Whereas cognitive and motivational job requirements have been studied for quite some time, the concept of emotion work (emotional labor) has been neglected in work and organizational psychology. This concept puts emotional job requirements into the foreground: It is required by the organization that certain emotions have to be displayed by the employees. An example for emotional job requirements is that flight attendants have to treat (even impolite) guests in a friendly way, that a nurse has to show empathy towards a patient, etc. Emotion work is a key characteristic of jobs in the service sector, that is, all job with contacts to customers, patients, clients, students, children etc. A high variation in emotion work is assumed. The requirements of a bank clerk may differ considerably from the requirements of a flight attendant or a nurse.

We developed an instrument to measure emotion work (Frankfurt Emotion Work Scales FEWS, Zapf et al., 1999; current version FEWS 4.0, Zapf et al., 2000) which can be applied in various branches and occupations. There are translations into English, French, Spanish and Polish.

Research questions are among others:

  1. relationships between emotion work and psychological strain, especially burnout
  2. coping with emotion work
  3. personality factors that affect the experience of emotion work
  4. customer orientation, service climate and emotion work

Current research project