Griffin, Andrea Eugenie Charlotte (2003-05). Display rules for expressed emotion within organizations and gender: implications for emotional labor and social place marking. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Emotions are recognized as central to organizational life. The dialogue on the role of emotion in organizational life is furthered here by addressing the role that gendered display rules and associated expectations play in shaping individuals' expressed (rather than felt) responses to emotional exchanges within the organization. The role of gender in shaping intraorganizational emotional display rules is examined as it interplays at social, organizational and individual normative levels. In this context, emotions and emotional displays at work are seen as affecting individual's subjective social place in organizations. It is argued that gendering influences within the organization make social place marking more difficult and may result in increased forms of emotional labor, particularly surface acting/emotional dissonance, which may lead to emotional exhaustion in employees. A laboratory experiment was conducted using videotaped vignettes to represent more and less levels of gendering in emotional interactions. Findings indicate that there were no main effects for level of gendering as operationalized by this study on emotional dissonance, emotional exhaustion and subjective social place. Exploratory data analyses conducted further examine these relationships and point out the importance of the sex of the employee involved in the emotional exchange. This study points towards theoretical and empirical implications for how emotions are interpreted not only by members of different sex categories, but also for other dimensions of diversity in the organization and associated consequences.

publication date

  • May 2003