Emotional Labour in University Lecturers: Considerations for Higher Education Institutions

Karen Berry, Simon Cassidy


Emotional labour is a state that exists when there is a discrepancy between the emotional demeanour that anindividual displays and the genuinely felt emotions that would be inappropriate to display (Mann 1999b).The studyexamined levels of emotional labour in university lecturers and compared these data to other occupations. Employinga mixed methods design, a sample of 61 university lecturers participated in the study. Emotional labour wasmeasured using Mann’s Emotional Requirements Inventory (MERI). Results showed that university lecturersreported significantly higher levels of emotional labour than other occupations including mental health nurses and amix of frontline and back office employees. Age and length of service were found to be significant factors foremotional labour in university lecturers. Qualitative findings identified the main themes as increased workloads,eroding job autonomy, uncertainty about the future and job satisfaction. Based on findings from the study, aconceptual model of emotional labour in higher education was proposed, the Higher Education Emotional LabourModel (HEEL). Implications for university senior management in recognising the high levels of emotional labourlevels were considered. Further suggested research directions considered include work to determine the frequency ofemotional labour in university lecturers, testing the validity of the proposed Higher Education Emotional LabourModel and investigating the job role characteristics of a university lecturer.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jct.v2n2p22


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Copyright (c) 2013 Karen Berry, Simon Cassidy

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email: jct@sciedupress.com

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