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Anger expression and suppression at work: causes, characteristics and predictors

Jill Booth (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Jane L. Ireland (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK and Mersey Care NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK)
Sandi Mann (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Mike Eslea (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Lynda Holyoak (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the causes, characteristics and consequences of workplace anger expression and suppression, with an additional aim of testing the emotional dimension of Affective Events Theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants (n = 187) from management and non-management positions completed an event-contingent anger diary over a period of four working weeks, alongside measures on trait anger and job satisfaction.

Findings

Over 50 per cent of the sample disclosed anger-causing events. In keeping with Affective Events Theory, disposition was important, with trait anger higher in those disclosing anger-causing events. There appeared a range of factors predicting the expression of anger, with these focused primarily on individual issues and pre-existing emotion rather than work characteristics.

Originality/value

Through consideration of management and non-management workers and by using a longitudinal design, the study highlights the importance of individual factors in understanding workplace anger. It notes the value in focusing on discrete emotion. The findings offer a clear direction for future research that could assist with enhancing models of workplace emotion, particularly if the aim is to account for discrete emotions.

Keywords

Citation

Booth, J., Ireland, J.L., Mann, S., Eslea, M. and Holyoak, L. (2017), "Anger expression and suppression at work: causes, characteristics and predictors", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 368-382. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-06-2016-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited