The emotional consequences of service work: An ethnographic examination of hair salon workers

Terrence D. Hill, Christopher Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores the connections between service work and the everyday lived emotional experiences of hair salon workers. Over the past few years, numerous studies have linked service work with various social psychological outcomes, including well-being, job satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, depression, and stress. In an effort to explore the connections between service work and the everyday lived emotional experiences of service workers, original data in the form of nonparticipant field observations and in-depth interviews of 25 hair salon workers were collected in a moderate-sized Midwestern college town. Our findings are generally consistent with the power and status theories of emotion described by Theodore Kemper (1984, 1990, 1991) and Randall Collins (1984, 1990). Customer service interactions are conducive to both positive and negative emotional outcomes. Specifically, complimentary evaluations and the conferral of intimacy favor feelings of pride and happiness, whereas unsatisfactory evaluations and the denial of intimacy contribute to feelings of anger and sadness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Focus
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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