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Learning emotion rules in service organizations: socialization and training in the UK public-house sector

Seymour, Diane and Sandiford, Peter J. (2005) Learning emotion rules in service organizations: socialization and training in the UK public-house sector. employment & society, 19 (3). pp. 547-564. ISSN 1469-8722

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Abstract

This article discusses the way in which emotion rules are learned by service workers through an ethnographic study of employees in a chain of public houses. It reviews the findings of recent research based on studies of large firms in the service sector in order to discuss similarities and differences in the ways in which emotion rules are learned, internalized, controlled, and monitored in large firms and small units. It concludes that in contrast to large firms, small units are characterized by little formal training and few explicit rules for emotion management and display. Implicit rules for performing emotional labour are learned through informal socialization with colleagues, managers, and customers. The importance of competing informal social control mechanisms is highlighted, showing how service workers are expected to be skilled emotion managers negotiating the expectations of different stakeholders.

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