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Case assignment: Employees at Pret A Manger (Essay Sample)


Module 2 - Case

Emotions and Moods

Case Assignment

Pret A Manger is a London based chain of cafés and sandwich shops known for their extremely friendly workers who take “service with a smile” to a new level. Employees are screened and selected for the positive-oriented personalities and trained to provide their customers with highly positive and friendly service. Management even sends “mystery shoppers” which are members of the corporate office go under cover as normal customers and enter one of the cafés. These mystery shoppers rate and evaluate the performance of the workers without the workers knowing it.

Pret A Manger’s approach has brought them success as they are now rapidly expanded from London into New York, Washington, DC, and Chicago. However, their emphasis on their workings presenting a positive and friendly attitude at all times which is enforced by visits from “mystery shoppers” has been criticized as an extreme form of emotional labor

Review the concepts of emotional labor and emotional intelligence, and then do some research on Pret A Manger’s management of emotional labor. Here are a few articles to get you started:

Noah, T. (2013). Labor of love. New Republic244(1), 18. [Academic Source Complete – EBSCOHOST]

Clifford, S. (Aug. 7, 2011). Would you like a smile with that? New York Times. [ProQuest]

Goodman, M. (Mar. 6, 2011). Smile, it will pay for everyone. Sunday Times.[ProQuest]

When you have finished reviewing the background materials and finished your research on Pret A Manger, write a 3- to 4-page paper addressing the following issues:

  1. What do you think the positive benefits will be to Pret A Manger’s employees from the emotional labor they have to engage in? Will this emphasis on presenting a positive and happy image at all times lead to positive attitudes such as greater job satisfaction and organizational commitment?
  2. What negative consequences might Pret A Manger’s employee face from the heavy emotional labor they have to perform? Will it lead to burnout or problems.
  3. Which of the four aspects of emotional intelligence do you think would be most helpful for a Pret A Manger employee? Should Pret A Manger use emotional intelligence tests to recruit employees?

Assignment Expectations

  • Answer the assignment questions directly. Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to general background materials.
  • Make use of both the required Case Assignment articles as well as the required general background materials in your paper. Apply concepts that you learned in the background materials in your answers to the assignment questions.
  • Review our “Writing Style Guide” for more detail on referencing and writing expectations. This guide is found under “My Resources” in the TLC portal.

Case assignment
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Question 1
Employees at Pret A Manger normally get bonuses and rewards whenever they deliver outstanding customer service (Noah, 2013). The Managers of the company are committed heavily investing in efforts to make certain that the reputation and services of the firm remain outstanding ahead of its rivals. Employees are exposed to emotional labor, which if handled appropriately can bring positive benefits for the staff since employees exploit emotional labor to mobilize resources in order to carry out their job effectively. Employees can take advantage of emotional labor to develop capacity to mobilize their social skills to give sense and meaning to their work. Pret A Manger expects employees to be happy at work and this is the reason the company recruits employees who have potentials to adopt “Pret behaviors” that include being happy, genuinely friendly and enthusiastic to be themselves. The firm enforces such behaviors using a system of assessment and surveillance.
Emotional labor is not always a constraint because employees can obtain positive benefits out of it. Staff can develop emotional labor and social skills to survive and give meaning to their job, which can lead to job satisfaction and performance (Clifford, 2011). In this way, employees are deep acting when they transform their feelings during delivering customer service in order to fulfill customer and organizational expectations. Employees manage their feelings according to the management’s expectations to positively respond to the company’s obligations in a sincere manner and also this helps them to save their job. Emotional work represents human tasks that involve social relations. Emotional work is something intrinsic and therefore staff should not see it as a command enforced by the company. Having such a positive attitude can enable employees give extra customer care, which can lead to high job performance and satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Question 2
However, employees might also experience negative consequences when they are exposed to heavy emotional labor. It can be argued that Pret’s emotional labor is too much demanding and thus is considered as dehumanizing, exploitative and demeaning. Heavy emotional labor can force staff to fake feelings, which as a result can lead to negative consequences (Goodman, 2011). Emotional labor exposes employees to work pressure of a double impact from the expectations of both customers and the company. Based on such conditions, different reactions from resistance, consentment, constraints to resignation remain highly possible among employees.
Acting happily when an employee does not genuinely feel happy is something that can cause emotional dissonance which consequen...
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