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Why enforced ‘service with a smile’ should be banned

Requiring employees to fake happiness takes a toll and doesn’t increase sales

Professor of Psychology Alicia Grandey's research was recently featured in the Culture Beaker blog from ScienceNews:

As a customer, you may find this relentless cheer uplifting or annoying (I err on the latter; please stop asking me about my day and just make my coffee). In the service industry, this “emotional labor,” to use the academic parlance, is typically a job requirement that’s enforced by management. Yet a large body of research suggests that emotional labor comes at a cost and one that’s primarily paid by the employee. I can’t speak to sales at Pret A Manger, but research also finds little evidence that the practice increases store profits.

“It’s sort of an invisible form of work,” says Penn State organizational psychologist Alicia Grandey, who has studied emotional labor for years. “But it has a real cost. We really want management to think about this: If this is really important to you as a company, if you value it, then you should train for it, and compensate for it. And you should create an environment that is supportive for the employee.”

The full article, which includes more information about Professor Grandey's research can be viewed at ScienceNews.

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