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Previous research has focused mainly on the antecedents and consequences of service employees’ emotional labor during the enactment of service roles, with little attention having been paid to how perceptions of leaders’ emotional labor are related to followers’ job outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to propose a model in which followers’ perceptions of the uses of emotional labor by leaders toward customers influence followers’ job performance in their service encounters.Design/methodology/approachWorking with a sample of 268 medical service employees in South Korea, structural equation modeling was employed to test the research hypotheses.FindingsThe results indicate that perceptions of leaders’ deep acting toward customers are positively related to followers’ perceptions of authentic leadership. Second, followers’ perceptions of authentic leadership are positively associated with their identification with and trust in their leaders. Finally, followers’ identification with and trust in their leaders is positively related to their job performance.Research limitations/implicationsThe research shows that leaders’ use of deep acting toward customers has a positive effect on followers’ job outcomes. Thus, service firms should consider training programs, mindfulness and policy changes regarding display rules at the organizational level so that service employees are encouraged to use deep acting with customers by empathizing with the customers’ needs, while regulating their inner feelings.Originality/valueThe current study broadens the conceptual work and empirical studies in the emotional labor literature related to the service sector by presenting a fundamental mechanism for the effect of perceptions of leaders’ use of emotional labor toward customers on service employees’ job performance. This study is the first to provide an empirical test of how leaders’ emotional labor is related to followers’ job performance.
Journal of Service Theory and Practice – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 23, 2019
Keywords: Authentic leadership; Followers’ identification with a leader; Followers’ job performance; Followers’ trust in a leader; Leaders’ emotional labour
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