Tag Archives: Arlie Hochschild

Facades of Conformity and Surface Acting: Stress for Women, Minorities

David Wagner

David Wagner

When employees mask their true feelings in work situations, they may engage in “surface acting” — or displaying appropriate, but unfelt facial expressions, verbal interactions, and body language.

Christopher Barnes

Christopher Barnes

Surface acting at work was associated with emotional exhaustion, work-to-family conflict, and insomnia outside of work for more than 70 volunteers in a high stress public service occupation, according to Singapore Management University’s David T. Wagner, Christopher M. Barnes of University of Washington and Brent A. Scott of Michigan State University.

Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild

Emotional labor” is Arlie Hochshild’s earlier term for “surface acting” in customer service interactions, in which employees present prescribed verbalizations and emotions, even when they are not genuinely felt.

She contrasted “surface acting” with “deep acting” in which the person:

  • Exhibits the emotion actually felt,
  •                              Uses past emotional experiences to elicit real emotion and empathic connection with others, in a form of “organizational method acting.
Christina Maslach

Christina Maslach

Surface acting can lead to occupational “burnout,” characterized by emotional exhaustion and detachment from others and reduced workplace performance, noted University of California Berkeley’s Christina Maslach and Susan Jackson.

In addition, Recipients of “surface acting” usually detect that it’s an inauthentic display, according to University of Tampere Veikko Surakka and Jari K Hietanen of University of Helsinki.

Celeste Brotheridge

Celeste Brotheridge

By contrast, deep acting has been associated with a greater sense of personal accomplishment in research by University of Regina’s Celeste Brotheridge and Alicia Grandey of Penn State.

Patricia Hewlin

Patricia Hewlin

Surface Acting can also take a toll, resulting in generalized stress and reduced quality of life outside of work, according to Georgetown’s Patricia Hewlin, and supported by separate findings by University of Lethbridge’s Karen H. Hunter, Andrew A. Luchak of University of Alberta and Athabasca University’s Kay Devine.

They identified stress-inducing behaviors including:

Even people not performing customer-facing roles may encounter situations in which they must behave in “appropriate” ways inconsistent with their true feelings, and experience similar stress spillover from “surface acting” at work.

-*How do you prevent “burnout” when workplace settings seem to require “surface acting”?

-*In what organizational contexts have you observed “Facades of Conformity” and their consequences?

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Women, Men, and Time: Differences in “Managing” a Limited Resource

Francis Wade

Francis Wade

Special thanks to Francis Wade of 2TimeLabs for his sharing his expertise.

Though women and men have the same amount of time, women seem to manage more time demands and have developed more skillful time practices to grapple with perceived “time scarcity,” according to detailed time-use studies by New South Wales’s Lyn Craig and Janeen Baxter of University of Queensland.

Lyn Craig

Lyn Craig

They found that working mothers invest more hours taking care of children and doing housework than their working husbands.

Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild

This finding validates the idea that women do a “Second Shift” of work – at home and at the office, described by University of California Berkeley’s Arlie Hochschild.

Brigid Schulte

Brigid Schulte

Personal anecdotes from of women stretched between “two shifts” validate these research findings, distilled in journalist Brigid Schulte’s popular Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.

Therese Macan

Therese Macan

To grapple with time demands that may seem to outweigh available time resources, women typically engage in significantly more mechanical time management behaviors like planning, listing, and scheduling, found University of Missouri’s Therese Macan, Comila Shahani of Hofstra University and Robert Dipboye of University of South Florida, who developed the Time Management Behaviors (TMB) inventory

Abdülkadir Pehlivan

Abdülkadir Pehlivan

Many, but not all, gender differences appear to hold across countries and cultures:  Like Macan’s team, Karadeniz Technical University’s Abdülkadir Pehlivan noted that women use more listing, planning and programming than men.

In contrast, male volunteers said they feel more in charge of their time management behaviors, even when they don’t employ the same systematic time procedures as women.

Ranjita Misra

Ranjita Misra

However in a U.S. investigation, females reported better perceived “control” of time, based on using “mechanical” techniques like setting and prioritizing goals as well as planning, reported West Virginia University’s Ranjita Misra and Michelle McKean.
In addition, women said they organize tasks and workspaces more frequently than men.

Despite this efficiency, women paid a price with higher anxiety and lower leisure satisfaction, which may explain the need to develop improved practices.
Males, in contrast, reported more leisure activities and less anxiety.

Tanya Meade

Tanya Meade

In addition, Australian Time Organisation and Management Scale (ATOMS), developed by University of Western Sydney’s Tanya Covic Meade, B.J. Adamson, M. Lincoln and P.L. Kench revealed that 71% of women volunteers recognize this gender difference in time practices:  Women respondents and Meade’s team concluded that “females may be better at carrying out behavioral activities associated with time management, such as making lists and keeping a diary.”

Mark Trueman

Mark Trueman

Another study found that female student volunteers reported considerably greater use of time “management” skills than male students in a five-year investigation by Keele University’s Mark Trueman and James Hartley and in similar research by Al Ain University of Science and Technology Ahmad Saleh Al Khatib.

Nurten Kaya

Nurten Kaya

These gender differences also persisted in specific working environments such as nursing in University of Istanbul’s study by Hatice Kaya with Nurten Kaya, Aylin Öztürk Palloş, Leyla Küçük, which found that female students were able to manage their time better than male students.

Jale Eldeleklioglu

Jale Eldeleklioglu

Because time is a limited and valuable resource, Uludag University’s Jale Eldeleklioglu suggested the life skill of time “management” should begin at a young age in school: ” male students’ time management skills are not as developed as female students’ (so we need) more programs to reduce anxiety and improve students’ time management skills.

-*What differences have you observed in the ways that women and men interact with available time?

-*What practices have you found beneficial in managing time demands?

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Is Being at Work Less Stressful than Being at Home?

-*Has the workplace replaced home as a preferred haven?

Sarah Damaske

Sarah Damaske

Both men and women showed fewer physiological signs of stress and reported feeling happier at work than at home, according to Penn State’s Sarah Damaske, Joshua M. Smyth, and Matthew J. Zawadzki.
However, their estimates of workplace were inconsistent with their actual physical stress levels.
This suggests that people report more stress at work than their bodies “register.”

Arlie Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild

Damaske’s team analyzed objective and subjective indicators of stress among more than 120 employed men and women and found support and counterpoints to Arlie Russell Hochschild’s 1997 Time Bind hypothesis, developed at University of California Berkeley.

 A 2013 Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends Report found that 56% of working moms and 50% of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance work and family responsibilities, due in large part to a mismatch between available time to fulfill responsibilities at home and work:  More than 40% of working mothers of children under age 18 and 34%-50% of working fathers of minor children said they “always feel rushed.”

Joshua M. Smythe

Joshua M. Smythe

Participants in Team Damaske’s study showed lower physiological indicators of stress at work, measured by blood levels of stress hormone cortisol levels, and this effect was particularly significant for people with lower incomes or no children at home.

However, these same participants reported greater subjective feelings of stress on workdays than on non-work days.

Matthew Zawadzki

Matthew Zawadzki

Women reported greater stress and less happiness at home, perhaps due to the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home, with work demands continuing at home with email, conference calls, and text messages, suggested Damaske’s team.

In addition, workplace concierge service, prepared meals, onsite health care and gym services may increase workplace attraction.
Further, emotional attachments at work may be somewhat less intense than at home, so it may be easier to “detach” from work relationships.

Jason Schnittker

Jason Schnittker

People who work have better mental and physical health than their non-working peers, according to research by Damaske, University of Pennsylvania’s Jason Schnittker, as well as Mark Tausig and Adrianne Frech of University of Akron, all in separate studies.

Mark Tausig

Mark Tausig

These findings point to the value of continued workplace participation, particularly in Results Only Work Environments (ROWE), which encourage flexibility in the time and location of work while delivering agreed results.

Adrianne Frech

Adrianne Frech

Online collaboration tools like teleconferences with video capabilities and document sharing, computer-based soft phones, and work email integration with personal mobile devices are programs that enable employees to manage personal responsibilities through telecommuting, paid sick days, paternity and maternity leaves.

Cali Ressler-Jody Thompson

Cali Ressler-Jody Thompson

These programs can increase employee productivity and retention while reducing employee stress at the junction between work and home, noted Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, who evaluated the financial and organizational impact of ROWE.

-*How to you reduce stress in the transition from home to work to home?

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