Emotional Dissonance Among UK Animal Technologists: Evidence, Impact and Management Implications
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The care and welfare of laboratory animals born, nurtured and experimented upon within a research facility is the primary function for animal technologists. While discharging these responsibilities the emotional needs of the carers require consideration, balancing their perceptions of animal care against the purpose for which the animals exist.
As little published information is available on the emotional challenges faced by UK animal technologists, this thesis redresses the balance, exploring the subject in detail through qualitative and quantitative methods.
Emotional dissonance, often expressed as felt emotion versus enacted emotion, is a negative output from Emotional Labour. Animal technologists operate in a service environment and the results demonstrate that they ‘act’ under duress and self-regulate which emotions to display. Using exploratory factor analysis the results illustrate two key drivers on felt and enacted emotions. These include internal elements associated with daily tasks elements such as euthanasia and external factors such as budgets over which they have little or no control.
Emotional dissonance is shown to occur within various employment grades. Resultant emotions include, guilt, shame and sadness. These can lead to affects upon job satisfaction propagating feelings of workplace alienation, isolation and fear, particularly from antivivisectionist organisations. When organisational support was not forthcoming or lacked empathy, individuals deployed various coping methods. This demonstrates both management and organisational implications including gender, educational attainment and whether a person has staff supervision responsibilities.
Observations drawn through both qualitative and quantitative research clearly signpost a spectrum of indicators of emotional dissonance leading to individual, managerial and organisational theoretical implications. In doing so, emotion knowledge has been increased on a previously under researched occupational sector existing within a largely secretive environment.
The research on a hitherto largely unknown employment grouping provides insights that had previously existed only mainly in anecdotal ways. The results provide strong evidence to further support existing research demonstrating how roles with significant emotional components directly impact upon individuals and the organisations that employ them.
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