Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Fultz, Jim||Villanova, Peter

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Customer relations; Restaurants--Employees--Psychology; Attribution (Social psychology); Emotions


In 1987, Rafaeli and Sutton proposed a conceptual framework to guide theory development and research about the causes, qualities, and consequences of emotions that are expressed to fulfill role expectations in employment. Such role expectations are exemplified by those in service occupations. The interactions encountered in service occupations are social encounters and although social cognitions, such as attributions, likely play a significant role in the encounter, the model does not consider social perception as a mediating variable. This study examined the mediating effects of causal attribution on the putative link between emotional expression on the job and outcome for the employee in service occupations and the organization which employs him/her. A simulation of a restaurant situation was used to study the relationships among expectations of emotional expression, the expression of emotion itself, the resulting causal attributions, and the financial outcome for the employee and long term gains for the organization. One-hundred and nine undergraduate subjects viewed video-tapes of servers in a restaurant displaying either positive or negative emotions. Expectations were manipulated by means of narratives describing the particular restaurant setting within which the subject was to imagine himself/herself. Measures of causal attribution for the server's emotional expression, tipping behavior, and intent to patronize the restaurant again were taken. No support was found for the proposed mediating effects of attributions on the causal link between employees' emotional display and tips. Additionally, causal attribution was not found to mediate the significant effects of emotional expression on subjective probability of return to the restaurant.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [81]-89)


ix, 138 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type