The role of empathy(emotional contagion, empathic concern) in service relationship

Main Article Content

ChangGu Heo
JungYeon Jo
KangHyun Shin


This study was intended to examine the influence of service worker’s empathy(emotional contagion, empathic concern) on their burnout and engagement. We hypothesized empathy as interactive emotional trait would have incremental interpretation over emotional intelligence and PANAS as individual emotional trait. The participants were 226 employees of a call center. The primary implications were followings. First, empathy significantly influenced on burnout and engagement even after control of emotional intelligence and emotional labors(surface acting, deep acting). Second, there is no moderating effect of emotional contagion on the relation between surface acting and burnout that high surface acting influenced high burnout regardless of the emotional contagion level. Third, deep acting mediated between empathic concern and engagement. Forth, empathic concern reduced the influence of emotional contagion on burnout. Finally, the implications and limitations were discussed.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

Empirical Articles
Author Biographies

ChangGu Heo, Catholic University of Daegu

Department of Psychology

JungYeon Jo, Ajou University

Department of Psychology

KangHyun Shin, Ajou University

Department of Psychology


김상희 (2007). 서비스접점에서 판매원 언어적, 비언어적 커뮤니케이션이 고객감정과 행동의도에 미치는 영향. 소비자학연구, 18(1), 97-131.
대한상공회의소 (2011). 블랙컨슈머로 인한 기업피해현황과 대응과제 조사. 대한상의보고서(게시일 2011. 09. 01). Retrieved from
대한상공회의소 (2013). 중소기업 블랙컨슈머 대응실태 조사. 대한상의보고서(게시일 2013. 04. 17). Retrieved from http://www.
박동수, 전명구, 정성한 (2005). 감성노동의 개념화와 선행요인. 인사관리연구, 29(4), 133-167.
신강현, 한영석, 김완석, 김원형 (2008). 정서노동과 직무탈진 및 직무열의 관계: 정서지능의 조절효과. 한국심리학회지: 산업 및 조직, 21(3), 475-491.
이 랑, 김완석, 신강현 (2006). 직무탈진과 직무열의의 요구-자원 모델에서 정서노동전략의 역할: 콜센터 상담원을 대상으로. 한국심리학회지: 산업 및 조직, 19(4), 573- 597.
장정빈 (2007). 고객의 경험을 디자인 하라. 올림.
최항석, 김오현, 임효창 (2006). 서비스 기업 구성원의 직무특성과 개인적 정서특성이 감정노동에 미치는 영향. 대한경영학회, 19(5), 1943-1966.
최항석, 정무관 (2008). Call Center 종사자의 감정노동의 선행요인에 관한 연구. 한국경영학회 통합학술발표논문집, 2008(단일호), 1-19.
Ashforth, B. E. & Humphrey, R. H. (1993). Emotional labor in service riles: The influence of identity. Academy of Management Review, 19(1), 88-115.
Austin, E. J., Dore, T. C. P., & O'Donovan, K. M. (2008). Associations of personality and emotional intelligence with display rule perceptions and emotional labour. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 679-688.
Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Verbeke, W. (2004). Using the job demands‐resources model to predict burnout and performance. Human Resource Management, 43(1), 83-104.
Barsade, S. G. (2002). The ripple effect: Emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(4), 644-675.
Blocker, H. (2007). Trait Empathy and Sensitivity to Morphed Emotional Faces.
Brotheridge, C. M. & Lee, R. T. (2002). Testing a conservation of resources model of the dynamics of emotional labor. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 7(1), 57-67.
Brotheridge, C. M. & Lee, R. T. (2003). Development and validation of the emotional labour scale. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 76(3), 365-379.
Chismar, D. (1988). Empathy and sympathy: The important difference. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 22(4), 257-266.
Cordes, C. L., & Dougherty, T. W. (1993). A review and an integration of research on job burnout. Academy of management review, 18(4), 621-656.
Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 113-126.
Davis, M. H. (1994). Empathy: A social psychological approach. Westview Press.
Deutsch, F., & Madle, R. A. (1975). Empathy: Historic and current conceptualizations, measurement, and a cognitive theoretical perspective. Human development, 18(4), 267-287.
Diefendorff, J. M., Croyle, M. H., & Gosserand, R. H. (2005). The dimensionality and antecedents of emotional labor strategies. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 66(2), 339-357.
Duan, C., & Hill, C. E. (1996). The current state of empathy research. Journal of counseling psychology, 43(3), 261.
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday Anchor.
Goldberg, L. D. & Grandey, A. A. (2007). Display rules versus display autonomy: Emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and task performance in a call center simulation. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(3), 301-318.
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam Books.
Grandey, A. A. (1999). Surface acting and deep acting as emotional labor: Predicting employee burnout, attitudes, and effective customer service. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Grandey, A. A. (2000). Emotion regulation in the workplace: A new way to conceptualize emotional labor. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(1), 95-110.
Grandey, A. A. (2003). When “the show must go on”: surface acting and deep acting as determinants of emotional exhaustion and peer-rated service delivery. Academy of Management Journal, 46(1), 86-96.
Grandey, A. A., Dickter, D. N., & Sin, H. (2004). The customer is not always right: customer aggression and emotion regulation of service employees. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25(3), 397-418.
Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: an integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 271-299.
Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion: Studies in emotion and social interaction. Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.
Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling [White paper]. Retrieved from
Hennig-Thurau, T., Groth, M., Paul, M., & Gremler, D. D. (2006). Are all smiles created equal? How emotional contagion and emotional labor affect service relationships. Journal of Marketing, 58-73.
Hess, U., Philippot, P., & Blairy, S. (1998). Facial reactions to emotional facial expressions: affect or cognition?. Cognition & Emotion, 12(4), 509-531.
Hochschild, A. (1983). The manage heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Hoffman, M. L. (1984). Interaction of affect and cognition in empathy. Emotions, cognition, and behavior, 103-131.
Johnson, H. A. M., & Spector, P. E. (2007). Service with a smile: Do emotional intelligence, gender, and autonomy moderate the emotional labor process?. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(4), 319.
Judge, T. A., Woolf, E. F., & Hurst, C. (2009). Is emotional labor more difficult for some than for others? A multilevel, experience- sampling study. Personnel Psychology, 62(1), 57-88.
Kerem, E., Fishman, N., & Josselson, R. (2001). The experience of empathy in everyday relationships: Cognitive and affective elements. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18(5), 709-729.
Kim, H. J. (2008). Hotel service providers' emotional labor: The antecedents and effects on burnout. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 27(2), 151-161.
Kruml, S. M. & Geddes, D. (2000). Exploring the dimensions of emotional labor. Management Communication Quarterly, 14(1), 8-49.
Leiter, M. P. (1993). Burnout as a developmental process: Consideration of models.
Lewig, K. A. & Dollard, M. F. (2003). Emotional dissonance, emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction in call centre workers. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 12(4), 366-392.
Maslach, C. (1982). Burnout. The cost of caring. Englewood Cliffs. NJ: Prentice Hall.
Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review Psychology, 52(1), 397-422.
Mehrabian, A. & Epstein, N. (1972). A measure of emotional empathy. University of California, Los Angeles.
Mikolajczak, M., Menil, C., & Luminet, O. (2007). Explaining the protective effect of trait emotional intelligence regarding occupational stress: Exploration of emotional labour processes. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(5), 110-1117.
Miller, K. I. & Koesten, J. (2008). Financial Feeling: An investigation of emotion and communication in the workplace. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 36(1), 8-32.
Miller, K. I., Stiff, J. B., & Ellis, B. H. (1988). Communication and empathy as precursors to burnout among human service workers. Communications Monographs, 55(3), 250-265.
Morris, J. & Feldman, D. (1996). The dimensions antecedents, and consequences of emotional labor. Academy of Management Review, 21(4), 986-1010.
Omdahl, B. L. & O'Donnell, C. (1999). Emotional contagion, empathic concern and communicative responsiveness as variables affecting nurses' stress and occupational commitment. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 29(6), 1351-1359.
Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A. & Berry, L. L. (1988). SERVQUAL: a multiple-item scale for measuring cunsumer perceptions of service quality. Journal of Retailing, 64(1), 12-40.
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior research methods, 40(3), 879-891.
Pugh, S. D. (2001). Service with a smile: Emotional contagion in the service encounter. Academy of management journal, 44(5), 1018- 1027.
Rafaeli, A., & Sutton, R. I. (1987). Expression of emotion as part of the work role. Academy of management review, 12(1), 23-37.
Schaufeli, W. B., & Enzmann, D. (1998). The burnout companion to study and practice: A critical analysis. CRC Press.
Schaufeli, W. B., Bakker, A. B., & Salanova, M. (2006). The measurement of work engagement with a short questionnaire a cross-national study. Educational and psychological Measurement, 66(4), 701-716.
Schaufeli, W. B., Leiter, M. P., Maslach, C., & Jackson, S. E. (1996). The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Test Manual (3rd edn). Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA.
Settoon, R. P., & Mossholder, K. W. (2002). Relationship quality and relationship context as antecedents of person-and task-focused interpersonal citizenship behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(2), 255.
Shirom, A. (2002). Job related burnout: A review. In J. C. Quick & L. E. Tetrick (Eds.), Handbook of occupational health psychology (pp. 245-264). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Siebert, D. C., Siebert, C. F., & Taylor- McLaughlin, A. (2007). Susceptibility to emotional contagion: Its measurement and importance to social work. Journal of Social Service Research, 33(3), 47-56.
Slaski, M., & Cartwright, S. (2002). Health, performance and emotional intelligence: an exploratory study of retail managers. Stress and Health, 18(2), 63-68.
Totterdell, P. & Holman, D. (2003). Emotion regulation in customer service roles: Testing a model of emotional labor. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 8(1). 55-73.
Wong, C. S., & Law, K. S. (2002). The effects of leader and follower emotional intelligence on performance and attitude: An exploratory study. The Leadership Quarterly, 13(3), 243-274.
Zapf, D. (2002). Emotion work and psychological well-being: A review of the literature and some conceptual considerations. Human Resource Management Review, 12(2), 237-268.
Zapf, D., Vogt, C., Seifert, C., Mertini, H., & Isic, A. (1999). Emotion work as a source of stress: Concept and development of an instrument. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(3), 371-400.

Most read articles by the same author(s)