In this paper, we build on Wood’s (2010, 2012) recent call to consider higher education as a work place that conjures emotion among constituents, particularly positional leaders, like department chairs. Using a participatory action research and photo - enhanced methodological approach, we illustrate the emotional labor that was poured into the work of one department chair. Consequently, our work yields three contributions. First, we counter the overly rationalistic depiction of organizational leadership research and thinking. Second, our work suggests that if we conceptualize and understand emotion and emotional labor as a form of labor compelled by organizational norms, rule s, and relationships, it becomes possible to consider how institutions can and should better acknowledge this aspect of labor and how it can support individuals in these facets of work life (Brief & Weiss, 2002; Fisk & Friesen, 2012). Finally, we show how non - mainstream methodologies can help researchers explore multidimensional and understudied topics, like emotion and emotional labor, in studies of higher education.


Department Chairs, Emotional Labor, Participatory Action Research

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




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