Emotional Labor of Frontline Employees: Generational Differences and Intention to Stay

Deniz Kucukusta, Yoo Jin Lim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Emotional labor often takes the form of displaying fake or genuine feelings toward customers, showing interest in customer needs, and engaging in employee-customer emotional interactions. The purpose of this research was to investigate the emotional labor states adopted and practiced by frontline employees in the hospitality industry. We analyzed significant differences of emotional labor among Generation X and Y, and socio-demographic characteristics of frontline employees. The influence of emotional labor states on frontline employees’ intention to stay is also examined. The emotional labor states applied here were surface acting, deep acting, genuine acting and emotive dissoance. A quantitative approach was adopted and data were collected from three-, four-, and five-star hotels in Hong Kong. The study found that Generation X respondents adopted genuine acting and emotional dissonance more often, while Generation Y respondents used surface acting and deep acting more frequently. The findings suggest that although surface acting has a significant effect on employees’ intention to stay, genuine acting and sincere feelings toward one’s job have a stronger effect.

Original languageChinese (Simplified)
JournalJournal of China Tourism Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Emotional labor
  • frontline employees
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y
  • intention to stay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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