Penn State

Alicia A. Grandey - Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling

Author: Arlie Hochschild

Book Description:

I first read The Managed Heart in 1993, prior to graduate school, while working at Starbucks Coffee as a barista. In this book, Hochschild proposed that the United States' service economy had made emotions into a commodity, such that employees sell "service with a smile" along with the product. She argued that when employees are trained to emotionally act for a wage they are engaging in "emotional labor", a largely unrecognized and uncompensated form of labor with psychological and physical costs. Suddenly, I understood why I was so exhausted after schlepping coffee, seemingly "easy" work. This book merged my interests in psychology, women's issues, and drama/acting, and seemed very applicable to understanding and improving conditions for a large sector of the workforce. Within five years, I was working on my dissertation on emotional labor. I have built my career on testing and extending Hochschild's work, and hopefully have helped to raise awareness of the challenges of this form of labor that Hochschild originally proposed in 1989.


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