Title: Emotional intelligence as a moderator in the emotional labour - burnout relationship: evidence from Malaysian HR professionals

Authors: Michael Mustafa; Angeli Santos; Gwi Terk Chern

Addresses: Nottingham University Business School, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Semenyih, Malaysia ' Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, School of Medicine, The University of Nottingham, Wollaton Road, Nottingham, NG8 1BB, UK ' Division of Organisational and Applied Psychology, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Semenyih, Malaysia

Abstract: The role of emotions amongst employees with extensive interpersonal interactions has been identified as critical for both individual and organisational performance. This particular study examines the relationship between emotional labour, trait emotional intelligence and three dimensions of burnout. Specifically, we examine whether trait emotional intelligence moderates the relationship between emotional labour and burnout. Based on a sample of 136 Malaysian HR professionals, we find that surface acting, but not deep acting, is a significant direct predictor of personal and work-related burnout. More interestingly though, trait emotional intelligence only buffered the effects between deep acting strategies and personal and work-related burnout. The findings from our study contribute to a deeper understanding of the conditions under which emotional labour can be beneficial to employee well-being.

Keywords: emotional labour; emotional intelligence; trait EI; employee burnout; person-job fit; Malaysia; employee emotions; interpersonal interactions; human resources; surface acting; deep acting; employee wellbeing; trait congruency; individual traits; personality traits.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2016.078091

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2016 Vol.7 No.2, pp.143 - 164

Received: 14 Jul 2015
Accepted: 09 Jun 2016

Published online: 28 Jul 2016 *

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