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J Appl Psychol. 2015 Mar;100(2):263-77. doi: 10.1037/a0038229. Epub 2014 Nov 10.

When regulating emotions at work pays off: a diary and an intervention study on emotion regulation and customer tips in service jobs.

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Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University.
Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University.
Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Sports Sciences, Bielefeld University.


We investigated the relationship between deep acting, automatic regulation and customer tips with 2 different study designs. The first study was a daily diary study using a sample of Dutch waiters and taxi-drivers and assessed the link of employees' daily self-reported levels of deep acting and automatic regulation with the amount of tips provided by customers (N = 166 measurement occasions nested in 34 persons). Whereas deep acting refers to deliberate attempts to modify felt emotions and involves conscious effort, automatic regulation refers to automated emotion regulatory processes that result in the natural experience of desired emotions and do not involve deliberate control and effort. Multilevel analyses revealed that both types of emotion regulation were positively associated with customer tips. The second study was an experimental field study using a sample of German hairdressers (N = 41). Emotion regulation in terms of both deep acting and automatic regulation was manipulated using a brief self-training intervention and daily instructions to use cognitive change and attentional deployment. Results revealed that participants in the intervention group received significantly more tips than participants in the control group.

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