Employees’ emotional-labor strategies, experienced affects, and emotional exhaustion in the workplace may vary over time within individuals, even within the same day. However, previous studies on these relationships have not highlighted their dynamic properties of these relationships. In addition, although the effects of surface and deep acting on emotional exhaustion have been investigated in emotional-labor research, empirical studies on these relationships still report mixed results. Thus, we suggest that moderators may affect the relationship between emotional labor and emotional exhaustion. Also, this study examines the relationship between emotional labor and emotional exhaustion within individuals by repeated measurements, and verifies the mediating effect of a negative affect state. Finally, our study confirms the moderating effects that affective commitment has on the relationship between emotional labor and emotional exhaustion. Data was collected from tellers who had a high degree of interaction with clients at banks based in South Korea. A total of 56 tellers participated in the survey and responded for five working days. A total of 616 data entries were collected from the 56 respondents. We used a hierarchical linear model (HLM) to examine our hypothesis. The results showed that surface-acting emotional labor increases emotional exhaustion; furthermore, the relationship between surface acting emotional labor and emotional exhaustion is mediated by a negative affect state within individuals. In addition, this study verified that affective commitment buffers the negative effects that surface acting emotional labor has on emotional exhaustion. These results suggest that emotional labor is a dynamic process within individuals, and that emotional exhaustion caused by emotional labor differs among individuals, and is dependent upon factors such as the individual’s level of affective commitment.
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