Examining Facets Of Emotional Exhaustion In Malaysian Service Industry

by Khairun Nisa’ Binti Khairuddin


Malaysia is moving towards high service industry. This kind of industry places a high expectation on their employees to provide the best services to the customers. For this to happen, every employee has to demonstrate a consistent compliance to the rules of emotional labour. The term ’emotional labour’ was first introduced by Arlie Hochschild n 1983 to describe the phenomenon of service employees that goes beyond physical and mental duties. Emotional labour is linked to emotional intelligence and emotional exhaustion and also applicable to many areas of business with direct consequences and impact on employee’s performance.

Previous studies reported that emotional labour can lead to emotional exhaustion (Chu et al., 2012; Lee & Ok, 2012; Matteson & Miller, 2013; Jung & Yoon, 2014). This study, thus investigates the role of emotional labour and employees’ emotional intelligence towards emotional exhaustion. Specifically, this study examines the direct influence of employees’ emotional intelligence on emotional exhaustion and the direct influence through two dimensions of emotional labour towards emotional exhaustion in the service organisation settings.

Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to test the proposed model because it provides path coefficients to measure the relationships posited in the model. The study provides added value for theoretical consideration and meaningful insights into the framework of emotional intelligence-emotional labour-emotional exhaustion relationships. In addition, this study has several practical implications for service industries in policy formulation, recruitment and training. The findings of the study are also useful for frontline service employees to deal with their emotional challenges.


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