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Sharmin Tunguz

Associate Professor of Psychology

my Research Interests

As an I/O psychologist, I am a keen observer of how individuals manage their feelings and behaviors in the workplace, specifically in customer-service settings. My work looks at the relationship between organizational justice and emotional labor – the effort to regulate one’s emotions at work – and has generally found that workplace injustice wrecks havoc on one’s ability to manage one’s emotions. Typical reactions to undeserved customer rudeness, for instance, include anger and even guilt, prompting service interactions to become strained and imbued with emotional labor.

In a related vein, I have looked at the factors that enhance both employee and customer satisfaction. My research shows that when employees are schooled in effective training methods, customer injustice exacts less of an emotional toll on otherwise hapless workers. Furthermore, customer satisfaction is also enhanced when employees are trained to more effectively manage their emotions. An interesting discovery, however, that emerged from a set of field studies that my students and I conducted suggests that employee and customer satisfaction might actually have more to do with individuals’ internal dispositions than with outward organizational practices.

The bottom line? I/O psychology reflects the tried and tested nature/nurture divide with the same level of ferocity seen in other, more basic, areas of psychology. It suggests that within customer service, at least, selection of the right employees is as important as training them in the right practices… and interacting with the right customers.


Selected Publications & Presentations

(*DePauw student)

Tunguz, S. (forthcoming). Emotional labor: Clarifying a confusing construct. In C.
   Mohiyeddini, M. Eysenck, & S. Bauer (Eds.), Psychology of Emotions (pp. XX-XX).
   Hauppague, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

 

Tunguz, S., & Carnevale, P. J. (2011). Social context effects in the display of
   emotion: Accountability in a simulated organization. Journal of Applied Social
   Psychology, 41,
1371-1398.

 

Spencer, S., & Rupp, D. E.  (2009). Angry, guilty and conflicted: Injustice toward
   coworkers heightens emotional labor through cognitive and emotional mechanisms.
   Journal of Applied Psychology, 94,
429-444.

 

Rupp, D. E., & Spencer, S. (2006). When customers lash out: The effects of
   interactional justice on emotional labor and the mediating role of discrete emotions.
   Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 971-978.

 

Tunguz, S., & *Riggs, L. E. (2012). Customer satisfaction links between service
   quality and future behavioral intentions. Poster session presented at the
   23rd Annual Convention for the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL.

 

Tunguz, S., Lee, W. C., Wu, C., & Diamond, J. A. (2011). Guiding undergraduates
   to I-O: Attracting talent and providing opportunities.
Panel discussion presented at
   the 26th Annual Conference for the Society for Industrial and Organizational
   Psychology, Chicago, Illinois.

 

Tunguz, S., *Riggs, L. E., & *Searles, J. A. (2011). Employee displays and customer
   disposition: Predicting customer satisfaction and tips.
Poster session presented
   at the 26th Annual Conference for the Society for Industrial and Organizational
   Psychology, Chicago, Illinois.

 

*Woods, W. K., & Tunguz, S. (2010, May). Organizational and individual differences
   affect customer satisfaction and tips.
Poster session presented at the 22nd Annual
   Convention for the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, Massachusetts.

 

McCance, A. S., & Tunguz, S. (2010, April). Emotional regulation training reaps
   psychological and organizational benefits. In P. Grabarek (Chair), Justice and
   individual differences: New research findings, directions, and questions.
Symposium
   conducted at the 25th Annual Conference for the Society for Industrial and
   Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, Georgia.