, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 57-81

The Effects of Performance Monitoring on Emotional Labor and Well-Being in Call Centers

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Abstract

A study was conducted to investigate the relationship between performance monitoring and well-being. It also examined a mechanism, namely emotional labor, that might mediate the relationship between them, assessed the effect of the work context on the relationship between performance monitoring and well-being, and examined the relative effects of performance monitoring and work context on well-being. Three aspects of performance monitoring were covered, namely, its performance-related content (i.e., immediacy of feedback, clarity of performance criteria), its beneficial-purpose (i.e., developmental rather than punitive aims), and its perceived intensity. The participants were 347 customer service agents in two U.K. call centers who completed a battery of questionnaire scales. Regression analyses revealed that the performance-related content and the beneficial-purpose of monitoring were positively related to well-being, while perceived intensity had a strong negative association with well-being. Emotional labor did not mediate the relationship between monitoring and well-being in the form hypothesized, although it was related to these two factors. Work context (job control, problem solving demand, supervisory support) did not mediate the relationship between monitoring and well-being, but job control and supervisory support did moderate the relationship between perceived intensity and well-being. Relative to other study variables, perceived intensity showed stronger associations with emotional exhaustion, while job control and supervisory support tended to show stronger associations with depression and job satisfaction. Implications for theory, practice, and future research are discussed.