‘Serving with a smile’ has generally been associated with negative effects for employee well-being. The present study investigated whether emotional display rules also relate to positive outcomes by distinguishing demands to suppress negative emotional response (negative display rules) from demands to express positive emotions (positive display rules). In line with the job demands-resources model outcomes involved emotional exhaustion and work engagement. Participants were employees in three occupational groups in the human service profession: sales (N = 480) healthcare (N = 399) and education (N = 220). The outcomes of a multi-group analysis in LISREL revealed for all three occupational groups that negative display rules were related to emotional exhaustion while positive display rules were associated with work engagement. Together these findings suggest that ‘serving with a smile’ can enhance employee well-being when the emphasis is on showing positive affects instead of suppressing negative affects.
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