerbating effect of trust was especially strong for female surface actors. The findings suggest that women have a propensity for risk aversion and are more sensitive to the establishment of trust relationships than are men. Managers should consider surface acting as part of the makeup of the psychological well-being of employees.

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