Restaurant service providers' emotional labor: The antecedents and effects on employees' intention to leave

Heng-Yen Chang, Purdue University


The objectives of this study are to develop a conceptual model to investigate the antecedents and consequences of restaurant employees' performance of emotional labor in fine dining restaurants, and to examine the relationship among organizational characteristics, individual attributes, emotion interaction expectations, emotional labor, job satisfaction and intention to leave. Emotional labor theory and affective events theory were utilized to develop the research model and to discuss the research findings. Questionnaires were distributed to fine dining restaurants in the US and in Taiwan. Descriptive analysis, T-test, Multiple Regression, Hierarchical Regression, and Analysis of Variance were employed. The results of the study indicated that many organizational characteristics (such as restaurant types, job roles, and incentives), individual characteristics (such as gender, work experience, certain types of personality traits), and perceptions about interaction expectations (such as frequency, intensity and duration of the interaction expectations) had influences on restaurant employees' performance of emotion management in the form of either changing their emotional displays (i.e., surface acting) or modifying their inner feelings (i.e., deep acting). Results indicated that employees' overall job satisfaction fully mediated the relationship between surface acting toward customers and intention to leave. Research findings not only provide the theoretical emotional labor model, but also contribute empirical information regarding the impact of emotional labor on the employees' job satisfaction and their intention to quit. Implications of emotional labor in the foodservice industry, research limitations, and future study are discussed.




Adler, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Management|Labor relations|Organizational behavior|Recreation

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