This article investigates the power dynamics of the interview process and the connected emotional labor, drawing on examples from a recent study on workplace grievances in which most data collection was through open-ended interviews. By exploring the shifts of power and the emotional labor demands in the qualitative, open-ended interview, this article emphasizes that power shifts and emotions within the interview are, themselves, important data. A greater awareness of shifts in interviewer/interviewee power and emotional labor in the interview context helps the researcher better understand the nuances of the data, provides the researcher with more information about the interviewee and the research topic, and facilitates greater insights into the interview process, the subjects, and the nature of the topics discussed.
interviews, power, emotional labor, qualitative methods
Date of this Version
Hoffmann EA. Open-Ended Interviews, Power, and Emotional Labor. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 2007;36(3):318-346. doi:10.1177/0891241606293134