Designing for Emotions: Addressing Employee Emotional Labor Through Service Design




Taylor, Logan

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The service industry is booming, now more than ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024, 95% of new jobs will be in the service sector. Jobs within the service industry take physical and mental tolls on frontline employees. This concept is more commonly referred to as emotional labor. This paper argues that the consequences of emotional labor, a rather well-known concept that has been widely studied since the early nineteen-eighties, can positively address a frontline employee experience through the implementation of service design. The leading research question guiding this paper, which was established through the literature review, is “How can organizations use service design to lessen emotional labor at the front-line?” While service design’s traditional purpose focuses on the customer journey and experience, this paper states that concepts, which are defined through the theoretical framework, such as journey maps, blueprints, and prototyping can be used to reduce the emotional labor a frontline employee experiences at the frontline. This paper will also showcase how implementing a service design strategy from the frontline employee perspective will create happier, more engaged employees, thus guiding the organization to success.



service design, design thinking, emotional labor, frontline, employees, service industry, Honors College


Taylor, L. (2019). Designing for emotions: Addressing employee emotional labor through service design (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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