Strong emotions at work

Gail Whiteman (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Thaddeus Müller (de Warme Stad, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
John M. Johnson (School of Justice and Social Inquiry, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the emotional experiences from qualitative research can enrich organization and management studies.


The paper's approach includes a review of the literature in sociology, anthropology, psychology, and feminist studies, in which scholars have argued convincingly for the explicit need to acknowledge and utilize the emotions of researchers as they study social and organizational phenomenon. Also, past research is emotionally re‐written as reflexive examples.


The use of emotions as qualitative researchers can enrich the understanding of organizational and social life by offering new questions, concepts, and theories. At the level of methodology, this leads one to develop and reflect upon an emotional and cognitive orientation of the field.


The majority of narratives in organization studies remain sanitized, emotion‐less texts. While a discussion of researcher‐emotion can remain a back‐stage activity between colleagues over dinner, It is believed that much can be gained by a more explicit discussion.



Whiteman, G., Müller, T. and Johnson, J. (2009), "Strong emotions at work", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 46-61.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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