Compassion at the counter: Service encounters and bereaved consumers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although the emotional labour required of service providers has received considerable research attention, few studies have examined service workers' experiences of emotionally charged service encounters. In this article we review literature on emotion management and compassion in the workplace. We then describe a qualitative study which examined the service encounter occurring when bereaved Irish consumers contacted their local newspaper to place In Memoriam notices on the anniversary of a close family member's death. We suggest that these newspaper employees engaged in philanthropic emotion management when dealing with bereaved customers, and we locate this within the broader context of compassion as interpersonal work and as organizational accomplishment. We also suggest that compassion in organizations is not amenable to managerial systematization and control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1448
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Relations
Volume59
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • compassion
  • emotional labour
  • philanthropic emotion management
  • service encounters

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