'Dead bodies as a daily business': Affective work events, emotions and emotion regulation in the work of undertakers

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Affective Events Theory (AET) postulates that job characteristics have an impact on job attitudes and work behaviour via affective events and reactions. However, the display of positive emotions can be rather problematic in undertakers and be in conflict with displaying compassion.

OBJECTIVE: This study examines work events eliciting various emotions in the work of undertakers and how display of emotions in this profession affects job satisfaction. We thereby focus on AET and extend this by investigating time pressure as a moderator of the relationship between autonomy, positive emotions and job satisfaction.

METHODS: First, we collected specific affective work events of undertakers in a pilot interview study. Second, N = 112 undertakers participated in a cross-sectional survey measuring affective events, emotional display, commitment to display compassion, autonomy, time pressure, job satisfaction and work engagement.

RESULTS: Experiencing positive emotions at work is beneficial even in undertakers. Additionally, autonomy was associated with positive emotions particularly under high time pressure and low commitment to display compassion moderated the link between work events and showing compassion.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, undertakers' well-being is associated in complex ways with the interplay of positive emotions, autonomy and time pressure at work and individual differences in commitment for displaying compassion to clients.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-665
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2022

External IDs

Mendeley 7be034d6-4c92-326f-938f-df1edc2b7dd0
Scopus 85140417202
ORCID /0000-0002-0015-5120/work/142239860
ORCID /0000-0002-5632-419X/work/142246600


Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

Sustainable Development Goals


  • Cross-Sectional Studies, Emotional Regulation, Emotions, Humans, Job Satisfaction, Surveys and Questionnaires, beta-Aminoethyl Isothiourea

Library keywords