Emotional labour, collectivism and strain: a comparison of Turkish and US service employees

Nixon A. E., CEYLAN S., Nelson C. E., Alabak M.

WORK AND STRESS, vol.34, no.2, pp.168-188, 2020 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/02678373.2019.1598515
  • Journal Name: WORK AND STRESS
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, PASCAL, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, Environment Index, Psycinfo, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, SportDiscus
  • Page Numbers: pp.168-188
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Global growth in service employment highlights the need to understand how cross-cultural differences impact emotional labour processes for service employees. The current study investigates these differences by examining the impact of national and individual level collectivistic values on emotional labour strategies and employee strain (emotional strain, turnover intentions, job satisfaction, and organisational commitment). Cross-sectional data was collected from U.S. (n = 191) and Turkish (n = 249) customer service employees. Results indicate that collectivism impacts the process model of emotional labour via direct and interaction effects. Collectivism was associated with higher emotional labour engagement and lower employee strains. Surface acting was uncorrelated with Turkish employees' strain, though moderated regression analyses revealed interaction effects associated with national and individual level collectivism. These results suggest that collectivistic values may serve as a buffer against harmful effects associated with surface acting. This study is the first to directly compare emotional labour processes in U.S. and Turkish service employees and expand the process model of emotional labour to include collectivism. The theoretical implications of this expanded model are discussed, along with future research directions and practical applications of these findings.