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E-motional Interaction Between Teaching Assistants and Students:Expressing emotions via WebCT
Unformatted Document Text:  Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 9 Hochshild’s studies boosted many studies of emotions experienced at workplace in more detail. One of the most important studies of the subject, which is important to present to better understand this study, is a distinction between emotional labor and emotional work. According to Fineman (1993), emotion work is private, and emotion labor is public. While “emotion work is the effort we put into ensuring that our private feelings are suppressed or represented to be in tune with socially accepted norms, … emotion labor is the commercial exploitation of this principle” (p. 3). Graduate students, who are often employed as teaching assistants and course instructors, obviously experience the fuzzy divides among teaching, learning, and play. The multiple roles and frequent overlap of these roles makes it hard to theoretically distinguish between emotion labor and work within the typical workplace of the teaching assistant. We briefly look at how both emotion labor and emotion work (Fineman, 1993) pervades the TA’s work experience, as well as how computer-mediated instruction technology might intensify emotion labor and work. First, in terms of emotion labor, Putnam and Mumby (1992) state that “an organization’s culture can be managed by prescribing and monitoring the emotional aspects of organizational life through ceremonies, practices, and norms that become institutionalized over time and through inculcating values and motives linked to decision premises” (p. 473). Thus, value premises set forth through an overarching organizational culture and carried out through worker identification with that organization can create the emotions of control (see Fineman, 2000; see also Putnam & Mumby, 1993). Therefore, although emotion labor at a university might not be articulated through teaching manuals or symposiums, the presence of norms and values in the university’s organizational culture may still exert overt and covert control over emotions. The university as an employer hopes that a TA can remain a TA within the workplace, in spite of the fact that some TAs switch back and forth between the role of teacher and graduate

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina., Bigam, Mellisa., Buford, Laura. and Chen, Xiaolei.
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Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 9
Hochshild’s studies boosted many studies of emotions experienced at workplace in more
detail. One of the most important studies of the subject, which is important to present to better
understand this study, is a distinction between emotional labor and emotional work.
According to Fineman (1993), emotion work is private, and emotion labor is public. While
“emotion work is the effort we put into ensuring that our private feelings are suppressed or
represented to be in tune with socially accepted norms, … emotion labor is the commercial
exploitation of this principle” (p. 3). Graduate students, who are often employed as teaching
assistants and course instructors, obviously experience the fuzzy divides among teaching, learning,
and play. The multiple roles and frequent overlap of these roles makes it hard to theoretically
distinguish between emotion labor and work within the typical workplace of the teaching assistant.
We briefly look at how both emotion labor and emotion work (Fineman, 1993) pervades the TA’s
work experience, as well as how computer-mediated instruction technology might intensify emotion
labor and work.
First, in terms of emotion labor, Putnam and Mumby (1992) state that “an organization’s
culture can be managed by prescribing and monitoring the emotional aspects of organizational life
through ceremonies, practices, and norms that become institutionalized over time and through
inculcating values and motives linked to decision premises” (p. 473). Thus, value premises set forth
through an overarching organizational culture and carried out through worker identification with
that organization can create the emotions of control (see Fineman, 2000; see also Putnam &
Mumby, 1993). Therefore, although emotion labor at a university might not be articulated through
teaching manuals or symposiums, the presence of norms and values in the university’s
organizational culture may still exert overt and covert control over emotions.
The university as an employer hopes that a TA can remain a TA within the workplace, in
spite of the fact that some TAs switch back and forth between the role of teacher and graduate


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