Impact of emotional labour on teaching effectiveness: a study of higher education in India.
Seminal work has been done in the field of Emotional Labor (EL) performed in higher education. A small number of cases in which it has been researched is in the feminist literature especially pertaining to health care units and other service sectors. Further, research activities on EL are grounded on the traditional service sector (Bagilhole &Goode 1998, Sachs & Blackmore 1998, Bellas 1999, Hort et al. 2001). However, recent research has also expanded to masculinity literature (Mann 1997, Harris 2002, Strongman & Wright 2008).
For the purpose of this paper, the belief that higher education is operating in the managerialism paradigm is advocated (White Paper 2003). This implies that B-schools in India are turning out to be business houses. In the light of this assumption, Willmott (1995) had asserted that the student is perceived as a customer and the degree awarded by a university is perceived as a passport to the corporate world. Thus, the role of the academics is that of a service provider who treats students as customers. Extensive research on service organizations has emerged with the finding that employees should perform as a customer/provider interface and it is a means to gain competitive advantage.
The customer driven system even demands that teaching staff perform EL so that negative emotions are under control, and not let the customers feel disgruntled. They expect its performance at the time of the execution of duties, thereby, adding value to the teaching and learning activity being experienced by the customers (students).
The employee's behaviour requires "emotional labour" (Hochschild 1983) where employee behaves as a front line manager not the management, has to either conceal or manage actual feelings for the benefit of a successful service delivery. Teaching staff, in higher education, are expected to perform EL in order to achieve the dual outcomes. This signifies that the generated outcomes are perceived as customer (Gibbs 2001) satisfaction, and profit for the management. The effect of EL can also be extended to teaching effectiveness. The present study aims at linking EL with teaching effectiveness.
Managerialism has emerged from critical literature (Willmott 1995, Mok 1997, Giroux 1999, Simkins 2000, Meyer 2002, O'Brien& Down 2002) which has thrown light on the changing paradigm of education institution where they are focusing on quality, efficiency, effectiveness, predictability and substitution of human technology with non- human technology (Ritzer 1993). The whole transformation of education institution to service provider encompasses formal and external inspection including evaluation of teaching and research paired with resource and financial implications. It is also called McDonalisation of education signifying standardization and control in higher education (Ritzer 1996). It emphasizes on the ideology of rationalization where the education institution fosters the rationalization of workplace and rationalized homes (Ritzer 1993). The education institute believes that student being customer it remits the message that the university has become part of the corporate agenda (Willmott 1995). It has transformed the degree into a commodity, in other words known as a "meal ticket". Further, the role of the academician is that of a service provider who treats the student as a customer as she (the academic) aims to receive excellent ratings, and thus continued tenure and research funding. Maaret Wager (2001) in a paper presented at a higher education conference informs us that more and more measures of performance serve to control and coerce academics. This kind of transition of role from academician to service provider generates incongruent demand within a role theory paradigm. Inside this conceptual framework, conflict manifests as the service provider violates the requirement of one role while fulfilling the demands of the other (Varca 2009). The increasing workload on academics is more associated with increasing administrative work, accountability, performance management, and documentation along with increasing number of applicants. This kind of workload potentially takes teachers away from core purpose of education i.e, teaching, research and commitment to students (O'Brien & Down 2002). The role conflict among academics is arising not only from the blurred core values of higher education but the change in its role. Higher education is synonymous with "trainability" (Bernstein 2000) and employability (Levidow 2002). Given such changes, there is a likelihood of change in pedagogical relationship of academics towards student, demanding more empathetic relationship with students (Gaililaer 2004).
Higher education in Hong Kong has established the quality assurance committee to minimize the wastages of funds allocated for research purpose. They have established a rigorous system for evaluating performance of the academicians as quoted by Mok (1997). Along with approaches of customer service provider in higher education there are different measures introduced like total quality management, reengineering, statistical process control, employee involvement and just-in-time production (Rhoades & Smart 1996). On the other hand the customer service provider approach has reinforced corporate kind of relations among students and academicians unlike the social relationship between them. Given the condition, it can be asserted that invasiveness of EL in service delivery (including teaching) is deeper still, for the exception of it, fuzzy, and implicit, comes from customers (students), who want more than pleasant platitudes and competent service, instead authentic caring, seeing falseness of the false. They know of the deceit but want to feel that they are different and enjoy the empathy of the teacher (Constanti & Gibbs 2004).Thus the performance of emotional labour plays a significant role in the transformed system of higher education wherein work intensification of academicians arouse emotional labour for better performance in class.
Goffman (1959) was among the first researchers to observe that behaviour is guided by certain socially desirable emotions and these socially desirable emotions are set up as norms. An employee working in any service sector should adhere to norms for appropriate behaviour or expectations that are established by organizations. Such kind of expressions of emotions is found across occupational roles and at the customer-industry interface (Ashforth & Humphrey 1993: 8-89). This forms the basis for EL. Hochschild's (1983) has pioneered in this field and found that employees undergo through dissonance either by simply altering their displayed feelings (surface acting) or by internalizing the appropriate feelings within themselves (deep acting). This does not signify that EL always leads to emotional dissonance (Zerbe 2000).
While performing EL, employees regulate their emotional display in an attempt to meet organizationally-based expectations specific to their roles. Such expectations determine not only the content and range of emotions to be displayed (Hochschild 1983), but also the frequency, intensity and the duration that such emotions should be exhibited (Morris & Feldman 1996). In expressing the desired emotions, employees may experience emotional dissonance and emotional harmony. The former occurs when feelings differ from expressed emotions owing to incompatibility between organizationally-based expectations and actual feelings held by the workers (Morris & Feldman 1996, Zerbe 2000). Indeed, both Ashforth and Humphrey (1993), and Morris and Feldman (1997) argued that workers may genuinely feel the emotions displayed. In such cases, EL has more to do with managing the appropriate emotions rather than faking (i.e., expressing unfelt emotions) or by hiding (Brotheridge & Lee 2002) the appropriate feelings within themselves (deep acting).
Hochschild's (1983) study and other more recent research show that EL can affect the well-being and performance of workers in a cross-section of occupations such as nursing (Smith 1992), hospital workers (Wharton 1993), debt collectors (Sutton 1991), waiters and waitresses (Adelmann 1995), cashiers (Rafaeli 1989, Rafaeli and Sutton 1987, Tolich 1993) and Disney employees (Van Maanen & Kunda 1989). A more recent conceptual work suggests that EL should be operationalized as a multi-dimensional construct that could have differential impacts on employee outcomes. This is well described in Grandey's (1998) model, as well as the four-facet model of Morris and Feldman (1996).
Despite these recent theoretical advances, few attempts have been made to develop a psychometrically rigorous multidimensional measure of EL. Wharton (1993) used a three-dimensional construct of EL based on the frequency of customer contact. Best et al. (1998) measured employee perceptions of the requirements to express positive emotions and suppress negative emotions as part of one's work role. More recently, Kruml and Geddes (1998) operationalized EL as a combination of emotional effort and emotional dissonance. They found that emotional effort was associated with greater training in emotional management, less experience in working with the public, and customers showing negative emotions. Emotional dissonance was associated with emotional detachment from customers, customers showing negative emotions, and little latitude in emotions that can be displayed.
Gaan (2011) has developed the multifaceted nature of EL wherein the study has drawn conceptual understandings from the work of Hochschild (1983) and Morris and Feldman (1996). The author has asserted that number of facets for EL applicable in Indian contexts is mostly surface acting, deep acting, variety of emotional display and automatic regulation. EL performed is more contextual and internally dependent which is remarkably different from what has been opined by authors in EL literature. Therefore, for the present study the author has followed EL developed by Gaan 2011 in the Indian context.
Emotional Labour & Teaching Effectiveness
Teaching is a profession that involves a high level of emotional labour. This includes such behaviours as surface acting (displaying an emotion that is not actually felt), deep acting (the activity undertaken to actually feel a required emotion), and suppression of emotion. In many professions, this emotional labour is thought to be related to high levels of burnout. But here we consider that emotional labour is performed to understand the performance of faculty in higher education as advocated by Barrett (2004) and Constanti and Gibbs (2004). Emotional labour is described by the way roles and tasks exert overt control over emotional displays. According to Ashforth and Humphrey (1993), Noon and Blyton (1997) and Putnam and Mumby (1993), emotional labour affects the decision making power exercised by the workforce in performing their jobs, whereas, empowering employees enables them to manage their emotions so as to enhance organizational effectiveness (Lashley 1997, Noon & Blyton 1997, Van Maanen & Kunda 1989). There is, of course, a vast difference between the bank teller who manufactures a smile because it is socially expected and the teacher who contends with the real dilemmas faced by students and genuinely seeks ways to help students overcome them, and in so doing experiences a variety of powerful emotions. Performing emotional labour is required both for a successful delivery of service to customers (students), but also as a strategy for coping with the need to conceal real feelings (Constanti & Gibbs 2004). These are intangible qualities which are difficult to be measured. Students and administrators of higher education institutions expect the academicians (teachers) to perform emotional labour during the execution of their duties, thereby adding value to the teaching learning/teaching activity. The administration, is thus meeting the promise of delivering a hedonistic experience to the customer, while the effective academic, as well as being endowed with the appropriate academic qualifications, has to possess other qualities which are neither evaluated nor rewarded, or indeed counter to her academic authenticity (even if not her teaching role). It is taken for granted that academicians will perform emotional labour in the classroom for the benefit of the students and consequently for the good of the university (even via the potential for emotional deceit). The invasiveness of emotional labour in service delivery (including teaching) is deeper still, for the expectation of it, often tacit, fuzzy and implicit, comes from customers (the students), who want more than pleasant platitudes and competent service, demanding instead authentic caring, otherwise they see the falseness of the false. They know of the deceit but want to feel that they are different and enjoy the empathy of the teacher. This requires more than role-playing and can make employees vulnerable and exploitable by both the customer, and the management. The product of emotional labour is often a change in the state of mind or feeling within another person, most often a client or a customer (students). The cognitive processes of assimilation and accommodation that students perform during learning activities are very similar to the changes in the state of mind that Hochschild refers to. Therefore there must be some attempt to prescribe or supervise and measure faculty performance. The various processes that universities are increasingly using to undertake student evaluations of teaching and learning activities of lecturers seem relevant here (Barrett 2004).
We also suggest that emotional labour is exploitable. Because of its nature it is more susceptible to both emotional and financial exploitation than other forms of labour. The demands made by customers and the administration (management) lead to exploitation of academicians and consequently to stress. This appears to be unequally distributed power in the emotional labour triangle. Here the Marxist notion does not prevail. EL is viewed as voluntary exploitation as proposed by Steiner (Constanti & Gibbs 2004). The research is of value as an aid for the management and support of academic staff in an age of managerialism and to the notion of the student as customer. Given the paucity of research and obscurity in literature on the relationship between emotional labour and teaching effectiveness, above discussions can be converted to following hypothesis:
H1: Display of emotions is positively associated with teaching effectiveness.
H1a: The surface acting is negatively associated with teaching effectiveness.
H1b: Automatic regulation is positively associated with teaching effectiveness.
H1c: Deep acting is positively associated with teaching effectiveness.
Sample & Procedure
The participants composed of 140 academicians ranging from Assistant Professors to Professors. The data was collected from different private institutions of Orissa. Data collection took place in the year 2008 over a period of three months. It was done in two phases. The first phase was a pilot study which was conducted in the state of Orissa. After confirming Emotional Labour Scale (ELS) and the four factors construct, a second phase of data collection was done. The author has deduced the present study from second phase of data collection. In the second phase, targeted respondents belonged to private MBA institutions of India. The responses from academicians holding full time positions were solicited. In the first phase, the survey found that in most private institutes, the positions remain unfulfilled. So, the responses were found to be less as compared to the second phase of data collection of survey. The second and the final phase of data collection consists of 491 usable surveys for an 86% overall response rate. A total of 385 men and 106 women faculties responded, while the average age was approximately 36 years (M = 35.8, SD = 8). Respondents reported an average of roughly five years of tenure in their current positions (M = 5.45, SD = 7.90). On an average, the workload came to be nine (M = 8.56, SD = 8). Assistant Professors (N = 330) made up the largest survey group for the present study, followed by Associate Professors (N = 98) and Professors (N = 63). Finally, a few respondents were holding Ph.D. degrees (29%).
Emotional labour has been assessed by Indian adaptation of Gaan (2011). It constitutes 12-items explaining facets like automatic regulation, display of variety of emotions, surface acting and deep acting. It uses a 5-point agreement scale to record the responses. It has shown a reliability coefficient alpha in the range of .67 to .89. The correlation among the facets are reported to be non- significant and low.
Teaching effectiveness was operationalized in a scale to contextualize it owing to its scanty work in past literature. The teaching effectiveness is captured by 17 items by performing factor analysis. It uses a 5-point agreement scale and is recoded as the following: 1 (Strongly disagree) 1, 2 (Diagree), 3(Strongly disagree/Disagree/Neither); 4 (Agree); and 5 (Strongly agree).
Factor Analysis was performed on the overall sample (n=491) using SPSS principal factors extraction with varimax rotation as elicited in Table 3 to identify the factor loads on teaching effectiveness. This was performed to validate the scale on teaching effectiveness. The items (all with Eigen values greater than 1) which accounted for a total of 80% variance were accepted for the purpose of this study.
H1a, H1c which hypothesized negative and positive associations between surface acting and teaching effectiveness and deep acting and teaching effectiveness respectively were supported and relationships were significant ([??] = -.51 t = 7.8, [??] = .25 t = 2.8) as indicated in Table2. This led to the acceptance of hypotheses H1a and H1c. On the contrary, the proposed relationship between the automatic regulation of emotional labour and teaching effectiveness and display of variety of emotions and teaching effectiveness were not supported. Therefore hypotheses H1b and H1d were rejected.
Discussion & Conclusion
The hierarchical regression analysis summerizes that there is significant relationship between emotional labour and teaching effectiveness. Further, the teaching effectiveness construct validity has been tested with factor loads showing beyond the threshold value.
Categorically if we analyze then surface acting seems to be reducing the teaching effectiveness as it is indicated by negative relationship between both the variables. The reason may be attributed to stress or burnout evolved during the performance of emotional labour which in line with multitude of studies done in the past (Brotheridge & Grandey 2002, Brotheridge & Lee 1998, Grandey 2003, Zammuner & Galli 2005, Zammuner & Lotto 2001). Students demand genuine feelings to be displayed by faculty member while performing deep acting. The fake feelings diminish the faith and belief of the students on the subject matter taught irrespective of which pedagogy faculty uses aided by latest technology. On the contrary, deep acting is shown to be positively linked to teaching effectiveness. This in turn indicates that the students expect internalization of the desired emotional expressions of the faculty member. This reinforces the teaching effectiveness explained in terms of style, technology aid, faculty expertise, proctorial system, feedback mechanisms and so on. Such conformity might elevate faculty member's persona. The automatic regulation which is more similar to emotional consonance does not have any role in predicting teaching effectiveness in Indian context whereas it has been revealed in the past literature that it intensifies the personal accomplishment which in turn might increase teaching effectiveness (Naring et.al. 2006). This is an ideal situation which demands authenticity but is only achievable if the faculty member does not experience teaching workload. But in the present study, it is quite noticeable that deep and surface acting are the key dimensions of emotional labour which are predicting significantly the teaching effectiveness. Display of variety of emotions has not shown significant linkages with teaching effectiveness. Due to occupational and organizational expectations positive display of emotions is considered to be the idealized form of emotions in most of the classroom situations. It might indicate contamination of scale wherein it can be suggested that display of variety of emotions should be replaced by positive display of emotions. Thus its effect has remained mute.
Implications of Study
EL facilitates further research for understanding the implications of emotional management as an intervention strategy. It can be possibly used to understand the linkage between performance of EL and operating costs and organizational performance. The nomological network of teaching effectiveness should be tested further with some more additional items. The study has further strengthened the belief that performance of emotional labour can considered to be an important tool to disguise over feelings and improve performance in the conflicting situation created by paradigm shift towards of "mangerialism" in higher education.
The deep acting should be performed by faculty in order to reinforce positive behaviour. The surface acting should be circumvented as it diminishes the faculty performance. Emotional consonance or automatic regulation and variety of emotional display remain taciturn. Moreover the role of automatic regulation has been replaced by one dimension of emotional dissonance called deep acting unlike previous research of Naring et.al. (2006) indicating strengthening of one's personal competence. There is unitary expression to be displayed by faculty instead of displaying array of emotions that is desired by students. This may refer strongly to positive emotional labour and not the negative emotional labour. That emphasizes on the caring attitude of faculty towards teaching students in higher education. The relationship between the EL and teaching effectiveness remits that burnout and stress are the variables which probably moderate the relationship between the two.
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Niharika Gaan is Associate Professor (HR/ OB), Gittaratan International Business Studies, Rohini, New Delhi. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Table 1 Mean, Standard Deviation & Cronbach a of the Variables (N = 491) Mean Standard No. of Cronbach Variable Deviation Items a Display 7.57 .86 3 .76 Automatic regulation 10.42 1.01 3 .67 Surface 7.57 1.23 3 .86 Deep 9.84 0.89 3 .89 Teaching effectiveness 56.75 0.95 17 .79 Table 2 Hierarchical Regression Analysis between Emotional Labour & Teaching Effectiveness (N = 491) Criterion Predictor Adjusted [??] p < [R.sup.2] Teaching Surface -.510 .000 Effectiveness Automatic -.067 .495 Display of Emotions .077 .598 Deep .201 .245 .024 Table 3 Teaching Effectiveness (N = 491) Items Items Factor No. Loads 1 Students meet success when instruction is adapted to meet their needs .79 2 Incorporating a variety of teaching methods has helped my students to be better learners .84 3 Linking up my students prior knowledge with new incoming information has lead to deeper learning .81 4 Teaching with visual aids has enhanced the learning effectiveness .80 5 Arranging guest lectures from corporate practitioners have enhanced the learning among students .68 6 Teaching is effective by understanding the 7 cultural background of students .87 8 Student's attendance increases when personal attention is given at the time of teaching. .88 9 Auxiliary reading material and handout provision assist in better teaching .90 10 Interim exams when conducted results in better learning .78 11 Frequent feedback from students provide direction towards better teaching .79 12 Student's academic performance increases when personal touch is given outside the class through proctorial system .70 13 Teacher's participation in informal discussion with students outside the class increases student's motivation towards studies. .84 14 The instructor's teaching style held student's attention. .87 15 The instructor's depth on the subject make the subject more interesting .89 16 Assignments used in this class increased my knowledge and understanding of key topics. .88 17 Topics covered on exams were consistent with the specified content and material used in this course. .85 Note: Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization Rotation converged in 7th iterations.
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|Publication:||Indian Journal of Industrial Relations|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2012|
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