Are you listening to how I look? An exploration of the impact of emotional labour on educator effectiveness in higher education.


  • Fionnuala Darby Institute of Technology Blanchardstown


Emotional labour, teacher effectiveness, higher education, aesthetic labour.


A publication that has been cited in excess of three thousand times cannot fail to capture attention. Three decades on from the identification of a new form of labour by Hochschild and there is still much to explore with regard to emotional labour. Recent publications of literature concerning emotional labour have all helped to fill a gap left by the neglect of the impact of emotional labour on educator effectiveness in higher education. The purpose of emotional labour is to promote in others a feeling of being cared for. This paper will add to the topic by exploring the role and value of emotional labour with respect to lecturers in higher education. This objective is addressed by the author reflecting on her experience of 20 years employed in higher education predominantly in Ireland and is complimented by an analysis of the literature. It will identify types of emotional labour and emotional labour strategies within an Irish context. It will also examine the managerial implications of emotional labour and its impact on educator effectiveness. A related line of inquiry in the paper is the inclusion of aesthetic labour as an emotional labour strategy. To date aesthetic labour has been researched in isolation. This paper is unique in evaluating aesthetic labour along with the more widely researched forms of emotional labour in the context of educator effectiveness in higher education.

Author Biography

Fionnuala Darby, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown

Lecturer in Business






Reflections, Journeys and Case Studies