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Feel the emotion

There is growing interest in the role of emotion when considering communication in the workplace. This work has most often considered workers in front-line service positions in investigations of emotional labor, and human service workers in investigations of empathy and emotional work. In this study, we consider processes of both emotional labor and emotional work in the financial planning profession. Financial planners occupy a role requiring ongoing relationships with clients, conversations about the often emotional topic of money, and a need to manage emotion in a variety of interaction contexts. Thus, from extant theory and literature regarding emotion and communication, we proposed research questions regarding the roles of emotional labor and emotional work in the financial planning profession. These questions were investigated in a web-based survey study of almost 300 professional financial planners and supporting interviews with 14 financial planners. Results indicate support for existing theory on emotional work, extensions to current research regarding emotional labor, and important implications for the role of emotion and communication in a range of professional service roles.