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Title: Emotional self-management and its significance for well-being in service work
Author: Sheehan, Conor
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 0636
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2017
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This study investigates service workers’ experiences of managing their emotions and how they make sense of these in relation to their perceived well-being. It responds to calls within the sociology of service work literature for a more definitive focus upon the dynamic complexity of service agents’ ‘emotional self-management’ and their self-care across, in addition to within, specific occupational contexts. The still novel qualitative methodology, interpretative phenomenological analysis (‘IPA’) was adopted because of its emphasis upon gathering experiential data from a first person viewpoint. This choice of IPA was innovative, not only because of its virtual invisibility in service research to date, but also because it was methodologically augmented using artefact elicitation technique. A purposive, non-random, sample of twelve participants was drawn, six from each of two specific occupational groups; air cabin crew and nurses, with respondents participating in a series of in-depth, loosely structured interviews over an extended timeframe. The findings revealed that three key relationships lay at the heart of how participants made sense of their emotional experiences; service agents’ themselves, their interaction with working colleagues and those whom they served. Relationships were played out within dynamic climates of authenticity, falseness, loyalty or betrayal and often interpreted by respondents in terms of their inherent degrees of truth, trust, dignity and pride. This study contributes to contextual and theoretical understanding by offering fresh insights on service agents’ emotional experiences as mediating influences in their socially constructed sense of selves and their well-being. This is one of very few studies which emphasise idiographic contexts within the broader patterns of worker–customer relations, transcending the traditionally delineated occupational boundaries of nursing and commercial service work. New knowledge has been created by considering individuals’ feelings about their work in this way thus prompting a reconsideration of emotion effort in terms of its complexity, challenge and occupational context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available