This is a qualitative study of emotionality, organisational culture and masculinity within an interactive workplace. The workplace under scrutiny is the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), a public sector organisation that provides both conventional and aerial pre-hospital emergency care and transport to all persons living in the Australian state of Queensland. The works of Hochschild, and the burgeoning studies of organisational emotionality provide a framework which illuminates the links between the practice of emotional labour and the privileging of particular kinds of emotionality within the QAS.
The findings are based on observational and interview data collected over a period of fifteen months. During this time, five hundred hours was spent in the field observing one hundred and ten cases. Thirty indepth interviews were held with officers from the seven QAS regions.
This study illustrates that emotional labour needs to be studied in the context of the emotional culture in which it is practiced. This approach to the study of emotional labour has made transparent the crucial role intra-gender relations play in the constitution and reproduction of organisational emotionality within the QAS. The existence of frontstage and back stage masculinities is illustrative of how emotional culture is constructed and maintained through gendered organising processes.