Regulating emotions in response to power distance in meetings

Rebekka Erks, Erin Nyquist, Joseph Allen, Steven Rogelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Meetings are a necessary part of work. The purpose of this paper is to focus on how power distance in meetings affects emotional labor, including whether leader-member exchange (LMX) serves as a moderator for this relationship. It is hypothesized that power distance in meetings would lead to higher levels of emotional labor in meeting attendees, and that higher levels of LMX would make this relationship even stronger. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used a panel sample of full-time working adults from a variety of industries who regularly attend meetings. Participants completed a survey with items related to power distance, emotional labor, and LMX. Hypotheses were tested using moderated regression. Findings: Findings reveal that power distance between the meeting leader and attendees does relate positively to emotional labor, both surface and deep acting. In addition, LMX moderates this relationship for deep acting, but not for surface acting indicating that when high levels of both power distance and LMX exist, meeting attendees will engage in more deep acting. Research limitations/implications: The results of this study suggest that meeting leaders influence the behavior of attendees through their perceived power and relationship with the attendees. The power distance measure and cross-sectional nature of the sampling strategy is a limitation that provides opportunities for future research. Practical implications: The practical implications focus on meeting leaders, how they can help meeting attendees make meetings successful by expressing their true authentic emotions. Originality/value: The current study is one of the first to focus on the power distance present in meetings related to emotional regulation through the social comparison theory. In addition, the current study investigates how LMX can serve as a moderator in this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1259
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Management Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2017


  • Emotional Labour
  • Leader-member exchange
  • Leadership
  • Meetings
  • Power distance
  • Social comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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