Appraising emotion work: Determining whether emotional labor is valued in government jobs Article

cited authors

  • Mastracci, SH; Newman, MA; Guy, ME

fiu authors


  • In an era when greater responsiveness is required of government workers, the authors test whether there is a blind spot in employee performance appraisals that prevents rewarding the most effective workers. Emotional labor - work that is relational and involves the manipulation and expression of emotions - is labor intensive and is required of many public service workers if they are to perform their jobs well. The authors hypothesize that rationality, or "left brain" work, remains privileged whereas relational work remains marginalized and unrewarded. To investigate whether there is a disconnect between the required performance of emotional labor and annual appraisals that acknowledge its performance, the authors review appraisal instruments used by public agencies in Illinois. Results confirm that 86% of the instruments identify the performance of emotion work at only a perfunctory level or lower. The lack of acknowledgement renders such labor invisible and contributes to depressed wages of those whose jobs require it. © 2006 Sage Publications.

publication date

  • June 1, 2006

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 123

end page

  • 138


  • 36


  • 2