Service with Smile in Organizational Culture
In the modern society, nowadays it is not fresh to hear the phrase of “service with a smile”. This phrase has become a logo in many organizations especially in those centers on providing good services. From the commercial shops to bus stations, or from the regular shopping streets to the governmental departments, every field attaches great importance to the phrase of “service with a smile”. For the phrase of “service with a smile”, it lies on the effects of emotional labor (Johnson, 2004). To discuss the phrase of “service with a smile”, it is important to illustrate theories of organizational culture, of which the key is to illustrate the emotionalized organizations, emotional labor and emotional risks. The phrase of “service with smile” reveals the contemporary attitudes towards emotion in the workplace. As what Sutton and Rafaeli (1988) proposed the emotions displayed not only can be regarded as the characteristic of the individual but also concerned with organizations.
In this article, the author centers on the discussion of the “story” behind the phrase of “service with a smile”. To explore the theories behind the “service with the smile”, the author has analyzed the organizational culture and emotional labor. Based on the exploration of the organizational culture and emotional labor, the author analyzes the importance of emotional labor in organizational culture.
2. Organizational Culture
The heart of organizations is consisting of beliefs, values and ideology. Certain of ideas and values are held by individuals, which are influential to their behavior and their view about other members’ behavior (Bush, 2003). In the organizations, beliefs, ideas, norms and values of all individuals jointly form the culture of the organization.
According to Bush (2003), there are 4 major features of organizational culture:
I. The focus of the organizational culture is an individual member’s values and beliefs. The values and beliefs support individuals’ behaviors in the organizations. Individual members’ values and beliefs in the organization melded into the shared values, beliefs, and norms in the organization, which form the shared understanding of the organization individual members. As Morgan (1997) proposed, these shared understanding also provide a basis that makes individual behaviors sensible and meaningful. Although not all individual values and beliefs are consistent with the whole organizations (Fullan & Hargreaves, 1992), the organizational values and belief are adaptable to most of the members. Generally speaking, the organization culture is constituted by individual values and beliefs, but not all individual values and beliefs are consistent to the organization culture.
II. The organization culture centers on the development of shared values and norms. From Nias et al.’s (1989) case-study schools, it shows that during staff talked, worked and relaxed together, the shared meanings and norms are negotiated to enable them to understand each other’s behaviors. And consequently, the shared norms, beliefs, meanings and understandings in the organization are formed. In the organizations, the monoculture is developed throughout all individuals. The typical development of the organizational culture is centering on the development of the whole group’s shared value and norms, although there may be also some development of individual interests.
III. The typical expression of the organizational culture is through rituals and ceremonies, with shared beliefs, norms, values or meanings celebrated. Schools, taken as the example, usually apply celebrations like prize-giving, assemblies or corporate worship to express their meaning, values and norms. Schein (1997) believes that the key to the deciphering are rites and rituals, which are also the heart to cultural communication. Similarly, Hoyle (1986) holds the idea that the ritual is the key model of the organizational culture. Also taken the school as an example, Hoyle (1986) argues three modes of the school culture, namely conceptual or verbal mode, behavioral mode and visual or material mode.
IV. In the organizational culture, heroes and heroines are assumed to be existed to represent the organization values, meanings and beliefs. In the organization, the outstanding performers of the organizational culture are always regarded as the heroes or heroines. Honored individual members are models in behaving in compliance with the organization values, norms and beliefs. Just as Campbell-Evans (1993) stressed, the achievements of heroes or heroines are in compliance with the organizational culture.
Organizational culture is jointly formed by individuals’ values, beliefs, meaning, norms and understandings, which are influential to individuals’ behaviors and their view towards each other. The organization culture is the focus on the individual values and beliefs. The key of the organizational culture is the development of the shared values and norms. Typically, the expression of the organizational culture is through rituals and ceremonies. And there are heroes and heroines in the organization, who are remarkably accomplished the organizational culture.
3. Concept of Emotional labor
The term emotional labor was used by Arlie Russell Hochschild to refer to the feeling management to create an observable facial publicly and body display (Hochschild, 1983). In the psychology filed, the term emotion is a subjective feel and publicly displayed, which are with characteristics of psychological expression, mental state and biological reactions (Kendra Cherry, 2013). Related to the emotions, the term emotional labor is defined as “the effort, planning, and control needed to express organizationally desired emotions during interpersonal transactions” (Morris & Feldman, 1996). According to Ashforth and Humphrey (1993), the emotional labor is the expression of emotions which are organizationally desired in the service field. Identified by Hochschild (1983), there are two methods used by employees for emotions management, namely surface acting and deep acting. The surface acting relates to the management of observable expressions while deep acting refers to the management of personal feelings. According to the Morris and Feldman (1996), there are four dimensions of the emotional labor: attentiveness to display rules, frequency of emotional display, variety of emotions to be expressed and emotional dissonance.
I. Attentiveness to Display Rules
Display rules are, defined by Rafaeli and Sutton (1989), the function of norms in the society, organizations and occupations. The requirement of attentiveness to display rules is closely linked to the demand of psychological energy and physical effort in the service job. The more attentiveness required, the more psychological energy and physical effort are demanded. As Hochschild (1983) illustrated, the longer emotional displays, the greater attention and emotional stamina required. Compared with the deep acting, intense emotions will not be required for the surface acting. Since the deep acting concerns the insight feeling and mental activities, high emotional efforts are demanded. Therefore, job involving more deep acting requires more mental efforts (Morris & Feldman, 1996).
II. Frequency of Emotional Display
The frequency of emotional display refers to how often the emotions displayed. As the most studied aspect of the term emotional labor, according to Johnson (2004), the frequency of emotional display is still a very important indicator of emotional labor. It cannot be ignored in the discussion of the emotional labor. The frequency of the emotional display is very closely related to the emotional labor. The often of emotional displays required by the organization, the great demand of emotional labor is. In general, higher frequency of emotional display requires greater emotional labor. During the analysis of the emotional labor, the frequency of emotional display should be fully considered.
III. Variety of Emotions to Be Expressed
In the organizations, emotions displayed are different. According to Wharton and Erickson’s classification, (1993), there are three kinds of organizational emotions. Emotions displayed can be positive, negative and neutral. The variety of emotions to be expressed is also an important factor of the emotional labor. In different contexts, different emotions displayed may be required. The larger variety of emotions is required to be expressed, the greater emotional labor is required. For example, when an employee is required to change emotions frequently, the employee need to input more psychological energy and reaction, therefore, greater emotional labor is demanded.
IV. Emotional Dissonance
As aforementioned, there are two methods for employees to manage their emotions, namely surface acting and deep acting. The emotional dissonance means the conflict between real emotion of employees and emotions prescribed by the organization (Middleton, 1989). Because of the emotional dissonance, higher ability for controlling and managing behavior is required. When there is a conflict between employees’ real felt emotion and the organizationally required emotion, the emotional labor will be very difficult. For example, there is a story: a young businessman said to a flight attendant ‘why are not you smiling?’ She put her tray back on the food cart and said ‘I’ll tell you what. You smile first, then I’ll smile’. The business smiled at her. ‘Good’ she replied. ‘Now freeze and hold that for fifteen hours’. Normally, smile means happy, but for the attendant, long-hour of smiling makes their smiles no longer means happy any more. Therefore, it is difficult for them to smile.
According to its definition, the term emotional labor refers to the process that regulates emotions and expressions for organizational targets (Grandey, 2000). With the reference of theories of Morris and Feldman (1996), emotional labor should be analyzed from four dimensions of the emotional labor: attentiveness to display rules, frequency of emotional display, variety of emotions to be expressed and emotional dissonance. In the past, traditional culture may not note the importance of the emotional labor. However, in the modern society, more and more organizations are caring about the importance of the emotional labor.
4. Importance of the Emotional Labor in Modern Organizational Culture
Disney Land, which is branded as the “happiest place on earth”, is regarded as the smile factory according to the John Van Maanen (1991). In the modern society, there is an increasingly number of enterprises or organizations care about the “smile”. Just like the Disney Land, many enterprises or organizations require their employees to service with a smile. The phrase “service with smile” reveals the contemporary attitudes towards emotion in the workplace, which has already regard the emotion as an important factor of enterprises or organization operation. According to the author’s opinion, the emotional labor is very important to the organizational culture.
First of all, the emotional labor is very important for employers to care about the employees emotions. In the workplace, it has to accept that the positive emotions can improve employees’ working efficiency and motivate employees. Therefore, in the workplace, if the employers care about the management of the employees emotions, the working efficiency of employees can be improved. And consequently, the whole enterprises or organizations can be well developed.
Secondly, the emotional labor is very important to improve the service level of enterprises and organizations. One of the reasons for why Disney Land is so welcomed all over the world is because of the happiness climate it created. In the modern society, the service quality is highly required by the customers. It is obvious that customers want to be treated kindly and served with smiles. Therefore, nowadays more and more enterprises or organizations like KFC and McDonald’s have developed the policy of “service with a smile”. However, this policy means the input of employees’ emotions.
When you are walking in the Disney Land and are surrounded by smiles and happiness, it shows you the emotions displayed by the Disney workers works. Besides, when you are dining in the McDonald’s and are welcomed with smiles, it also shows the emotions displayed by the McDonald’s workers. Nowadays, it is not fresh to see the slogan of “service with a smile”, this phrase reveals the contemporary attitudes to the emotional labor in the workplace. In the organizational culture, the emotional labor is more and more noted by the entrepreneurs or organization managers.
According to the author’s illustration, Organizational culture is jointly formed by individuals’ values, beliefs, meaning, norms and understandings, which are influential to individuals’ behaviors and their view towards each other. One of the important factors of the organizational culture to be analyzed in this article is about the emotional labor. Behind the appealing of “service with a smile”, it concerns the emotional labor in the workplaces. According to the author, the emotional labor has importance: it is very important for employers to care about the employees emotions; is very important to improve the service level of enterprises and organizations.
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