The purpose of this exploratory study is to analyze the emotional dissonance among frontline hospitality employees, based on the habituation theory, by examining the responses of brain regions of interest to customers’ incivility. A survey and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—measuring brain responsiveness—data were collected to compare the life/occupational stress between the frontline hospitality (i.e., customer interacting jobs) and nonhospitality (i.e., minimal or no customer interaction) employees and analyze the responses of brain regions of interest. Although the data from the survey suggested no significant difference between the two groups of employees, the fMRI analysis found significant habituation of the brain regions of interest among the frontline hospitality employees. The analysis outcomes confirm habituation theory and suggest managerial implications such as managing stress or burnout from emotional dissonance and improving employee welfare/fitness to relieve stress from emotional dissonance. The findings suggest the call for more in-depth analysis regarding emotional dissonance.
- emotional dissonance
- frontline employees
- functional magnetic resonance imaging