1st Edition

The Dark Side of Emotional Labour

By Jenna Ward, Robert McMurray Copyright 2016
    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Dark Side of Emotional Labour explores the work that the rest of society would rather not think about, the often unseen work that is emotionally disturbing, exhausting, upsetting, and stigmatising. This is work that is simultaneously undesirable and rewarding, work whose tasks are eschewed and yet necessary for the effective function of individual organisations and society at large.

    Diverse and challenging, this book examines how workers such as the doorman, the HR manager, the waiter and the doctor’s receptionist experience verbal aggression and intimidation; how the prison officer and home carer respond to the emotions associated with physical violence, and; how the Samaritan, banker and veterinarian deal in death and despair. It also considers how different individuals develop the emotional capital necessary to cope with the dark side of emotional labour, and how individuals can make sense of, and come to take satisfaction and pride in, such difficult work. Finally, the book considers what is to be done with darker emotional work, both in terms of the management and care of those labouring on the dark side.

    Challenging and original, this book gives a voice to those who undertake the most demanding work on our behalf. It will be of interest to researchers and students of organisation studies and its related fields, and to every one of us who is called on to work or manage on the Dark Side.

    1. Introduction 2. Paid to Scare or Care? The invisibility of antipathetic emotional labour 3. Absent Emotion? Remaining neutral in the face of abuse 4. Dealing in Emotional Dirty Work 5. "Who Will We Go To With Our Problems?" Emotional pain and the threat of Toxicity 6. "Some People Can Do It and Some People Can’t" Emotional capital as exposure, experience and praxis 7. Emotional Labour and the Ethics of Care


    Jenna Ward is Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at DeMontford University, UK.

    Robert McMurray is Senior Lecturer in Management at Durham University, UK

    'This original and provocative book focusing on ‘the dark side’ of emotional labour weaves original research into discussions of complex debates on ethics, embodiment, capital and exploitation. It stretches the field in important and exciting directions and is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the management and experience of emotion in contemporary work organizations.' - Melissa Tyler, Professor, University of Essex, UK

    'This gripping book presents an exploration of work that is at once emotionally disturbing, upsetting or stigmatising and at the same time necessary. Work that the rest of society would rather not think about. The compelling analysis leaves us under no illusion about the darker side of emotional labour even though we come to see how some people may take pride in such work.'- Paula Hyde, Professor, The University of Manchester, UK

    'If organizations and their members read Ward and McMurray's The Dark Side of Emotional Labour, working lives would change. This book brings together two decades of research on emotional labourers with a theoretically strong critique of emotional labour, a core concept in work and society and management and organization studies. This is the first rigorous take on the 'the dark side' of emotion at the level of subjectivity, care, ethics and work. A painful joy to read.' - Alison Pullen, Professor, Macquarie University, Australia

    'With wisdom and clarity Jenna Ward and Robert McMurray guide us through the unfamiliar terrain of the dark side of emotional labour - emotional dirty work, emotional labour that is antipathetic, and facing abuse from customers. The authors combine a deft theoretical imagination with a close reading of rich empirical material in this beautiful and important book.' - Marek Korczynski, Professor, The University of Nottingham, UK