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Too much love will kill you: the development and function of group emotional awareness

Smaranda Boroş (Vlerick Business School, Brussels, Belgium and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Delia Vîrgă (West University of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 27 February 2020

Issue publication date: 20 March 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to enhance clarity for the conceptualization and measurement of group emotional awareness by defining it as an emergent state. The authors explore the emergence of this state through two studies designed to explore the four characteristics (global, radically novel, coherent and ostensive) of emergent phenomena (Waller et al., 2016).

Design/methodology/approach

In Study 1, the authors explore in an experimental setting the formation of group emotional awareness and regulation as emergent states as a result of compositional effects (team members’ self-perceptions of their individual emotional awareness capabilities) and group norms regarding emotional awareness. Study 2 uses an experimental design to explore how pre-existing expectations of group emotional awareness, based on previous dyadic interactions between team members, can prevent conflict escalation (from task to relationship conflict) in project teams.

Findings

Individual perceptions of members’ own abilities and group norms interact in the emergence of group emotional awareness. Group emotion regulation can develop only under an optimal level of emergent group emotional awareness; groups that build emotional awareness norms compensate for their members’ low awareness and develop equally efficient regulatory strategies as groups formed of emotionally aware individuals. However, the conjunction of personal propensity towards awareness and explicit awareness norms blocks the development of regulatory strategies. Group emotional awareness (both as a developed state and as an expectation) reduces the escalation of task to relationship conflict.

Originality/value

Designing for the exploration of the four characteristics of emergence allowed us to gain new insights about how group emotional awareness emerges and operates too much awareness can hurt, and affective group expectations have the power to shape reality. These findings have strong implications for practitioners’ training of emotional awareness in organizations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Petru L. Curşeu for his support.

Citation

Boroş, S. and Vîrgă, D. (2020), "Too much love will kill you: the development and function of group emotional awareness", Team Performance Management, Vol. 26 No. 1/2, pp. 71-90. https://doi.org/10.1108/TPM-07-2019-0081

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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