The Effect of Affect in Organizational Settings: Volume 1


Table of contents

(17 chapters)

Neal M. Ashkanasy is Professor of Management in the UQ Business School, and the Faculty Director of Research. He has a Ph.D. (1989) in Social and Organizational Psychology. His research focuses on the role of emotions in organizations. He has published in journals such as the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Management, and the Journal of Organizational Behavior, and has edited four books. He is a past Chair of the Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division of the Academy of Management and is currently Associate Editor for Academy of Management Learning and Education and the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Nine of the chapters in this volume were sourced from the Fourth International Conference on Emotions and Organizational Life, held at Birkbeck College, London, in June 2004, and attended by 77 delegates. A record 46 papers were submitted to the conference, of which 27 were selected for presentation, in addition to one symposium. The nine papers chosen for this book were selected on the basis of their quality, interest, and appropriateness for the theme of this volume, “The effect of affect in organizational settings.” (A further set of papers has been selected to appear in Volume 2 of this book series.) We acknowledge in particular the assistance of the conference paper reviewers (see Appendix), who returned high-quality reviews in a very short time.

In the few years since the appearance of Affective Events Theory (AET), organizational research on emotions has continued its accelerating pace and incorporated many elements of the macrostructure suggested by AET. In this chapter we reflect upon the original intentions of AET, review the literature that has spoken most directly to these intentions, and discuss where we should go from here. Throughout, we emphasize that AET represented not a testable theory, but rather a different paradigm for studying affect at work. Our review reveals an obvious shift toward AET in the way organizational researchers study affect at work, but also that some elements have been neglected. Ultimately, we see the most fruitful research coming from further delineation of the underlying processes implicated by the macrostructure of AET.

Since its publication in 1996, Affective Events Theory (AET) has come to be regarded as the seminal explanation for structure, causes and consequences of affective experiences at work. AET does not, however, elucidate why, how, and when objects and events in the workplace trigger moods and emotions which in turn influence cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Consequently, AET does not yet provide us with a theoretical basis upon which to predict the way in which contextual, cognitive, motivational, or individual factors might moderate the impact of workplace events on affective states and subsequent behavior. In this chapter, we outline the central tenets of AET, and review a model of the processes underlying AET, with a view to understanding individual differences in the manifestation and consequences of affect in the workplace.

This conceptual chapter introduces an interdisciplinary model of emotional ambivalence using an adapted framework based on the Affective Events Theory (AET). Given the preoccupation in the current literature with studying affective disposition and discrete emotions, there is opportunity for researchers to explore the presence and influence of conflicting emotions. I use the organizational context of Personal Web Usage (PWU) monitoring to set the stage for a hypothetical discussion of the AET-based model of emotional ambivalence. The likelihood of conflict in the cultural norms and values associated with both monitoring activity and employee behavior presents an opportune setting to study emotional ambivalence. After an in-depth description of the model and its application to the PWU-based monitoring context, I conclude with a brief discussion of potential areas for future research.

Theory suggests that affective commitment and organizational citizenship behavior are positively correlated. Previous studies, however, report weak relationships between affective commitment and organizational citizenship behavior. The present study provides an interactive perspective in which we propose that emotional intelligence moderates the relationship between affective commitment and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs) – altruism and compliance. We found significant interaction between emotional intelligence and affective commitment in predicting altruistic behavior. In other words, the positive relationship between affective commitment and OCB-altruism was stronger for high emotional intelligence individuals. Our prediction for compliance behavior was not supported.

A daily diary study was used to examine the relationships between goal distance, goal velocity, affect, expectancies, and effort from the perspective of Carver and Scheier's (1998) control theory of self-regulation. Fifteen social workers completed a diary at the end of each working day for four weeks. Multi-level analysis found little support for the precice predictions of Carver and Scheier's theory, but did support the idea that discrepancy reduction plays a role in regulating behavior. Expectancies had a strong association with effort, and affect moderated this relationship. The interaction indicated that high expectancies suppress the signalling effects of affect, preventing the individual from being consumed by immediate reactions to situational events and enabling effort to be sustained.

This chapter investigates the relationship between organizational climate, social support, and loneliness in the workplace. Data were collected from 362 employees from various occupational groups. Regression analyses presented support for predicted links between community spirit at work, a climate of fear in an organization, work-based support from co-workers and supervisors, and loneliness at work. The results support the hypothesis that a negative emotional climate and lack of collegial support adversely influences the experience of loneliness in workers. The results suggest that addressing interpersonal problems in the workplace and improving the psychological work environment within an organization may enhance the social and emotional well-being of employees.

Accumulating evidence suggests that Team-member exchange (TMX) influences employee work attitudes and behaviours separately from the effects of leader-member exchange (LMX). In particular, little is known of the effect of LMX differentiation (in-group versus out-group) as a process of social exchange that can, in turn, affect TMX quality. To explore this phenomenon, this chapter presents a multi-level model of TMX in organizations, which incorporates LMX differentiation, team identification, team member affect at the individual level, and fairness of LMX differentiation and affective climate at the group-level. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our model for theory, research, and practice.

This chapter addresses the confluence of emotions, justice, and organizational change. Drawing on these three literatures, the chapter provides empirical analysis of over 100 separate organizational change events. The findings confirm previous research regarding patterns among emotions and demonstrate these patterns apply in the specific context of change. The findings also suggest that the degree of clarity one has when considering a change event matches the degree of intensity with which one experiences emotion. Finally, the findings suggest that even nominal change events are associated with intense experience of emotions. The chapter links these findings to several suggestions for further research.

It may be daunting for those who do not know or care for Shakespeare, but Othello is a compelling case study of destructive emotions in an organizational setting. Iago's chilling words from The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice are the title of this chapter, “I am not what I am”. Passed over for promotion, Iago wreaks havoc in the personal and professional life of the General who chose not to appoint him. We use this play as a case study of destructive emotions – specifically jealousy, anger, and shame – in an organizational hierarchy. The premise is that those who are passed over present a special managerial problem, one that we address at the end of the chapter after carefully looking at how revenge came to manifest from the emotions of the principal characters in the play. In addition, this chapter contributes to the growing literature on specific emotions as experienced in organizational life as well as advancing the links between management and the humanities by using one of Shakespeare's best-known tragedies as a case study.

The nature of affect and creativity relationship has been under debate, with some studies pointing out that positive affect is conducive, while others arguing that positive affect is detrimental to creative performance. In order to clarify the complicated affect-creativity relationship, we examine several factors that have not been sufficiently looked at: the role of affect characteristics (e.g., temporal factors), neuro-cognitive mechanisms (e.g., set-breaking), and the type of creative task performed (e.g., requiring negative versus positive creativity). To improve our understanding of seemingly inconsistent previous findings, we offer a model that links affect, through a set of mediators and moderators, to creative performance in organizations, accompanying our analysis with a set of 14 testable propositions.

This manuscript reports an exploratory investigation to integrate emotions into the study of post-crisis communication. Using the discussion of the role of affect in Attribution Theory, the research integrates emotion into Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT), one approach to post-crisis communication. SCCT uses crisis responsibility, how much people believe the organization is responsible for the crisis, to determine the most effective post-crisis communication strategy for protecting the organization's reputation. The research examines the amount of sympathy, anger, and schadenfreude generated by a variety of crisis types. The focus is on the connection between these three emotions and perceptions of crisis responsibility. The results suggest how emotion can be integrated into post-crisis communication and supports the value of including emotion in future research.

A critical evaluation of the organizational psychology research on the experience of emotion at work was undertaken by examining the extent to which research has characteristics appropriate to basic psychological approaches to emotion. Five characteristics were identified covering definitions, use of theory, design, and methods. A range of edited books and peer-reviewed journals were searched to identify relevant research, which was then examined for the expected characteristics. The results revealed relatively few empirical studies about experience of emotion at work and, in most cases, the expected characteristics were found in only around half of the studies. The implications of this for future research are discussed.

Daniel J. Beal is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Tulane University. His primary area of research interest examines the affective, cognitive, and motivational processes underlying within-person performance. In addition, he has interests in several methodological topics, including multilevel and longitudinal modeling and meta-analytic techniques. His work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Research Methods, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

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Research on Emotion in Organizations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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