Investigating the Longitudinal Effects of Surface Acting on Managers’ Functioning Through Psychological Needs

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Abstract

This study is based on the premise that managers are expected to regulate their emotions in the form of surface acting. More specifically, drawing on self-determination theory, we explored the role of psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness in explaining the influence of surface acting on supervisors’ job satisfaction and work engagement over time. Data were collected at 2 time points, over a 3-month period, from a sample of 435 French managers working in the health care industry. Results revealed that surface acting negatively predicted managers’ job satisfaction and work engagement over time, through the satisfaction of their psychological needs. However, managers’ need thwarting did not explain these positive outcomes. Overall, these findings provide insight into the longitudinal adverse effects of managers’ surface acting on their functioning and corroborate the distinct role of psychological need satisfaction and thwarting. Theoretical contributions and perspectives, as well as implications for practice are discussed.

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