Date of Award

Fall 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Kevin Mahoney


Organizational research has begun to once again focus on the importance of emotions in the workplace. In particular, the concept of emotional labor, the management of emotions at work to influence clients and customers, has recently received much attention. While research has addressed the impact of emotional labor on both employees and clients or customers, research has not examined emotional labor within the context of leadership.

Authentic leadership, an emerging construct in the study of leadership, is proposed to relate to emotional labor. Leaders' authentic behavior has been shown to positively impact followers, such as increasing trust in their leader or positive job attitudes as in job satisfaction and organizational commitment. While authenticity refers to being true to oneself, emotional labor involves the alteration of one's felt emotions in order to generate a particular emotional display. Given that engaging in emotional labor seems contrary to behaving authentically, emotional labor was expected to impact both leaders and followers through authenticity.

Specifically, emotional labor was hypothesized to have detrimental effects on a leader's felt authenticity and followers' perceptions of authenticity, leader emotional exhaustion, and followers' trust in their leader. However, emotional labor was expected to positively impact evaluations of leader emotional displays. In addition, individual differences in self-monitoring were expected to influence the emotional labor leaders performed. Self-monitoring was expected to exacerbate the effect of emotional labor; leaders high in self-monitoring were expected to engage in more emotional labor. This study examined these relationships using a controlled, laboratory design. Assigned leaders led a team instructed to perform a collaborative task. Leaders were responsible for communicating the task requirements to their group and for managing the group throughout the task.

In addition to the task, participants completed surveys assessing emotional display rule perceptions, emotional labor, self-monitoring, leader emotional displays, authenticity, emotional exhaustion, and trust. Results indicate that leaders' emotional labor was unrelated to their felt and perceived authenticity or leader emotional displays, but did relate to their emotional exhaustion. Self-monitoring did influence leaders' emotional labor, although contrary to expectations. Leaders' emotional displays and perceived authenticity did significantly relate to their followers' trust.