Introduction: Why Emotional Labor Matters in Public Service

  • Mary E. GuyEmail author
  • Sharon H. Mastracci
  • Seung-Bum Yang


A paradigmatic shift needs to happen in public administration theory and inquiry. The field will be more accurately served by expanding its focus to embrace relationship. While benchmarks and outcome measures have their place, glorification of data dashboards overlooks the human dimension in public service. Using as the starting point the current emphases on governance, collaboration, coproduction, citizen engagement, and relational contracting, we argue that all these concepts assume, but fail to comprehend and explicate, the foundation upon which they are built: It is the relationship between citizens and between citizen and state. For governing to be effective, citizens must feel good about those who govern. The feeling that citizens have for their government is both the beginning point and end point of the citizen–state relationship. Emotional labor is the “comes with” in this new paradigm but the affective component has yet to be inserted into the canon of public administration. This book attempts to open the dialogue that will shift the paradigm to a broader embrace.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary E. Guy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sharon H. Mastracci
    • 2
  • Seung-Bum Yang
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Public AffairsUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public AdministrationKonkuk UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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