Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

For a better workday, smile like you mean it

Date:
February 23, 2011
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
A new study suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity.

Want to keep your boss happy? Smile at your customers. Want to keep yourself happy and productive? Smile like you mean it.

A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts -- such as a tropical vacation or a child's recital -- improve their mood and withdraw less.

"Employers may think that simply getting their employees to smile is good for the organization, but that's not necessarily the case," said Brent Scott, assistant professor of management. "Smiling for the sake of smiling can lead to emotional exhaustion and withdrawal, and that's bad for the organization."

For the study, which appears in the February issue of the Academy of Management Journal, Scott and former MSU doctoral student Christopher Barnes studied a group of city bus drivers during a two-week period. They examined the effects of surface acting, or fake smiling, and deep acting, or cultivating positive emotions by recalling pleasant memories or thinking about the current situation in a more favorable way.

The study is one of the first of its kind to examine emotional displays over a period of time while also delving into gender differences, Scott said.

The results were stronger for the women bus drivers, he said.

"Women were harmed more by surface acting, meaning their mood worsened even more than the men and they withdrew more from work," Scott said. "But they were helped more by deep acting, meaning their mood improved more and they withdrew less."

While the study didn't explore the reasons behind these differences, Scott said previous research suggests women are both expected to and do show greater emotional intensity and positive emotional expressiveness than men. Thus, faking a smile while still feeling negative emotion conflicts with this cultural norm and may cause even more harmful feelings in women, he said, while changing internal feelings by deep acting would gel with the norm and may improve mood even more.

But while deep acting seemed to improve mood in the short-term, Scott said that finding comes with a caveat.

"There have been some suggestions that if you do this over a long period that you start to feel inauthentic," he said. "Yes, you're trying to cultivate positive emotions, but at the end of the day you may not feel like yourself anymore."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brent A. Scott, Christopher M. Barnes. A Multilevel Field Investigation of Emotional Labor, Affect, Work Withdrawal, and Gender. Academy of Management Journal, Volume 54, Number 1 February 2011

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "For a better workday, smile like you mean it." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122059.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2011, February 23). For a better workday, smile like you mean it. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122059.htm
Michigan State University. "For a better workday, smile like you mean it." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122059.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins