The Role of Emotion and Emotion Regulation in Job Stress and Well Being: Volume 11

Table of contents

(18 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Overview

Pages xi-xii
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Abstract

Research on self-regulation has tended to focus on goal-related performance, with limited attention paid to individuals’ affect and the role it plays during the goal-striving process. In this chapter we discuss three mechanisms to integrate affect within a control theory-based self-regulation framework, and how such integrations inform future research concerning employee stress and well-being. Specifically, affect can be viewed as a result of velocity made toward one’s desired states at work. Fast progress results in positive affect, which enhances employee well-being and reduces the detrimental effects associated with exposure to occupational stressors. On the other hand, slow or no progress elicits negative affect, which induces employee distress. Second, affect can also be considered an input of self-regulation, such that employees are required to regulate their emotional displays at work. Employees who perform emotional labor compare their actual emotional display against the desired display prescribed by display rules. Third, affect can function as a situational disturbance, altering employees’ perceptions or assessments of the input, comparator, and output for other self-regulatory processes.

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It is well recognized that emotions support adaptation to environmental demands by guiding cognitions and behavior in line with one’s implicit and explicit goals. This is true in the work context, as in other areas of life. Traditionally, however, research into emotion regulation within the work context has been centered on the problematic aspects of feeling and displaying emotion at work. In order to meet organizational goals, felt emotions need to be subdued or modified, and inauthentic emotions displayed. In this way, conceptualizations of work-related emotion regulation have disconnected emotion from its most basic and adaptive signal function. This disconnection has led to a dilemma regarding the real- and the fake-self and been associated with a range of negative consequences for employee health and well-being. Understanding how emotions can be regulated to help employees meet personal goals for growth and development has also been overlooked. In this chapter, we challenge this existing paradigm, and instead argue that examining emotion regulation in terms of its adaptive functions will help to unify disparate findings from within the emotion regulation literature and progress research in the field of emotion and emotion regulation at work.

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Despite the now sizable body of research documenting the importance of emotions and emotion regulation in the workplace, there is relatively little research investigating methods for improving emotional well-being in organizations. Moreover, well-being interventions that have been historically predominant in psychology are deficient in a variety of ways. In light of these deficits, researchers in other areas of psychology have begun to investigate the role of self-guided activities in enhancing the positive aspects of emotional well-being and emotion regulation. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of self-guided activities and interventions. To this end, we provide a review and discussion of various theoretical ideas and specific interventions that have been, or could be, adapted into self-guided activities to boost emotions and emotional regulation skills in the workplace. The chapter is meant to provide practical guidance to employers, organizations, and individual employees interested in using self-guided activities to improve well-being and emotion regulation at work.

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This chapter examines the role of stress and emotional well-being as critical antecedents of important outcomes in the military context. In it, we provide a framework for understanding the sources of stress among military personnel. Using this model, we review the risk factors associated with combat and deployment cycles in addition to protective factors, such as personality characteristics and social support, which mitigate the effects of stress on emotional well-being and performance. Finally, we evaluate efforts by military organizations to enhance the emotional well-being of service members through training programs designed to build resiliency.

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This chapter describes the role of service employees’ motives for emotion regulation in interactions with customers. To date, there has been little research and theoretical work on motives for emotion regulation in service work. The reason for this may lie in the fact that there is an implicit general assumption that employees regulate their emotions in customer interactions because of display rules given by the organization. We argue that service employees have more motives for emotion regulation than adhering to display rules. We propose that three fundamental motive categories which are relevant for general emotion regulation are also relevant in the service work context. Moreover, we argue that the different motive categories are important antecedents for the further emotion regulation process. We propose that depending on the motive category different emotion regulation strategies are used as well as moderating effects of the motives with an impact on the consequences of emotion regulation such as well-being. The chapter concludes by pointing to practical implications.

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Researchers in the field of occupational stress and well-being are increasingly interested in the role of emotion regulation in the work context. Emotion regulation has also been widely investigated in the area of lifespan developmental psychology, with findings indicating that the ability to modify one’s emotions represents a domain in which age-related growth is possible. In this chapter, we integrate the literatures on aging, emotion regulation, and occupational stress and well-being. To this end, we review key theories and empirical findings in each of these areas, summarize existing research on age, emotion regulation, and stress and well-being at work, and develop a conceptual model on how aging affects emotion regulation and the stress process in work settings to guide future research. According to the model, age will affect (1) what kinds of affective work events are encountered and how often, (2) the appraisal of and initial emotional response to affective work events (emotion generation), and (3) the management of emotions and coping with affective work events (emotion regulation). The model has implications for researchers and practitioners who want to understand and facilitate successful emotion regulation and stress reduction in the workplace among different age groups.

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Recent years have seen an explosion in the study of emotions in organizations, and although emotions play a central role in the job stress process, their role is largely neglected in empirical stressor–strain studies. Our chapter aims to build consensus in the literature by showing that discrete emotions provide a mechanism through which stressors exert their impact on well-being. By examining a larger domain of stressors, emotions, and well-being, we begin to develop and expand upon the nomological network of emotions. In an effort to build on the job demands–resources (JD-R) model, which includes both job demands (i.e., negative stimuli such as time pressure) and resources (i.e., positive stimuli such as autonomy), we include both negative and positive discrete emotions with the expectation that negative emotions will generally be linked to demands and positive emotions will be linked to resources. We also propose that there may be circumstances where demands trigger negative discrete emotions and lead to greater experienced strain, and conversely, where resources arouse positive discrete emotions, which would positively affect well-being. The model in our chapter sheds light on how discrete emotions have different antecedents (i.e., job demands and resources) and outcomes (e.g., satisfaction, burnout, performance), and as such, respond to calls for research on this topic. Our findings will be of particular interest to organizations where employees can be trained to manage their emotions to reduce the strain associated with job stressors.

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The aim of this chapter is to define and explore the group of emotions known as self-conscious emotions. The state of the knowledge on guilt, shame, pride, and embarrassment is reviewed, with particular attention paid to research on these four self-conscious emotions in work and organizational settings. Surprisingly little research on self-conscious emotions comes from researchers interested in occupational stress and well-being, yet these emotions are commonly experienced and may be a reaction to or even a source of stress. They may also impact behaviors and attitudes that affect stress and well-being. I conclude the review with a call for more research on these emotions as related to stress and well-being, offering some suggestions for areas of focus.

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The chapter summarizes existing conceptualizations of emotional regulation and extends existing organizational behavior literature that focuses on emotional labor by the introduction of two processes new to the literature: emotional contagion exchange (ECX) and emotional restorying of labor. More specifically, emotional restorying may allow employees to cope with emotional contagion by converting surface-level acting to deep-level acting, in ways which benefit both employees and organizations. In explaining this process, this chapter constructs a model of multiple interplaying processes.

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Leading occupational stress researchers have highlighted the need for more qualitative research to advance our understanding of occupational stress as a complex and dynamic process. However, qualitative research can be challenging particularly when it involves the exploration of emotive issues such as occupational stress. Although research institutions provide ethical guidelines for the protection and support of research participants, much less emphasis is placed on the impact of such research on the researcher. Yet in qualitative studies of occupational stress, participants often display a range of emotions to a researcher who is expected to be both empathetic and professional in his/her conduct. If qualitative researchers are inadequately prepared for the emotions they may experience in the field and poorly supported through the research process, then they may lose confidence and eschew qualitative research in favor of quantitative work thereby maintaining the status quo in occupational stress research. This chapter draws on both the literature on researcher emotion and the author’s own research experience to explore some of the problems encountered by qualitative researchers, and presents a number of recommendations to support qualitative researchers involved in the study of occupational stress.

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About the Authors

Pages 311-318
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DOI
10.1108/S1479-3555(2013)11
Publication date
Book series
Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78190-586-9
Book series ISSN
1479-3555