Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Welbourne

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Abede

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Matthews


Workplace spirituality (WS) is a framework of organizational values embedded in the culture of the organization that promotes employees to experience a sense of meaningfulness at work, sense of connection with coworkers, congruence of organizational values with theirs' and experience transcendence through their work. This dissertation presents workplace spirituality as an organizational intervention to manage the problem of emotional labor and its dysfunctional consequences among the service employees.

The main thesis of the dissertation is that workplace spirituality will enable service employees to appraise emotional labor as a positive stressor (challenge stressor) rather than a negative stressor (hindrance stressor). The positive appraisal of emotional labor as a challenge stressor will enable employees to manage the negative consequences of emotional labor on the individual outcomes of burnout and turnover intention, with a positive outlook. The dissertation presents a process model explaining how the perception of workplace spirituality in organizations affect emotional labor strategies and individual outcomes. The dissertation predicts resilience as a mediator between workplace spirituality and cognitive appraisal of emotional labor. Additionally, the study predicts that challenge appraisal of emotional labor has a positive relationship with deep acting emotional labor strategy while hindrance appraisal of emotional labor has a positive relationship with surface acting emotional labor strategy. Furthermore, the deep acting strategy is hypothesized to be negatively associated with burnout and turnover intention, respectively while surface acting emotional strategy is hypothesized to have a positive association with burnout and turnover intention, respectively.

This dissertation has some implication to both theory and practice. The major theoretical implication of the study is that it contributes to the literature of workplace spirituality and emotional labor separately. Additionally, it integrates psychological stress literature with emotional labor and workplace spirituality to present a comprehensive framework to explain the underlying evaluation of emotional labor. Furthermore, it seeks to inform the managers how a transcending workplace (workplace spirituality) can facilitate as a self-managing mechanism for employees to better manage their emotions at work, thereby reducing the negative consequences of emotional labor such as burnout and turnover intention.


Copyright 2014 Ashwini Gangadharan. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American