Emotions, Ethics and Decision-Making: Volume 4


Table of contents

(21 chapters)

Neal M. Ashkanasy is Professor of Management in the UQ Business School at the University of Queensland. His PhD is in Social and Organizational Psychology from UQ and he is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management. His research focuses on leadership, culture, ethics and, more recently, on the role of emotion in organizational life. He has published in journals such as the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Management, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Associate Editor of Academy of Management Learning and Education and Emotion Review, and book series editor for Research on Emotion in Organizations. He administers two ListServs (Orgcult – The organizational Culture Caucus; and Emonet – Emotions in Organizations), and is a past Chair of the Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division of the Academy of Management.

The chapters in this volume are drawn from the best contributions to the 2006 International Conference on Emotion and Organizational Life held in Atlanta, in conjunction with the Academy of Management's Annual Meetings. (This bi-annual conference has come to be known as the Emonet conference, after the listserv of members). The selected conference papers were then complemented by additional invited chapters. This volume contains six chapters selected from conference contributions for their quality, interest, and appropriateness to the theme of this volume, as well as eight invited chapters. We acknowledge in particular the assistance of the conference paper reviewers (see Appendix). In the year of publication of this volume the 2008 Emonet conference will be held in France, and will be followed by Volumes 5 and 6 of Research on Emotion in Organizations. Readers interested in learning more about the conferences or the Emonet list should check the Emonet website http://www.uq.edu.au/emonet/.

Although there has been increasing interest in the role of affect in work settings, the impact of moods and emotions in strategic decision making remains largely unexplored. In this essay, we address this shortcoming by proposing a conceptual model of strategic decision making that incorporates, at its core, the impact of affective states on cognitive processes that are integral to the decision outcome. The model is based on the principles of Affective Events Theory, which holds that environmental exigencies generate “affective events” that cause emotional reactions in organizational members which, in turn, determine members’ attitudes and behaviors. We extend this model to include the effect of the extra-organizational environment, and propose that emotions “infuse” those cognitive processes that are critical to the strategic decision making process. We conclude that strategic decision making in organizations is not always a controlled, deliberate, purely cognitive process, as it is often described. Rather, we contend that the moods and emotions that managers experience in response to positive and negative workplace events have a significant affect on strategic decision-making processes and ultimately, organizational-level outcomes. We discuss the implications of our model for theory, research, and practice.

In recent years there has been a growth of interest in the role played by intuition in entrepreneurial cognition and behavior. However, the significance of the role of affect in intuitive judgment has been underplayed by entrepreneurship researchers. In response to this theoretical and empirical shortcoming we propose recognition-primed decision-making (RPD), the somatic marker hypothesis (SMH), and dual-process theories (in particular Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory: CEST) as complementary frameworks for advancing understanding of the dynamic interplay of cognition and affect in entrepreneurial judgment and decision-making.

Many organizational problems are poorly defined, emotionally laden, and ambiguous. These types of problems rarely have one right answer and the criteria for evaluating the appropriateness of solutions is likely to be context dependent. Further, although cognitive skills are important to effective problem solving, the nature of these problems may also require emotional skills as well. This chapter presents a study which set out to determine whether emotional intelligence as an ability contributes above and beyond cognitive intelligence to the quantity, flexibility, and quality of solutions generated to ill-structured problems. Although support was not found for the notion that emotional intelligence explains the indices of solution generation beyond that of cognitive intelligence, the findings did show that emotional intelligence was a significant predictor of one of the solution metrics, namely the average resolving power of solutions across the two problems. The findings demonstrate that emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence are separate constructs and suggest that caution be used in proposing the pervasive effects of emotional intelligence. In particular, the results of this study suggest that emotional intelligence may not equally influence all activities, highlighting the need to investigate which steps of the problem-solving process it does indeed impact.

In this chapter we argue for further research that examines the role of the individual in addressing environmental issues. We review current research that examines emotionality as it relates to issues of the natural environment and identify disparate findings in the literature. In order to integrate findings from environmental psychology and management we draw on the theories of issue ownership, and organizational identification as a frame with which to examine emotionality and pro-environmental behavior in organizations. In doing so, we put forward a conceptual model and testable propositions as a basis for future research.

Scholars in philosophy have proposed that individuals who choose among two equally ethical alternatives will experience regret as a result of the “moral residue” that remains from not having been able to select both alternatives. Although posed and often discussed by philosophers, the veracity of this proposition has not been empirically tested. This chapter proposes a theoretical framework which synthesizes propositions from Philosophy with theory and research on emotions in the workplace to address questions concerning how the characteristics of ethical dilemmas give rise to different emotions, how the characteristics of employees affect the experience of emotions, and the consequences of the experience of emotions as a result of ethical decision making.

In this study, we explore what incites anger in business executives when making organizational decisions. In an inductive analysis of interviews with business executives about decisions where they experienced anger, six different triggers of anger – all related to behavioral-ethics issues – emerged. Two distinct attitudes toward anger – “negative” and “integrated” – also emerged as a significant theme. Based on our findings, we argue that anger may operate like an “ethical barometer” that informs an individual of potential ethical violations at any point in a decision-making process. The implications of these emergent findings for organizational practice and research on affect and decision-making are discussed.

In an age where morality requires economic justification, it is a compelling task to explicate the deeper affecting implications of moral judgment than its mere financial costs. In this chapter, we explore the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive ramifications of moral leadership at both the individual and macro organizational levels; specifically, by summoning literature on leadership, affect, and organizational justice to build a conceptual model of affect and interactional justice in moral leadership. The aim of the model is to extend current theoretical frameworks and highlight the important ramifications that moral decision-making has on employee and organizational welfare including that of the decision maker. The chapter concludes with a call for research comparing moral and immoral leadership in terms of different influence and strategy processes adopted by leaders and their followers’ attributions, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors.

The growth of research into whistle-blowing has produced some compelling insights into this important organizational phenomenon, but a number of areas remain under-explored, particularly the role of emotion and our understanding of the far more common response to wrongdoing, namely inaction. In this chapter we seek to problematize current conceptualizations of whistle-blowing and wrongdoing, as a basis for examining employee silence in the face of wrongdoing. We suggest that quiescent silence can be viewed as an emotion episode, and draw upon the feedback theory and the sensemaking paradigm to develop this proposition, illustrated through an analysis of accounts of quiescent silence in a clinical setting. We propose a new concept of “cues for inaction” which offers insights into the way quiescent silence arises and persists.

This chapter presents a case which illustrates how the external management consultant may function as an organizational anthropologist and provide insights and alternative strategies for human resource professionals and leadership faced with high toxicity levels. The long-term failure to timely detect toxins and intervene in a destructive conflict results in the spread of dysfunctional behavior in the case company, pointing to leadership negligence and malpractice. The deeply entrenched “no emotions allowed” culture evokes massive turnover and plunging motivation and productivity. The case concludes with specific recommendations for avoiding or repairing a toxic workplace culture.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is thought to offer significant benefit to organizational productivity through enhanced employee performance and satisfaction, decreased burnout, and better teamwork. EI may also have implications for the incidence of counterproductive workplace behavior. Survey results suggest EI is a significant predictor of individuals’ ethicality and their perceptions of others’ ethicality. Further, EI explains incremental variance in perceptions of others’ ethics over and above that which is explained by individual ethicality. High EI employees may be more adept at interpreting the ethicality of others’ actions, which has positive implications for ethical decision-making. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

This chapter examines the implications of societal norms for emotional labor in the workplace. It argues that the conflicting requirements of societal and job contexts may require one to violate one's societal norms to fulfill job requirements. It is, therefore, important to examine the aversive states that may follow such transgression and the manners in which they are managed.

Building on a recent study of Weiner's (1985a) attribution–emotion–behavior model, we examine the extent to which negative affective states mediate the relationship between attributions for undesirable outcomes and the ability to justify ethically questionable behaviors. Results of a scenario-based study indicated that causal attributions were associated with affective states and behavioral justification in the general manner predicted. Affective states were not associated with behavior justification, however, indicating that only a direct association between attributions and justification existed. Implications for future research on attributions and emotions are discussed.

Recent research suggests that individual difference variables that measure emotional reactions may be useful in understanding sexual harassment judgments. In the present study, 503 male and female working adults viewed two videos of sexual harassment cases and were asked to make judgments about the nature of the behavior. Participants also completed measures of sexism and empathy. Results indicated that Perspective Taking (PT), a component of empathy, interacted with gender to explain judgments regarding sexual harassment. Contrary to expectations, PT did not eliminate the typical gender differences found, but rather magnified them.

This chapter explains organizational accountability in context of a revolutionary change by the emotional capability of an organization and the ethical orientation of its top executives. Four situations lead to four propositions accounting for the level and durability of an organization's accountability. This chapter fills a gap in the literature by articulating two antecedents of organizational accountability, underlines the relevance of organizational ethics, and extends the realm of emotion management to strategic organizational outcomes.

Gregory Ashley is a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the area of Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology. Greg holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and telecommunications, and Masters degrees in Business and Economics. His research has been published in both economic and psychology-related publications. Prior to entering academia, Greg accrued over 20 years of hands-on business experience working in a variety of management positions in the telecommunications industry.

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Research on Emotion in Organizations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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