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Emotional Labour of ‘Angels’: The Performances and Experiences of Male and Female Nurses in Sri Lanka

Authors:

S. D. K. Wanninayake ,

University of New South Wales, AU
About S. D. K.
School of Business
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Michael Edward O’Donnell

University of New South Wales, AU
About Michael Edward
School of Business
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Abstract

Despite emotional labour being categorised as women’s work or ‘pink-collar duties’, whether women and men perform and experience emotional labour differently remains an ongoing debate. Most extant studies have explored this phenomenon in Western contexts, with limited research in non-Western contexts. Therefore, this paper explores how male and female nurses performed and experienced emotional labour in a non-Western context, namely Sri Lanka. Utilising 56 interviews with nurses, this qualitative study found that though nursing was perceived as women’s work in Sri Lanka, there were instances where female nurses performed stereotypically ‘masculine’ emotional labour and vice versa. However, constant exposure to service recipients’ aggression, psychologically ‘taking work home’, and having to combine household and caring responsibilities led female nurses to suffer greater emotional exhaustion than men.
How to Cite: Wanninayake, S.D.K. and O’Donnell, M.E., 2021. Emotional Labour of ‘Angels’: The Performances and Experiences of Male and Female Nurses in Sri Lanka. Colombo Business Journal, 12(1), pp.87–113. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cbj.v12i1.72
Published on 29 Jun 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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