Emotional labor in academe. Challenges faced

  • Published September 27, 2016
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    Volume 14 2016, Issue #3 (cont. 2), pp. 575-582
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Interest in the study of emotions have always been present. Academic jobs are susceptible to multiple demands from various stakeholders. This paper presents the occasion to question whether academics are emotional laborers? The concept of emotional labor have been heavily investigated and researched in the customer service domain. Notably, emotional labor in higher education institutions is a relatively understudied research area. A theoretical framework of emotional labor is presented. It is essential to understand the demands that emotional labor places on academics and its impact on higher education institutions. Subsequently, the paper explores emotional labor among academic staff in higher education institutions, namely, the university system. The consequences and challenges of emotional labor are further evaluated. The paper is a meta-analysis and qualitative in nature. The study uses secondary data and reviews various literature on emotional labor, teaching and higher education institutions, and presents a conceptual paper. It considers the evaluation of academics in higher education institutions as emotional laborers. Literature was further probed to investigate academics as emotional laborers. Subsequently, the consequences and challenges were discussed. The paper further suggests that higher education intuitions need to be cognisant of the demands that emotional labor places on academic staff and the impact on their well-being. It is essential that the quality of work life of academics within higher education are addressed, as such studies are long overdue and under researched.

Keywords: emotional labor, emotions, academics, university, teaching, higher education institution.
JEL Classification: I23

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