Date of Conferral







Gwynne Dawdy


High levels of emotional work, staffing shortages, high turnover rates, low workforce engagement levels, and complex healthcare reforms are common problems in healthcare settings. Healthcare leaders are increasingly aware of the vital impact an engaged workforce can have on patient outcomes and an organization's ability to survive despite current challenges in the healthcare setting. It is important for leaders to understand what factors may influence the ability to engage with their organization, such as emotional labor. The purpose of this correlational quantitative study was to test whether emotional labor is related to employee engagement within a large Midwestern pediatric hospital. The theoretical frameworks that helped guide the development of this study were Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, Kahn's engagement theory, intergroup emotions theory, and Diefendorff and Richard's model of emotional display rules. Three measures (a demographic questionnaire, the revised Emotional Labour Survey, and the Job Engagement Scale) were used to address the relationship between the variables (the subscales of emotional labor and employee engagement). Data analysis involved simple bivariate correlations and curvilinear regressions. Results indicated that the subscales of faking emotions and hiding feelings negatively correlated with employee engagement. Five of the 6 subscales also had a significant curvilinear relationship with employee engagement. Gender did not play a moderating role in this study. Social change implications and recommendations include the potential for improvements in the need to identify and develop training and self-care strategies necessary for staff to endure the emotional fallout associated with the high emotional demands of their job.