Service, Emotional Labor, and Mindfulness

15 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2017

See all articles by Emma (Junhong) Wang

Emma (Junhong) Wang

Bentley University

Pierre R. Berthon

Bentley University

Leyland Pitt

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business

Ian P. McCarthy

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

Date Written: December 5, 2016

Abstract

From the seclusion of monastic life to the noise of Silicon Valley, the ancient practice of mindfulness has ‘come out of the cloister.’ As an antidote to mindless cognition and behavior, the practice of mindfulness — with its principle of grounding attention in the present moment — has been shown to have powerful and positive effects at both the individual and the collective level and in fields as wide-ranging as medicine, schooling, prison programs, law and negotiation, business, and even the army. This installment of Marketing & Technology introduces mindfulness to managers and explores its potential for enhancing the service encounter. We begin by reviewing the two main conceptualizations of mindfulness: the cognitive and the contemplative. We then explore the service encounter from the perspective of emotional labor and show how mindfulness can change surface acting into deep acting, thereby significantly improving the service encounter for both the consumer and provider. We also explore the other benefits of mindfulness and their application to the service encounter: adaptability, flexibility, and creativity. We conclude by sharing resources for managers interested in implementing mindfulness training.

Keywords: Mindfulness, Emotional Labour, Services, Service Operations, Hospitality, Creativity, Improvisation, Acting, Well Being

JEL Classification: M1, M10

Suggested Citation

Wang, Emma (Junhong) and Berthon, Pierre R. and Pitt, Leyland and McCarthy, Ian P., Service, Emotional Labor, and Mindfulness (December 5, 2016). Business Horizons, Vol. 59, No. 6, December 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2947132 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2947132

Emma (Junhong) Wang

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02145
United States

Pierre R. Berthon

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02145
United States

Leyland Pitt

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Ian P. McCarthy (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

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