EMOTIONAL LABORS: EMOTIONAL LABOR

EMOTIONAL LABOR

An examination of the literature reveals very little in the way of causal frameworks or models of the origins, consequences or moderators of emotional labor. One model, that of Harris (2002) that has been proposed is in the specific context of barristers and suggests a framework of the origins, content and consequences of emotional labor for barristers. Within this model, origins include “structural change”, “audience expectations”, “occupational acculturation”, “self-image” and “nature of the work”. These contribute to either private (during interactions with solicitors, barristers and court clerks) or public (during interactions with clients, witnesses and judges) emotional labor, or to emotional suppression.

The consequences proposed by the model include negative impacts (such as stress and fatigue) and positive effects (such as efficiency and professionalism). Whilst this is undoubtedly a useful model, it is limited in its application to a certain client group. Interestingly, it makes the distinction between private emotional labor (performed with colleagues or others within the same profession) and public emotional labor (performed with clients or those outside of the profession). Whilst this distinction is likely to apply within the health-care setting too, it is probably a less important feature as the existing literature suggests that most emotion management in this setting occurs at the interface with patients. The fact that the barrister model also distinguishes between positive and negative outcomes of emotional labor is also clearly important for a health care model.

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