Emotional labor among west texas baptist pastors: Potential threats to leader authenticity and lessons learned

Kelly Davis McCauley, William L. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to provide preliminary insights into the relationships between self-monitoring, emotional expressivity, emotional labor, felt leader authenticity, and authentic leadership (AL) within a unique context - West Texas Baptist congregations. Using a sample of 40 Baptist pastors, we employed survey research methods and correlational analyses to explore the focal relationships. Our results revealed that self-monitoring is positively correlated with surface acting, yet negatively associated with AL, within our sample of West Texas Baptist pastors. Emotional expressivity is negatively related to surface acting, but not deep acting, and positively related to genuine emotional displays. We also found that surface acting is negatively associated with genuine emotion displays and felt authenticity, while felt authenticity and AL are positively correlated. However, no relationships between self-monitoring, deep acting, felt authenticity, and AL were revealed. Thus, we identified cases where leader authenticity may be threatened within an organizational context with strong emotional display rules, suggesting a boundary condition for AL. Additionally, we advance propositions gleaned from our research regarding the influence of the omnibus (e.g., community religiosity) and discrete context on leader emotional labor and authenticity. We conclude with practical recommendations for leaders seeking to balance authenticity with emotional display rules associated with unique roles and contexts, as well as recommendations for scholars seeking to conduct research in such settings. We also provide candid insights regarding the challenges we encountered in researching leader authenticity within a highly religious context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-401
Number of pages33
JournalMonographs in Leadership and Management
StatePublished - 2016


  • Authentic leadership
  • Emotional expressivity
  • Emotional labor
  • Felt leader authenticity
  • Self-monitoring


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