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Emotional labour and its outcomes: a study of a Philippine call centre

Cynthia P. Ruppel, Randi L. Sims and Peter Zeidler
Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine whether Western human resource (HR) theory is applicable to a call centre located in the Philippines. A call centre, due to the amount of emotional labour involved in this type of work, is an ideal environment to study stress related Western HR model where stress eventually leads to turnover. Turnover is a major concern in the call centre industry. Design/methodology/approach The authors tested a model linking work stress to job satisfaction, organizational commitment and intention to turnover using data collected from 439 employees in the Philippines. Both correlation analysis and partial least squares analysis were used to test the theoretical Western HR components both individually and holistically. Findings The ndings indicate that these call centre employees reported emotional stress, leading to job dissatisfaction, reduced organization commitment and ultimately increased intention to turnover. Turnover is reported to be a serious and increasing problem in call centres and this research demonstrates the signicant role of employee emotional stress. Practical implications An understanding of the applicability of Western HR theory in non-western countries is of interest to managers in non-western countries. It is important as economic development occurs in newly developing countries that managers understand which theories from developed nations will apply to facilitate their growth and success. Originality/value This paper addresses HR concerns both in a Pan-Asian country that is rapidly developing and in the call centre industry which is predicted to grow rapidly in future. Keywords Emotional labour, Stress, Job satisfaction, Intention to turnover, Philippines, PLS Paper type Research paper

Received 13 February 2013 Accepted 22 May 2013

Asia-Pacic Journal of Business Administration Vol. 5 No. 3, 2013 pp. 246-261 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1757-4323 DOI 10.1108/APJBA-02-2013-0008

Introduction The Philippines, with its growing call centre outsourcing (Cerojano, 2012), has become the premier location for outsourced call centres and has surpassed India as having the largest number of call centre jobs, as well as the largest revenue from these jobs (Yun and Chu, 2011). Figures from 2010 place the value of the Philippine call centre industry at $5.7 billion, which exceeded the $5.5 billion of call centre work in India (Srovastava, 2010). Employing 530,000 Filipino people in 2010, the call centre industry represents 6 percent of the countrys gross domestic product. In the Philippines, about 350,000 English-procient students graduate every year with a strong familiarity with American culture and an accent that is American. Alternatively, potential employees in Indian are more familiar with the British culture, have a British accent, and are more likely to use British phraseology (Srovastava, 2010). Given that some Americans report nding the British accent difcult to understand, it seems a Philippine call centre may have an advantage over an Indian call centre. The impact of human resource (HR)

practices in this industry is of interest to outsourcer as well as the associated organisations that receive the outsourced work. In this study, a US based company has set up a call centre location in the Philippines that conducts service work for their clients around the world. Given these cross country business relationships, it is important to study whether US based HR policies and procedures are appropriate in the Philippine environment (Poon and Rowley, 2010). Call centre work, as is true of many types of service work, has been classied by researchers as emotional labour (Townsend, 2007). Emotional labour is dened as the process of regulating both feelings and expressions for organisational goals (Grandey, 2000, p. 97). The customer service representative must be pleasant and friendly in representing the organisation, despite what may be an irate customer who is unhappy, worried or angry. This smiling down the phone (Townsend, 2007, p. 477) despite personal feelings, can cause emotional dissonance in the customer service representative leading to emotional exhaustion and stress (Kifn-Petersen et al., 2011). Acting cheery and friendly when, in fact, that is not how you feel, has been shown to be related to turnover among call centre employees (Goodwin et al., 2011). This is consistent with the UNs International Labour Organisations (ILO) study of business process outsourcing, which found that the top stress-inducing factor, reported by 46 percent of respondents, was harassment from irate clients (Dagcutan, 2010, para. 24). Given the pressures of call centre work (Deery et al., 2002) in an economy where industrialization is increasing, an important HR concern is that of employee stress. The World Health Organisation considers employee stress a world-wide crisis with employees from within developing and newly industrialized countries (NICs) at signicant risk due to rapid development and the changing nature of the work environment (Houtman et al., 2007; Bahrami, 2010; Lehtinen, 2010). The World Health Organisation also calls for research on work stress in the Asia-Pacic region to better understand how country and cultural differences impact the effects of employee work stress (Houtman et al., 2007). Differences in cultural values are seldom examined as determinants of how people react to stress (Xie et al., 2008, p. 831). In studying the stressful nature of call centre work, research has reported that Philippine call centre employees have 0.3 hours less sleep daily than non-call centre employees, 22 percent more report smoking, and 85 percent admitted to alcohol consumption after work (Vizcarra, 2011). Further, despite earning 53 percent more than other same-age workers (Vizcarra, 2011), the turnover rate in the Philippines is reported to be extremely high at 30 percent (Vizcarra, 2011), 50 percent (Colon, 2011) and 60-80 percent (Gonzales, 2010). When ve Southeast Asian companies were survey by the consulting rm Aon Hewitt, the Philippines had the highest turnover rate of the countries studied (Morales, 2011). This suggests a call centre is an ideal environment in which to study stress and identify whether Western theories concerning stress and its impacts will apply similarly in this culture. Western research has consistently reported that the physical and emotional effects of excessive work stress are related to decreased reports of job satisfaction, organisational commitment and increased intentions to turnover (Schaubroeck et al., 1989; Firth et al., 2004; Siong et al., 2006; Podsakoff et al., 2007). Whether these ndings will remain consistent for employees from within the Asia-Pacic region is not yet known; however, many researchers have called for such an investigation (Rousseau and Fried, 2001; Tsui, 2004; Budhwar and Debrah, 2009). Research agendas tend to be dominated by theories developed for Anglo-American contexts that are insufciently

Emotional labour and its outcomes




adapted to local circumstances (Meyer, 2006, p. 120; Rousseau and Fried, 2001; Tsui, 2004). Thus, this paper is designed to test the physical and emotional effects of work stress on employee attitudes and intentions, using respondents who are employees of a call centre run by a Western country and located in the Philippines. This provides an opportunity for this Western-based company to study whether Western-based HR theories concerning stress and its impacts, applies to the work environment in the country to which they outsourced the work. Stress process theory Work stress and its effects have been of great interest to researchers and managers alike because of its potential impact on the ability of the organisation to efciently and effectively achieve its goals. Stress includes emotional and physical responses, including reported feelings of job burn-out, frustration, loss of appetite, and stomach upset. Stress is caused by stressors. Within organisational research, stressors related to the job are the focus of concern. These work-related stressors are those job and organisational characteristics that create stress in the individual employee. Figure 1 shows common work stressors and their relation to stress. Work stressors can be classied into a number of categories (Sonnentag and Frese, 2003). Among these are physical stressors, social stressors, work schedule stressors, and task stressors. Physical stressors are those related to the physical work environment. Factory positions often are conducted in environments that include excessive noise, chemical or other odours, and poor temperature control. Additional physical stressors include poorly designed ofce environments that create muscle fatigue and repetitive task injuries. Social stressors are those based on the relationships between individuals on the job. These include unresolved or excessive conict, harassment, bullying, and excessive monitoring by supervisors (Xie et al., 2008). Long work days, forced overtime, shift work and overnight shifts are all components of work schedule stressors ( Jamal and Baba, 1992). It is common for organisations within developing countries and NICs to compete by operating around the clock to maximize labour efciencies. This results in stressors based on the work schedule. Stressors related to the tasks assigned to the job are also among the common work stressors as discussed by Sonnentag and Frese (2003). These include assignments that are very complex. However, tasks that are overly simple and tedious can also be considered stressors (Budhwar et al., 2009). Having too much work to perform and extreme time pressures are also aspects of the job that can be classied as task stressors. Stress Stress is the negative result of excessive stressors. Although research has been inconclusive concerning the exact strength of this relation, depending upon measurement methods, ndings consistently support the idea that excessive work stressors lead to increased physical and emotional stress (Sonnentag and Frese, 2003). Physical stress
Common Work Stressors: Physical Social Work schedule Task Stress: Emotional Physical

Figure 1. The relation between common work stressors and stress

includes negative health consequences, both short and long term. Examples of short term physical stress are headaches, sleep disturbances, and stomach upset. Long term physical stress includes heart disease and threats to the immune system (Selye, 1978; Houtman et al., 2007). Emotional stress can also be both short and long term. Short term emotional stress includes anxiety and mood disturbances. Long term consequences of emotional stress include burnout and a variety of mental illnesses (Selye, 1978; Houtman et al., 2007). One study of call centres found that across 28 different call centres located in Sweden, 61 percent of the respondents indicated scores suggesting they are in the high stress category (Kjellberg et al., 2010). The relation between stressors, stress and employee attitudes. Although some of the individual relations between stressors, stress and employee attitudes and intentions have been tested using subjects from within the Asia-Pacic region, much of this published research is based on comparing the reported values of these constructs between two or more countries (Budhwar and Debrah, 2009; Poon and Rowley, 2007). For example, Liu et al. (2007) concluded that employees from China reported signicantly more work stressors and stress and were signicantly less satised with their jobs than were employees from the USA. Using a similar comparison methodology, Chen et al. (2005) compared accounting employees from Taiwan and the USA. Their ndings indicated that there were no signicant differences in reported levels of stress between the two groups. However, employees from Taiwan reported lower levels of organisational commitment than did the US group. Although the relative differences in the strength of these constructs are interesting, these comparisons do not offer much insight into the generalizability of Western theories to predict and understand the stress response of Philippine employees. It is valuable to go beyond simple comparisons to research ndings that demonstrate the relation between two or more of the variables associated with employee stress. For example, using a sample of New Zealand call centre employees, Ashill et al. (2009) found support for the relation between work stressors and stress (burnout). In addition, the relation between work stressors and stress was supported using samples from China (Xie et al., 2008; Jamal, 2010) and Malaysia (Jamal, 2010). Spector et al. (2007) tested the relation between stress, job satisfaction, and intention to turnover for managers in 20 countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan. Their ndings indicated that increases in stress were related to decreases in job satisfaction and increases in intention to turnover, and increases in job satisfaction were related to decreases in intention to turnover. However, the strength of these relations differed between countries, with the strongest relations found in Anglo countries. Spector and his colleagues did not report individual results for each of the Asian countries in their sample, instead reporting results for the entire population studied, both newly industrialized (China) and advanced economies (Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) combined. Whether the results will be the same when separated for individual countries is of interest to both researchers and HR professionals. Given the ndings suggested above, we propose the following hypotheses: H1a. Increases in stress are signicantly related to decreases in job satisfaction for employees from the Philippines. H1b. Increases in stress are signicantly related to increases in intention to turnover for employees from the Philippines.

Emotional labour and its outcomes




Stress, job satisfaction and turnover Goodwin et al. (2011, p. 528) denes emotional labour as employees regulating their emotions in response to actual or anticipated discrepancies between felt emotions and perceptions of expected emotional displays. Since an employee with a positive emotional display has been shown to be the most important aspect of service quality (Goodwin et al., 2011; Grandey, 2000; Kifn-Petersen et al., 2011), the call centre employee must remain positive even when dealing with irate customers. Surface acting, the expression of emotions not actually felt by suppressing felt emotions, amplifying the expression of a weakly felt emotion, or faking unfelt emotions (Goodwin et al., 2011, p. 538) has been found to be directly related to turnover and emotional exhaustion (Kifn-Petersen et al., 2011). Although Lacity et al. (2008) did not study stress specically; they did test the relation between employee attitudes and intentions using a sample of Indian information services professionals. Their ndings indicate that although job satisfaction was signicantly related to turnover intentions, organisational commitment was not signicantly related to either job satisfaction or intention to turnover. Rothausen et al. (2008) studied job satisfaction in the USA and the Philippines. They found that dissatisfaction with jobs had a stronger relation to turnover intentions in the USA than it did in the Philippines, suggesting a difference in outcomes. These results suggest that very basic employee attitude/intention relations cannot be assumed for employees outside of Western countries. Thus, we propose to test the following hypotheses: H2a. Increases in job satisfaction are signicantly related to increases in organisational commitment for employees from the Philippines. H2b. Increases in job satisfaction are signicantly related to decreases in intention to turnover for employees from the Philippines. H3. Increases in organisational commitment are signicantly related to decreases in intention to turnover for employees from the Philippines. Proposed job stress model Advancing employee stress theory, Western researchers have also suggested a number of comparable employee stress models proposing a structural relation between stressors, stress, and employee attitudes and behaviours. Most are based on a generalised turnover model (Steers, 1977; Hendrix et al., 1985; Brett and Drasgow, 2002; de Croon et al., 2004). That is, increased stressors lead to increased stress, which leads to decreased reported job satisfaction, which, in turn, leads to decreased organisational commitment, and then increased intentions to turnover and ultimately increased employee turnover. Nearly all of these employee stress models suggest that stress mediates the relation between employee stressors and employee attitudes and that employee attitude mediates the relation between stress and intentions to turnover (Schaubroeck et al., 1989; Elangovan, 2001; Cropanzano et al., 2003; Firth et al., 2004). Research does provide some support for a basic employee stress model that can be generalised across countries. For example, Tate et al. (1997) sampled retail salespersons from the USA, Colombia, and Japan. Their ndings support the stressor stress relation for all three countries and also showed that employee attitudes ( job satisfaction and organisational commitment) mediated the relation between stress and intention to turnover. Siong et al. (2006), using a sample of call centre employees

from Australia, measured stressors but not stress. However, their ndings provided support for the generalizability of the employee stress model for Australia employees. Their ndings also indicate that job satisfaction, both directly and indirectly (through commitment), impacted intentions to turnover. Schaubroeck et al. (2000) studied the cultural impact of individualism/collectivism on the relation between stressors and the amount of control employees had over their jobs using a matched sample of bank tellers from the USA and Hong Kong. Their ndings indicate that although there was some generalizability of the relation between stressors and control across countries, signicant individual and cultural differences were identied in coping with job stress. Using a meta-analysis of 183 independent samples, Podsakoff et al. (2007) tested a theoretical model of the relation between job stressors, stress, and employee attitudes, intentions, and behavioural work outcomes. The model is based on earlier work by Schaubroeck et al. (1989). A simplied version of the tested model appears in Figure 2. The model separates stressors into two categories. Those that are considered hindrances to successful work outcomes and those that are considered challenges. Although hindrance stressors and challenge stressors were found to impact employee attitudes and withdrawal intentions oppositely, both stressors combine to increase stress. Thus, hindrance and challenge stressors were positively related to increases in stress. That is, even those job characteristics considered challenges increased the physical and emotional stress reported by employees. Increases in stress were signicantly related to a decrease in job satisfaction. In turn, job satisfaction was positively related to organisational commitment and negatively related to turnover intentions. Organisational commitment was also negatively related to turnover intentions. The nal portion of the model demonstrated support for a positive relation between turnover intentions and actual turnover. There are considerable individual differences in terms of what might constitute a work stressor, with one job characteristic considered a stressor for one employee, an insignicant point for the next, or a source of motivation for a third (Selye, 1978; Barsky et al., 2004). This individual difference in the responses to job characteristics makes it difcult to directly study the effects of work stressors and is the cause of much debate in the stress literature. When individual differences are combined with cultural or nationality differences, the ability to understand or predict the effect of work stressors on employee attitudes and intentions becomes quite complicated, often necessitating longitudinal research designs (Sonnentag and Frese, 2003). To remove these individual difference complexities, testing of the model can begin with work stress by assuming the stressor stress relation. This approach is reasonable given the
Hindrance Stressors + Stress Challenge Stressors + + Job Satisfaction Organisational Commitment Intention to + turnover Turnover

Emotional labour and its outcomes


Source: Podsakoff et al. (2007)

Figure 2. Employee stress-attitude model



original denition: a stressor is that which causes stress (Selye, 1978). In addition, measuring actual turnover is a challenge not easily overcome given organisational and research constraints. A modied model appears in Figure 3. Organisational decision-making based on the assumption that the relations in the simplied employee stress-attitude model are accurate is common for Western HR professionals. For example, recommendations are often made to reduce stressors, improve employee health in order to provide additional resistance to stress, and provide stress management training (i.e. relaxation techniques) for employees (Sonnentag and Frese, 2003). The ultimate goal of these efforts is an attempt to improve employee attitudes and reduce intentions to turnover. These same recommendations are commonly offered for Asian-Pacic countries (Lehtinen, 2010), even without substantial evidence that the model is appropriate for employees from other regions of the world. It is our intention to test this modied employee stress model to determine if the model can generalize to the Philippines. Thus, the following hypothesis is proposed: H4. The simplied employee stress-attitude model generalises to employees from the Philippines. Data and methods Procedures De-identied employee engagement survey data were provided by a multi-national call centre organization. Respondents were invited by their employer to participate and directed to an electronic version of the survey to complete during work hours. The data included 1960 customer service employees in the Philippines. Survey items had been displayed in English, as the Philippine respondents routinely complete their job tasks in English. Using random sampling procedures, 450 responses were selected. Of these, 439 indicated they were employed full-time and were retained for hypotheses testing. Subjects Respondents included 439 full-time customer service employees working in a multinational call centre in the Philippines. Employees were on average 26 years old (mean 26.23; SD 5.39) and primarily female (56 percent). Measures Stress. Work stress was measured both as the emotional (four items) and physical (four items) reactions employees experience related to their work environment (Tate et al., 1997). Stress was measured on a six point scale from 1 never to 6 almost every day, so that higher scores are an indication of increased work stress symptoms. Sample items include I feel emotionally drained by my job and Job-related problems keep me awake at night. Job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is the measure of the respondents level of satisfaction with their current position. The job satisfaction scale contained eight items including an

Figure 3. Simplied employee stress-attitude model

Stress: Emotional, Physical

Job Satisfaction

Organisational Commitment

Intention to turnover

equal number of both intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction measures on a ten point scale ranging from 1 very dissatised to 10 very satised (Tate et al., 1997). Higher scores are an indication of increased job satisfaction. Sample items include measures of satisfaction with the pay you receive for your job and the type of work you do. Organisational commitment. The organisational commitment scale consisted of ve items designed to measure employee feelings of belonging and loyalty to their current company (Tate et al., 1997). Items were measured on a ten point scale ranging from 1 strongly disagree to 10 strongly agree, with higher numbers indicating an increased commitment to the company. Sample items include I feel proud to work for this company and I really care about the future of this company. Intention to turnover. An employees intention to leave the company was measured using two items adapted from Seashore et al. (1982). Items were measured on a ten point scale from 1 strongly disagree to 10 strongly agree and reverse coded, with higher numbers indicating an increase in thoughts and intention to leave ones position. A sample item includes I seldom think about leaving my present job. Measure validation and reliability All items loaded on the latent constructs as expected. The average variance extracted (AVE) of each of these constructs exceeded the threshold of 0.50 suggested by Chin (1998). Further, Fornell and Larcker (1981) suggest that attaining the threshold for AVE of 0.50 also meets the criteria for discriminant validity. The composite reliabilities are well above the minimum value of 0.70 suggested by Gefen et al. (2000) and are also indicators of convergent validity. These results and the Cronbachs a values of the factors are shown in Table I. Results H1-H3 results Tests of H1-H3 were conducted using correlation analysis to determine whether the proposed individual relations exist (Table II). H1a, which suggested a signicant negative relation between stress and job satisfaction, is supported for both emotional (r 2 0.49; p , 0.01) and physical stress (r 2 0.34; p , 0.01). H1b, which suggested a signicant positive relation between stress and intention to turnover, is supported for both emotional (r 0.26; p , 0.01) and physical stress (r 0.19; p , 0.01). H2a, which proposed a positive relation between job satisfaction and organisational commitment, was supported (r 0.68; p , 0.01). Analysis of H2b, which proposed a negative relation between job satisfaction and intention to turnover, resulted in a signicant negative correlation (r 2 0.35; p , 0.01). H3 proposed that an increase in
Measure Emotional stress Physical stress Job satisfaction Organisational commitment Intention to turnover Note: n 439 AVE 0.77 0.69 0.63 0.80 0.68 Composite reliability 0.93 0.90 0.93 0.95 0.81 Cronbachs a 0.90 0.85 0.92 0.94 0.56 R2 0.26 0.48 0.19

Emotional labour and its outcomes


Table I. Model indices


organisational commitment is negatively related to intention to turnover. The results indicate a signicant negative correlation (r 2 0.39; p , 0.01). Thus, H1-H3 are all supported. In testing the direct relations, increased employee stress symptoms are negatively related to employee attitudes concerning job satisfaction and organisational commitment and positively related to employee intention to turnover. Model testing results To test the proposed simplied employee stress-attitude model as stated in H4, SmartPLS (Ringle et al., 2005) was used to analyse the model. PLS is a second generation statistical technique designed to capture the complexity and the non-isolation of the real world (Haenlein and Kaplan, 2004). This is particularly important in todays complex global environment. As Gefen et al. (2000, p. 4) state:
[. . .] the intricate causal networks enabled by SEM characterize real-world processes better than simple correlation-based models. Therefore, SEM is more suited for the mathematical modelling of complex processes to serve both theory and practice.


When testing the simplied employee stress-attitude model, stress was identied as either emotional stress or physical stress. All paths in the model were tested and a bootstrapping technique was employed to test the signicance of each path as suggested by Gefen et al. (2000). The results of the path values are displayed in Table III. Our ndings suggest that the model is not fully supported for employees from the Philippines (Table III). Whereas the path from emotional stress to job satisfaction is signicant in a negative direction (t 8.38; p , 0.01), this is not the case for physical stress to job satisfaction. In addition, the path from emotional stress to organisational commitment is only marginally signicant (t 1.78; p , 0.10), and the path from physical stress to organisational commitment is not signicant. The path from job satisfaction to organisational commitment is positive and signicant (t 16.93; p , 0.01), explaining 39 percent of the variance in organisational commitment. The path from organisational commitment to intention to turn over is negative and signicant (t 4.93; p , 0.01), explaining 12 percent of the variance in intention to turnover. Thus, the hypothesized model shown in Figure 4 is supported. Guidelines for goodness of t (GoF) measure for PLS have been proposed by Wetzels et al. (2009). Their guidelines serve as a measure of how well the model as a whole performs, with baseline criteria for a small GoF as 0.1, for a medium GoF as 0.25 and for a large GoF the criteria as 0.36. We calculated the GoF for this model as 0.47 which exceeds the 0.36 baseline for a large GoF value, suggesting that this model accurately represents the data and has a high level of predictive value.
Mean 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Emotional stress Physical stress Job satisfaction Organisational commitment Intention to turnover 3.31 2.91 6.65 8.26 4.82 SD 1.40 1.37 2.04 1.83 2.44 1 0.70 2 0.51 2 0.42 0.26 2 3 4

Table II. Descriptive statistics and correlations for study variables

2 0.37 2 0.29 0.20

0.69 2 0.37

2 0.41

Notes: All values signicant at: p , 0.01; n 439

Path Emotional stress ! job satisfaction Emotional stress ! organisational commitment Emotional stress ! intention to turnover Physical stress ! job satisfaction Physical stress ! organisational commitment Physical stress ! intention to turnover Job satisfaction ! organisational commitment Job satisfaction ! intention to turnover Organisational commitment ! intention to turnover

Path coefcient 2 0.50 2 0.11 2 0.28 2 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.64 2 0.14 2 0.28

t-value 8.38 * * * 1.78 * 0.82 0.30 0.30 0.38 16.93 * * * 2.12 * * 4.75 * * *

Emotional labour and its outcomes


Notes: Signicant at: *p , 0.10, * *p , 0.05 and * * *p , 0.01 (one tailed results); n 439

Table III. Path model results

Note: Bold indicates p < 0.05

Figure 4. Path model



Discussion The results of this study lend support for the generalizability of a Western employee stress-attitude model for Filipino employees working in a multi-national organisation. Western theory suggests that organisation commitment may be a partial mediator in the relation between job satisfaction and intention to turnover. This relation is supported for our sample of Philippine call centre employees. In addition, Western theory suggests that the relation between stress and organisational commitment may be fully mediated by job satisfaction. This is also supported with our sample of Philippine call centre employees. The ndings suggest that the link between Philippine employee stress and its outcomes is the same in this multinational organisation as that routinely assumed by Western HR practitioners. It would be interesting to see if these ndings hold for Filipino employees working for indigenous organisations or if these ndings are a function of the multinational corporation under study. In this study we measured both emotional as well as physical symptoms of work stress. Emotional stress included: tension, frustration, and burn-out. Physical stress symptoms included: loss of appetite, upset stomach, and sleeplessness. Although the study ndings revealed the signicance of employee emotional stress in the relations between job attitudes and intentions, that was not the case for physical stress. Whereas simple correlations suggested signicant and direct relations between physical stress and job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and intention to turnover, the path model suggests that reported emotional stress accounts for the variability in these relations. The employees in our sample reported more frequent symptoms of emotional work stress than they did for physical work stress. It may be that early levels of stress are more frequently expressed as emotional symptoms. This is an area that warrants further study. This study also illustrates the difference in looking at the relations in isolation versus looking at them holistically as part of a model with the ability to look at several outcomes simultaneously. When considered separately, the ndings suggest direct relations between the study constructs. However, analysing these constructs simultaneously allows us to see the indirect effects of stress on employee attitudes and intentions. In this way, remediation efforts can be directed to those areas proactively. For example, stress management intervention could be aimed at the emotional stress symptoms instead of the physical stress symptoms which may be of less signicant or lag in appearance. Employee stress and its affects have been widely studied in the West, leading to many practical recommendations that go far in reducing employee suffering and increasing rm efciencies and effectiveness. This Philippines call centre appears to have the same issues with emotional labour that have been found in Western call centres. This is not entirely surprising since many employees of the Philippine call centres are dealing with customers who have been outsourced from Western nations. Training agents in how to deal with difcult customers, redesigning jobs to include escalating difcult customers to those with more training and ability to address their issues, and other HR interventions to reduce employee stress are needed. In addition, with the focus on the growth of the call centre industry in the Philippines and as opportunities in the industry increase, employee retention is vital. The amount of intention to turnover explained by our model is enough to raise concerns given the costs associated with turnover. It is important for the HR professionals operating in the Philippines to help the organisation remain competitive and to attract and retain the best employees.

The current study has some limitations. Since this is a cross-sectional study all measures were collected at a single point in time using self-reported attitudes, possibly resulting in common method bias. Testing did, however, return adequate discriminate validity for the constructs under study. Although there was no need for the translation of the questionnaire since all employees were hired for their English language skills, there is always the possibility that the survey questions were not interpreted as expected. Further research into the use of these commonly accepted Western measures in other countries and industries should be undertaken. Though this study concentrated primarily on entry level jobs, the impact of stress on other levels of employees is also important. This is especially true given that stress tends to increase as the level of responsibility increases higher up the organisational ladder. Management relevance Our ndings are important for multinational corporations considering business processes outsourcing. Our results lend support for the use of Western job attitudes theories in the Philippine call centre. Since the policies and practices applied in one country may not translate into successful policies and practices with the desired outcomes in another country, support for a generalizable model is the rst step in determining the suitability for cross-country HR practices. Although the Philippines has a large population, labour shortages continue as many residents lack the appropriate skills or experience needed to meet the growing demands of a global marketplace (The World Bank, 2010). Potential labour shortages make any improvements in labour relationships a signicant factor in the ability of the organisation to successfully meet its goals. As such, our ndings offer some practical implications for HR managers operating in the Philippines. HR planning can occur under the assumption that programs designed to reduce employee emotional stress are expected to lead to increases in reported job satisfaction, organisational commitment and ultimately employee intentions to turnover. Western turnover theory suggests this can be a lengthy process, with long periods of time between dissatisfaction and actual employee turnover (Brett and Drasgow, 2002). As such, HR managers in the Philippines may have both an indicator of potential problems related to employee stress and time in which to observe the benets of stress management programs. The call centre industry in the Philippines, with its reported high turnover rate, provides a fertile environment in which to study the outcomes of stress during this period of industrial development.
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About the authors Cynthia P. Ruppel is currently an Associate Professor of Information Systems for Nova Southeastern University, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She obtained her doctorate degree in Management Information Systems from Kent State University. Her work has been published in IEEE Transactions on Professional Communications, Journal of the AIS, Journal of Business Ethics, Database for Advances in Information Systems, Information Resource Management Journal, Business Process Management Journal, and Information Systems Frontiers as well as other journals. Cynthia P. Ruppel is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: ruppel@nova.edu Randi L. Sims is currently a Professor of Business Ethics for Nova Southeastern University, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She obtained her doctorate degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Her teaching and research interests lie in the elds of ethical decision making, business ethics, organizational behavior, and academic dishonesty. She has published in Journal of Business Ethics, Business & Society, Journal of Education for Business, Educational and Psychological Measurement, International Journal of Value Based Management, and Journal of Psychology among others. Dr Peter Zeidler is an Adjunct Professor of business analytics for Nova Southeastern University located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He obtained his doctorate degree from State University of New York at Suny Binghamton in public policy with a minor in quantitative methods/research design. His teaching and research interests are in business intelligence and call center operations.

Emotional labour and its outcomes


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