Emotional labour, collectivism and strain: a comparison of Turkish and US service employees

Ashley E. Nixon*, Savas Ceylan, Carnot E. Nelson, Merve Alabak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Global growth in service employment highlights the need to understand how cross-cultural differences impact emotional labour processes for service employees. The current study investigates these differences by examining the impact of national and individual level collectivistic values on emotional labour strategies and employee strain (emotional strain, turnover intentions, job satisfaction, and organisational commitment). Cross-sectional data was collected from U.S. (n = 191) and Turkish (n = 249) customer service employees. Results indicate that collectivism impacts the process model of emotional labour via direct and interaction effects. Collectivism was associated with higher emotional labour engagement and lower employee strains. Surface acting was uncorrelated with Turkish employees' strain, though moderated regression analyses revealed interaction effects associated with national and individual level collectivism. These results suggest that collectivistic values may serve as a buffer against harmful effects associated with surface acting. This study is the first to directly compare emotional labour processes in U.S. and Turkish service employees and expand the process model of emotional labour to include collectivism. The theoretical implications of this expanded model are discussed, along with future research directions and practical applications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-188
Number of pages21
JournalWork and Stress
Issue number2
Early online date3 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • Emotional labour
  • SELF
  • collectivism
  • emotional strain
  • job satisfaction
  • organisational commitment


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