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Service work without emotional labour? Role expectations of service engineers, their employers and customers in the mechanical engineering industry

Verena Houben and Kerstin Wuestner

management revue. Socio-economic Studies, 2014, vol. 25, issue 1, 50-66

Abstract: The goal of this research is to understand, if emotional labour is part of atypical service professions like service engineering. The protagonists of this study are service engineers, their employing organisations and customers (service triad). We are interested in the following questions: How do the protagonists perceive the role of the service engineers? Is emotional regulation important in this service? Is emotional labour displayed? For which purposes is it used? Our study shows, that finding technological solutions is dominating in service engineering. Yet, service engineers use not only emotional labour, but also sentimental work. The regulation and influencing of emotions serve different purposes, e.g. to build a relationship with the customer, to extract relevant information from him/her to get a technical problem solved quicker, and to cope with distress that arises from contradictory expectations. Service engineers do this although neither their employer nor the customer explicitly urges them to do so.

Keywords: emotional labour; sentimental work; service engineers; service work (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J24 L80 M54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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