The development and validation of the Perceived Emotional Effort Scale

Rodríguez-Carvajal, R.; Quinones-Garcia, C.; Clarke, N.; Moreno-Jiménez, B.; De Rivas Hermosilla, S. and Alvarez-Bejarano, A. (2010). The development and validation of the Perceived Emotional Effort Scale. In: Book of Proceedings, Nottingham University Press.



Hochschild's study revealed that employees in customer service roles often engage in "Emotional Labour" (EL) which eventually leads to burnout. EL refers to the effort involved in managing own emotions to display those required by the role. Despite the emphasis placed upon "effort" instruments development was focused on the EL strategies "deep acting" (i.e. changing your own feelings to achieve the required display) and "surface acting" (i.e. changing only the outward display). Assessing the impact of EL with this approach is limited, as mixed evidence was found for deep and surface acting. The common assumption is that although both strategies involve effort surface acting is the actual predictor of burnout. Findings from qualitative studies where participants reported no effort and no stress associated to EL challenge this assumption, and support the assessment of "effort" independently from the EL strategies. Martinez et al. developed an indirect measure of effort by interference with other tasks based on the Ego Depletion Theory. The scale had low reliability (.45) and did not take into account the role of "direct effort". Based on Lazarus stress theory we argue that in addition to indirect effort, individual's experience of stress is largely determined by how threatening (effortful) they perceive the emotional requirements of the role.

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