Adventure tour leaders: a brilliant blend of identities?

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Torland, Monica 2011, 'Adventure tour leaders: a brilliant blend of identities?', in MJ Gross (ed.), CAUTHE 2011 National Conference: tourism: creating a brilliant blend, Adelaide, SA, 8-11 February, School of Management, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, pp. 749-765.


This study has two main purposes. The first purpose is to explore how adventure tour leaders in Australia comprehend their identity construction. The second purpose is to examine what impact emotional labour could have on adventure tour leaders’ job satisfaction. Data were collected through the methods of an online survey and email interviews. The results show that adventure tour leaders can take on multiple identities, although they still believe that they possess one core ‘self’. Consistent with this view, identity theory advises that multiple identities could be arranged in a hierarchy where higher-order identities representing individuals’ core values, morals and traits oversee the activation of lower-order identities. It is suggested that the emotional labour that adventure tour leaders perform could be arranged along a continuum where surface acting causes adventure tour leaders to feel inauthentic due to non-verification of their higherorder identities; deep acting causes them to feel mostly authentic due to a near verification of their higher-order identities; and genuine emotion display causes them to feel authentic due to verification of their higherorder identities. Given this relation between identity and emotional labour, it is proposed that verification of higher-order identities plays an important role in regards to the positive effect that deep acting has on adventure tour leaders’ job satisfaction. This, in turn, has implications for the manner in which adventure tour operators manage their human resources in order to assist future success of the adventure tourism industry.