Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Emotional labor in librarianship: A research agenda

an article by Miriam L. Matteson and Shelly S. Miller (School of Library and Information Science, Kent State University, Columbus, USA) published in Library & Information Science Research Volume 34 Issue 3 (July 2012)


Many occupations, including librarianship, require emotional labour, which can be defined as the awareness of the emotional expressions required of a job, and the strategies used to express those emotions. To date, little research has examined emotional labour in library work, even though strong evidence exists to suggest emotional labour is a key component of many library jobs.

Research on emotional labour shows that there can be positive and negative effects on individuals such as job satisfaction and job burnout. Research also shows that the negative outcomes from emotional labour may be buffered to some extent by factors such as support from the organization, or job autonomy. Individual differences such as personality traits and attitudes toward customers also impact the effects of emotional labour on employees.

Because emotional labour is a critical issue in library work, and because evidence suggests positive outcomes can be fostered, there is a need to study how emotional labour is carried out in libraries, and to identify management techniques for emotional labour that will yield positive outcomes for both employees and organizations.

Empirical research on emotional labour is reviewed, and a research agenda for exploration of this important construct in the field of librarianship is presented.

► Emotional labour (EL) involves managing emotions required by a job.
► EL strategies are categorized as either deep acting or surface acting.
► EL strategies affect both individuals’ well-being and organizational outcomes.
► EL outcomes can also be influenced by individual and organizational factors.
► EL is a construct important in librarianship and should be further researched.

Hazel’s comment:
Let us not forget the many volunteers now providing a service in libraries. Are they being trained in managing the emotions involved in their work?
I doubt it!

No comments: