Title: Emotional professionalism in a bureaucratic context: emotion management in case handling at the Swedish Enforcement Authority

Authors: Bengt Larsson

Addresses: Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Box 720, SE 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden

Abstract: This article explores the emotional regime of case handling of debt relief at the Swedish Enforcement Authority (SEA). The study analyses how emotion management and emotional display are justified by 'being professional' in interviews with SEA staff, revealing that this bureaucratic emotional regime is multidimensional and encompasses four different logics, which are connected to four central relational contexts of case handling. The staff justify and perform a style of 'affective neutrality' in the context of law, 'loyal productivity' in relation to NPM policies, 'empathetic respectfulness' in relation to debtors and an 'authoritative and business-like' style in relation to creditors.

Keywords: bureaucracies; debt relief; emotional regimes; emotional labour; emotion work; emotion management; feeling rules; justifications; new public management; NPM policies; professionalism; Sweden; feelings; HRM; human resource management; human resources; human capital; Swedish Enforcement Authority; case handling; interviewing; emotional displays; affective neutrality; law; loyal productivity; emotions; empathetic respectfulness; debtors; authoritative styles; business-like styles; creditors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2014.065760

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2014 Vol.6 No.3, pp.281 - 294

Received: 06 Feb 2014
Accepted: 21 Aug 2014

Published online: 18 Nov 2014 *

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