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Hospitality employees’ emotions in the workplace: a systematic review of recent literature
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management  (IF6.514),  Pub Date : 2021-08-27, DOI: 10.1108/ijchm-12-2020-1426
YooHee Hwang, Xiaolin (Crystal) Shi, Xingyu Wang


This systematic review synthesizes the recent literature (2010–2020) on hospitality employees’ emotions, affect and moods. This study has three objectives: to clarify the definitions of emotions, affect and moods; to explain how theories are integrated into understanding hospitality employees’ emotions, affect and moods; and to assess how emotions, affect and moods are measured.


Using seven major databases, the authors selected 61 peer-reviewed academic journal articles published in hospitality outlets for review. We based our study on five stages of conducting a systematic review: scoping, planning, identification, screening and eligibility.


Affect is an umbrella term encompassing moods and emotions. Emotions are distinct from emotion-laden constructs, such as emotional labor and emotional intelligence. Theories on conservation of resources, emotional labor and social exchange have been most frequently used to understand hospitality employees’ emotions. However, they overlooked the dynamic nature of emotions when using these theories. Hospitality researchers often used a subset of the positive and negative affect scale and did not discuss back-translation.

Practical implications

Hospitality employees’ emotions lead to far-reaching consequences in attitudes, intentions and behaviors in work and non-work domains. Effective practices (e.g. creating a supportive climate) that help evoke positive employee emotions and reduce negative employee emotions are thus desirable.


Our findings crystallize the understanding of emotions, affect and moods of hospitality employees. We further provide a roadmap for future research on hospitality employees’ emotions. Data triangulation, cross-cultural research and mixed emotions are novel opportunities for future research.