Understanding what happens on the other side of the door : emotional labor and motivation in direct sales.


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This study’s central purpose is to expand the research conducted within the field of communication on motivation and emotional labor. Specifically, this paper proposes an ethnographic examination of the intricate interplay of emotional labor and motivation within the working life of a summer salesperson. The results of this study revealed the dichotomous nature of door-to-door sales. Specifically, three dichotomies are discussed in the findings: making sense of the job as one to abhor/ admire, the emotional dichotomy of obscenity and humanity, and the relational dichotomy of care and competition. Throughout the study special attention was devoted to the discourse of the sales team. This study provided rich insight into the emotional labor of door-to-door sales representatives while also expanding the current literature on employee motivation.



Employee motivation, Emotion management, Emotional labor, Door-to-door sales, Employee burnout, Direct sales