Organizational commitment, emotional labor and intentions to leave: an exploratory study conducted among call center agents
This article aims to present an exploratory study that examines the relationship between the multidimensional concept of organizational commitment, emotional labor, and intentions to leave the organization. The concept of organizational commitment has three components: affective commitment, normative commitment, and continuance commitment (Meyer and Allen, 1991,1997). The three components represent a psychological state that defines the employee's relationship with his organization. While the concept of emotional labor refers to the management of emotions during interaction with customers in a service context (Hochschild, 1983). This concept involves the use of emotion-regulation strategies including deep acting, surface acting and the expression of naturally felt emotions. In this article, we review literature pertaining to these two concepts. Then, based on the psychological contract theory (Rousseau, 1989), we will attempt to answer the following research questions: can organizational commitment predict emotional labor among call center agents? What is the link between organizational commitment, emotional labor and intentions to leave? The qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews revealed that organizational commitment can predict the type of emotion-regulation strategies performed by call center agents. More precisely, affective commitment predicts the use of deep acting and the authentic expression of positive emotions. Normative commitment is associated with all types of emotion-regulation strategies, while continuance commitment is more associated with surface acting. Furthermore, the results show a positive impact of surface acting strategy on turnover intentions. Surface acting is the main predictor of turnover intentions, whereas a negative effect of deep acting strategy and the expression of authentic positive emotions was found on the intentions to quit. In the same vein, a negative effect of the three dimensions of organizational commitment on intentions to quit was revealed. These findings have interesting practical implications with regard to various management functions such as recruitment, training and performance management.
JEL Classification: M54
Paper type: Empirical research
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