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Workplace Interruptions and Emotional Regulation

aGriffith University, Republic of Korea
bGriffith University, Australia

Emotions During Times of Disruption

ISBN: 978-1-80382-838-1, eISBN: 978-1-80382-837-4

Publication date: 20 January 2023



The working day has always comprised frequent interruptions. Yet the frequency and intensity of these disruptions appear to be on the rise as a result of advancing technology, increasing interdependent work processes, and changing work environments (e.g., open-plan offices). Interestingly, there have only been a handful of studies on workplace interruptions, and the primary focus among researchers has been on the effects of interruptions on task completion. In this chapter, we argue that interruptions at work can be conceptualized as emotion-inducing events. We draw on research across different disciplines to develop a framework to show how the work-enhancing or work-hindering effects of different types of interruptions are, in part, determined by the employees' capability to manage (regulate) their emotional responses.


We initially review the literature regarding workplace interruptions. We then develop a framework for understanding the different types of interruptions experienced by individuals at work and then use this framework to develop a model linking interruptions to emotion regulation drawing on Affective Events Theory (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996). In essence, we advance our understanding of work interruptions by considering these as events that are able to produce positive or negative affective reactions that may enhance or hinder work performance.


The framework presented in this chapter increases understanding of the different types of workplace interruptions and shows how emotion regulation impacts subsequent work-related outcomes. This chapter provides valuable insights into the nature of work interruptions to identify both positive and negative aspects of work interruptions to establish two different domains of work interruptions that may improve (work-enhancing interruptions) or thwart (work-hindering interruptions) work-related outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.



Choi, M.-K., Jordan, P.J. and Troth, A.C. (2023), "Workplace Interruptions and Emotional Regulation", Troth, A.C., Ashkanasy, N.M. and Humphrey, R.H. (Ed.) Emotions During Times of Disruption (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 18), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 121-142.



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