Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how the emotional labor strategies of service employees differently influence the level of their creativity, and whether creative employees consequently benefit from that creativity in terms of achieving a high level of job performance. Design/methodology/approach – The authors surveyed flight attendants from an airline in South Korea. The authors distributed 150 questionnaires to flight attendants, received 126 responses, and finally obtained 119 usable data. The authors used Mplus 7.13 to evaluate validity and test the hypotheses. Findings – Whereas employees using deep acting were found to be less emotionally exhausted and more affectively committed toward their organization, which produced a high level of creativity, those who selected surface acting were shown to suffer more emotional exhaustion and have less affective commitment, which generated a low level of creativity. Customer service personnel behaving creatively resulted in superior official job performance appraisals. Originality/value – This study makes distinct contributions to the literature by proposing emotional labor as the key antecedent of employee creativity in service organizations, by confirming emotional exhaustion and affective commitment as the motivational mechanisms through which emotional labor strategies influence service employee creativity, and by suggesting the value of employee creativity.
Career Development International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 9, 2015