Objectives: We investigated the relationship of the Big Five personality dimensions
and trait emotional intelligence (EI) with the selection of emotional labour strategies.
Emotional labour refers to the control and management of emotions within the work
role in order to comply with organisational norms and demands and is achieved
though surface acting (SA), deep acting (DA) or the expression of naturally felt
Participants: Participants were 298 undergraduates and academic staff referring to
their part-time or full-time work in; customer service (40.9%) sales (21.5%) social
work/nursing (26.3%) or other ‘people work’ jobs (11.4%).
Method: Participants completed questionnaires containing the TEIQue – SF,
Goldberg's short IPIP NEO, a perceived job demands scale and an emotional labour
scale, both developed by Diefendorff, Croyle and Gosserand, (2005). The authors also
developed 10 emotional labour items.
Results: Exploratory factor analysis yielded the strategies surface acting and the
natural expression of emotions on a continuum and two deep acting factors labelled
developing feelings and the reappraisal of feelings. Hierarchical multiple regression
analysis revealed that conscientiousness and extraversion were significant negative
predictors of SA. Neuroticism was a significant positive predictor of SA.
Agreeableness and extraversion were significant positive predictors of DA,
developing feelings. Agreeableness and neuroticism were significant positive
predictors of DA, reappraisal of feelings. Extraversion was a significant negative
predictor of DA, reappraisal of feelings. Trait EI was not an independent predictor,
but as hypothesised, it correlated negatively with SA and positively with DA
reappraisal of feelings. No support was found for a positive relationship to DA,
developing feelings. Job type was also a significant predictor of SA and DA,
Conclusion: The Big Five findings are theoretically consistent and have validated
previous research. Trait EI showed trends in the expected direction and is an area
worth pursuing. The benefit of a greater understanding of DA is discussed.||en