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Keywords:

  • meetings;
  • emotional labour;
  • surface acting;
  • emotional exhaustion;
  • intentions to quit

This study adds to the growing body of research on work meetings and extends the emotional labour literature beyond a service context by examining the relationship between surface acting during meetings and perceived meeting effectiveness. Additionally, the relationships of surface acting during meetings and perceived meeting effectiveness with time-lagged reports of intention to quit and emotional exhaustion 3 months later were investigated. Structural equation modelling of data from 178 working adults revealed negative relationships between surface acting and perceptions of meeting effectiveness. Perceived meeting effectiveness partially mediated the relationship between surface acting and both intention to quit and emotional exhaustion 3 months later. These findings expand both the limited research on perceived meeting effectiveness and the surface acting nomological network to include a consideration that expressing inauthentic emotions in meetings (surface acting) may relate to the perceived effectiveness of the meeting. As well, both surface acting during meetings and perceived meeting effectiveness may relate to how emotionally exhausted employees feel and their intentions to seek other employment. Given the cost and pervasiveness of meetings in daily organizational life and their potential effects on the well-being of employees, understanding how to make meetings effective is paramount – particularly if researchers and practitioners want to better understand how perceived meeting effectiveness may be related to various employee outcomes.

Practitioner points

  • Organizations use up to 15% of their personnel budget on meetings, yet meetings are often considered ineffective by employees.
  • Organizations wishing to increase the perceived effectiveness of their meetings can work to reduce the degree to which employees feel they have to express inauthentic emotion in meetings.
  • In turn, expressing inauthentic emotion in meetings related to employees' future emotional exhaustion and intent to leave the organization.