Cross-national validation of the resources depletion-recovery model: An empirical study of Spanish and British theme park employees


  • Cristina Quinones Open University Business School
  • Raquel Rodríguez-Carvajal Autonoma University of Madrid
  • Mark D. Griffiths
  • Nicholas R. Clarke


Palabras clave:

surface acting, emotional effort, rewarding interactions, burnout, cross-national


Surface acting (SA) refers to the strategy whereby front-line employees hide their own emotions and fake those required of them within their role within customer service transactions. Although researchers have associated SA with burnout, evidence now suggests that this could be an indirect relationship. Building on the Conservation of Resources theory, it was hypothesised that the combined effect of emotional effort and lack of rewarding interactions with customers triggered by SA would explain the strong association between SA and burnout (Studies 1 and 2).  Furthermore, building on psychological recovery literature, it was hypothesised that the effort invested in SA would be a weaker predictor of front-line employees’ burnout in cases when they reported higher levels of recovery ability as opposed to lower levels (Study 2). A cross-national and cross-sectional design was used, and participants were theme park employees from UK (Study 1, NUK =204) and Spain (Study 2, NSpain=211). The explanatory role of emotional effort and rewarding interactions was supported, and the buffering effect of recovery ability was confirmed. Strategies aimed at minimising burnout risk for employees who deal with customers on a regular basis in these countries are discussed.