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The Influence of Disparate Emotional Labor Performances by Diverse Group Members on Government Legitimacy

Author: ANTHONY SILARD and JONATHAN F. ANDERSON
Published in PAQ, Vol. 42 No. 2

Emotional labor research has focused primarily on one particular context—the work of employees to display positive emotions in customer service relationships. Emotional labor, however, is an important mechanism of many different relationships. One of them is the emotional labor of non-dominant group members to conform to dominant-culture standards in public organizations. It is incumbent upon scholars and practitioners alike to recognize that organizational norms are constructed by groups who hold power and that conforming to dominant-culture norms is not automatically a positive, normative goal for all organizational members. We theorize that the performance of emotional labor is disparately enacted by dominant and non-dominant social groups within public organizations. We contend that, as per the expectation of public agencies to exemplify representative bureaucracy, this disparity acts as athreattogovernmentlegitimacy.

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