Date of Award

5-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Advisor

Britt, Thomas W

Committee Member

McFarland , Lynn A

Committee Member

Moore , D. Dewayne

Abstract

The present study examined the motivational and performance consequences of emotional labor by having participants respond to multiple transactions in a simulated banking environment. Type of acting strategy (surface versus deep) and customer anger (high versus low) were manipulated to examine ego depletion and performance over time. Although prior research has examined these independent variables, no research has examined the relationships among the variables of interest over time. Study participants were randomly assigned to either one of four experimental groups (surface acting X angry customer, surface acting X non-angry customer, deep acting X angry customer, deep acting X non-angry customer) to interact with a customer to complete four simulated banking transactions, or to one of two offset control groups where they wrote about prior work experiences. After interacting with the customers or writing about an experience, participants completed both a self-report and handgrip squeeze measure of ego depletion. Results from the experimental groups revealed a significant three-way interaction between measurement occasion, acting method, and customer anger for the handgrip measure of ego depletion. Deep actors interacting with angry customers persisted in squeezing the handgrip over the course of the four measurement occasions. All other groups released the grip quicker with each occasion. The handgrip measure of ego depletion also significantly predicted transaction times. A discussion of the results as well as limitations and directions for future research are also presented.

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