YouTube Beauty Gurus and the emotional labour of tribal entrepreneurship

Rebecca Mardon*, Mike Molesworth, Georgiana Grigore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Tribal entrepreneurship valorises emotional bonds between consumers and entrepreneurs, yet this emotional dimension is little understood. Drawing from a netnographic study of YouTube Beauty Gurus as tribal entrepreneurs, and uniting the concept of emotional labour with theories of moral emotions, we demonstrate the importance of emotional labour to tribal entrepreneurship's success. We observe novel forms of emotional labour performed by tribal entrepreneurs, relating to the expression of self-conscious and other-praising moral emotions, in addition to new technology-enabled forms of emotional censorship that silence the expression of other-condemning moral emotions in central tribal gathering spaces. Furthermore, we highlight the emotional labour performed by the broader tribe as their compassion for the entrepreneur stimulates tribal defense via the suppression of other-condemning emotions. We extend theories of tribal entrepreneurship by theorising the role and importance of emotional labour. Our findings also extend broader theories of emotions and contribute to discussions of immaterial labour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-454
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors


  • Consumer tribes
  • Emotional labour
  • Moral emotions
  • Tribal entrepreneurship
  • Tribal marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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