Willing and able to fake emotions: a closer examination of the link between emotional dissonance and employee well-being.J Appl Psychol. 2011 Mar; 96(2):377-90.JA
Emotional dissonance resulting from an employee's emotional labor is usually considered to lead to negative employee outcomes, such as job dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion. Drawing on Festinger's (1957) cognitive dissonance theory, we argue that the relationship between service employees' surface acting and job dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion is moderated by 2 aspects of a service worker's self-concept: the importance of displaying authentic emotions (reflecting the self-concept's self-liking dimension) and the employee's self-efficacy when faking emotions (reflecting the self-competence dimension). A survey of 528 frontline employees from a wide variety of service jobs provides support for the moderating role of both self-concept dimensions, which moderate 3 out of 4 relationships. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed from the perspectives of cognitive dissonance and emotional labor theories.