Authors: Monica Torland
Abstract: This paper aims to identify the types of job situations in which adventure tour leaders perform two types of emotional labor: surface acting and deep acting. Whilst surface acting refers to faking feelings that are not really felt, or hiding feelings that are inappropriate to display, deep acting is concerned with aligning one's true feelings with the ones required by the job. It is important to identify these situations because they represent the unique context of emotional labor performance within the occupation of adventure tour leading. Qualitative data were collected through asynchronous e-mail interviews from a sample of 25 adventure tour leaders employed in Australia. The data from the interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Regarding surface acting, 60% of adventure tour leaders applied this form of emotional labor in risk management situations; 24% performed surface acting in order to create enthusiasm; 20% applied surface acting to deal with difficult clients; and 12% reported that they did not perform surface acting on the job. When it came to deep acting, 40% of adventure tour leaders applied this type of emotional labor to deal with difficult clients; 32% applied deep acting to deal with inexperienced clients; 20% performed deep acting in order to create enthusiasm; and 16% used deep acting in risk management situations. It was suggested that adventure tour leaders occasionally may adopt surface acting as an emotional labor strategy in risk management situations as an immediate response to an unexpected and potentially dangerous situation. However, given that surface acting could compromise clients’ safety and brings with it Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) risks for employees, it was proposed that adventure tour operators could provide training to increase the number of adventure tour leaders who perform deep acting instead of surface acting in risk management situations.
Keywords: adventure tourism, adventure tour leader, emotional labor, surface acting, deep acting, adventure tour guide, job satisfaction, Occupational Health and Safety