Understanding Display Rules at Work

Published: 2021-06-29 07:08:28
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Category: Psychology

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Organizational display rules can be understood as actions or traits that employees of an organization are required to exhibit. Emotions are defined as 'physiological, behavioral, and psychological episodes experienced towards an object, person, or event that creates a state of readiness' (McShane/ Von Glinow, 2008, p. 98). Organizational display rules are hence aptly termed as emotional labor; the labor comes in the form of the employee having to manage and even customize his emotions such that they are expressed in accordance with the organizational idea. Such emotional labor, assuming it is carried out properly, has obvious benefits.

Using the stakeholder perspective, the customer is definitely better off. There is no rational argument that customers would not rather be treated with emotions that match theirs. Good customer service that comes from employees adhering to the display rules lead to customer satisfaction. Accordingly, customer satisfaction drives organizational performance because satisfied customers are repeat customers are informal ambassadors of an organizational when they 'promote' an organization to their peers and friends. The benefits of good service resulting from display rules are 'customer loyalty, customer referrals, increased customer satisfaction and increased revenue' (Greenpeg, 2010). It follows that, financially, increased consumption leads to better commercial performance, sustained organizational performance and consequently happier shareholders.

Notwithstanding, there are also costs to consider when analyzing display rules. Such costs happen primarily to the employees carrying out such rules and are less commonsensical than the associated benefits. There are two forms of emotional labor - surface acting and deep acting. The former involves the employee putting up a front - 'faking' a desirable persona that may be completely out of sync with the employee's true thoughts. The latter takes the labor a step further and involves the employee adjusting their internal thoughts such that their façades becomes a true inter-exterior reflection and most importantly, match the company ideal. The cost comes about when employees, in performing emotional labor, face emotional dissonance; a product of employees' inner conflict between their required and true emotions. This cost is logically smaller for 'deep actors' since the gap between their true and ideal emotions is smaller than that of 'surface actors' who may have completely opposing true and exhibited emotions. However, it can be assumed that the majority of employees discussed are 'surface actors' and bear the stronger emotional dissonance because deep acting requires good emotional intelligence - a quality most the average employee cannot be assumed to possess.

Emotional dissonance then results in job stress, and can thus lead to job dissatisfaction. There is also related physical exhaustion that contributes to job stress. Dissimulating to be jovial and affable in service requires 'adjustment and coordination of several specific facial muscles and body positions', resulting a gradual physical weariness that would give rise to job dissatisfaction.

Job dissatisfaction, based on the exit-voice-loyalty-neglect (EVLN) model, can bear further costs. Employees may choose to leave the company, creating human resource costs for the employers, which, if grave can lead to financial sufferings. Employees may also voice out their dissonance displeasures in a counterproductive

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