Forced smiles cause workers to sulk, shirk work

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WASHINGTON - Customer-service workers who have to fake a smile throughout the day end up sulking and shirk work, affecting productivity.

But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts, improve their mood and withdraw less, suggests Brent Scott, assistant professor of business at the Michigan State University.

“Employers may think that simply getting their employees to smile is good for the organization, but that’s not necessarily the case,” said Scott, the Academy of Management Journal reports.

“Smiling for the sake of smiling can lead to emotional exhaustion and withdrawal, and that’s bad for the organization,” he added, according to a Michigan University.

For the study, Scott and former Michigan State 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 favourable way.

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.

Filed under: Society

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