Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Scott E. Seibert
Terry L. Boles
An increasing stream of research has shown that leaders' emotions have substantial impact on followers' attitudes and performance. However, this line of research has not explored the psychological process leaders use to generate and express their emotions. This is an important gap in the leadership literature because theoretical and empirical work suggests that leaders do manage their feelings and / or expressions of emotions in leader-follower interactions. Therefore, to fill this critical gap, this dissertation examined the role of leaders' emotional labor on followers' attitudes and performance and on leaders' attitudes and well-being.
A longitudinal survey design was employed to test study hypotheses. Data were collected from supervisors and their direct reports in three business organizations in the Midwest. Results show that leaders' surface acting was significantly negatively associated with followers' transformational leadership perceptions, which were positively related to follower job satisfaction, organizational identification, task performance, and organizational citizenship behavior directed toward the organization (OCB-O). Leaders' deep acting and display of genuine emotions were positively related to followers' emotional engagement, which was positively related to job satisfaction, organizational identification, and OCB-O. In addition, the mean level of leaders' expressed positive emotions moderated the relationship between leaders' display of genuine emotions and followers' positive emotional reactions, such that leaders' display of genuine emotions had the most positive effect when followers perceived that the mean level of leaders' expressed emotions was highly positive. Consistent with my arguments, transformational leadership and positive emotional reactions were positively related to emotional engagement, whereas negative emotional reactions were negatively related to emotional engagement. Positive emotional reactions were positively correlated with job satisfaction, organizational identification, organizational citizenship behavior directed toward other individuals (OCB-I), and OCBO. Unlike positive emotional reactions, negative emotional reactions had negative relationships with the above outcome variables. Contrary to my expectations, leaders' surface acting was negatively associated with leaders' emotional exhaustion and leaders' emotional labor was not significantly associated with leaders' job satisfaction. Additional analyses revealed several unexpected but important findings. Theoretical contributions, managerial implications, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Copyright 2011 Gang Wang
Wang, Gang. "What role does leaders' emotional labor play in effective leadership? An empirical examination." dissertation, University of Iowa, 2011.