Emotions in Groups, Organizations and Cultures: Volume 5


Table of contents

(21 chapters)

Charmine E. J. Härtel is Professor of Organizational Behavior and Development in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management. Dr. Härtel has 27 years of experience in the public and private sector and is recognized internationally as a leading expert in the areas of organizational and employee development. Her research and consulting identifies new practices and development initiatives that facilitate organizational performance and promote social and organizational justice, employee and community well-being, positive cross-cultural relations, and social inclusion. Her pioneering work on the characteristics of positive work environments has identified a number of the drivers of unhealthy and toxic work environments along with the leadership and human resource management practices, organizational policies and strategies to turn such situations around. Prof. Härtel's work appears in books and over 70 refereed journal articles, including the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Leadership Quarterly, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Management, and Human Resource Management Review. She is recipient of numerous research grants and contracts including nine grants from the Australian Research Council. Prof. Härtel is coeditor of the annual book series Research on Emotion in Organizations and lead author of the textbook Human Resource Management: Transforming Theory into Innovative Practice. She is Associate Editor of Academy of Management Learning and Education and an Editorial Board member of a number of journals including Human Relations, International Journal of Work and Organisation, Equal Opportunities International, Journal of Managerial Psychology, and Journal of Management and Organization. She is also a member of the executive for the Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division of the Academy of Management. Dr. Härtel holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University and was recognized with the Jacob E. Hautaluoma Distinguished Alumni Award for “improving organizations at the team, group, company and international levels, and a dedication towards helping individuals and organizations become more effective and well adjusted.”

The chapters in this volume are drawn from the best contributions to the 2008 International Conference on Emotion and Organizational Life (Emonet VI), complemented by additional invited chapters. The 2008 conference was hosted by INSEAD, beautifully situated within the picturesque surrounds of Fontainebleau, France. We acknowledge INSEAD and especially local hosts Prof. Quy Huy and Ms. Marie-Francoise Piquerez for ensuring a flawlessly organized and superbly resourced conference experience. We also acknowledge the conference paper reviewers (see appendix) whose time and expertise are such an essential part of ensuring the high quality of the Emonet conference and the book series Research on Emotion in Organizations. In the year following publication of this volume, the 2010 conference (Emonet VII) will be held in Canada, and Volume 6 of Research on Emotion in Organizations will be available in print. Readers interested in learning more about the conferences or the Emonet listserv should check the Emonet website at http://www.uq.edu.au/emonet/.

The concept “emotional intelligence” (EI) resonates in the business world and many authors have called for more research that clearly conceptualizes it. Within the controversy of defining EI, the behavioral approach, defining and measuring EI in terms of competencies, has not received much attention. The aim of the present chapter is threefold: (1) to propose a new structure of emotional and social competencies that is useful within organizational settings; (2) to discuss a comprehensive model of emotional competencies within organizational contexts that includes personality, emotional and social competencies, and performance; and finally (3) to draw its implications for practitioners.

The impact of emotional displays on ratings of workplace performance was examined using scenarios presented to college students (N=175). Four scenarios featured either a male or female employee expressing either anger or sadness. Contrary to previous findings in research on gender differences, the only consistent significant finding was the type of emotion displayed. Displays of anger resulted in reductions in perceptions of organizational commitment (F(1,170)=19.78, p<0.001) and job performance (F(1,169)=12.19, p<0.001). The differences in emotion displayed were expected; however, the null findings of gender effects were unexpected and are discussed here.

Theory suggests that a person who is vital is energetic and fully functioning. Although researchers have recently directed increased attention to studying factors that facilitate or undermine vitality, this subject of inquiry is in its early stages, particularly in work settings. One critical social factor impacting vitality may be interpersonal relationships. This study examines how interpersonal relationships between co-workers affect employee vitality and job performance. Results of a study on 147 employees in work organizations indicate that both the capacities and experiences of high-quality relationships are positively associated with feelings of vitality, which, in turn, result in enhanced job performance.

We compared the fit of our data with four different theoretical expectations regarding the direction of effect across time between job satisfaction and vigor. Respondents were 573 apparently healthy employees who had completed questionnaires while undergoing a periodical health examination at two points in time, T1 and T2, about 22 months apart. We found that the model that predicted that job satisfaction influenced vigor in a unidirectional way best fitted the data. Our findings provided support for theories postulating that job satisfaction, representing an overall appraisal of job conditions, has a unidirectional impact on positive affects at work.

The influence of affect has become a hot topic in organizational research. This chapter seeks to expand the conceptualization of affect at work to include the role of unconscious affect. In this chapter, we review current research and theory on unconscious affect and extend those findings to organizationally relevant situations. We propose several antecedents, moderators, and outcomes of unconscious affect at work.

One of the mechanisms by which organizations promote adherence to requirements that employees display appropriate emotions is the use of discipline to punish emotional deviance. This study analyzed selected cases, in unionized settings, where the imposition of discipline had been grieved and culminated in arbitration. Analysis of these cases showed that emotional deviance was most often characterized as rudeness and a lack of courtesy, which took the form of inappropriate displays of anger and hostility, and failure to display interest, concern, and caring. Although some deviance was not excusable, when employee deviance was the result of unprovoked customer emotion this mitigated the assignment of blame. Employees were sometimes found to lack awareness of display rules or how to follow them, and were expected to defuse customer emotion. While discipline is seen as one mechanism for formally controlling emotional deviance, its effectiveness may be limited, particularly in situations where employees are likely to encounter strong negative customer emotion.

This study inquires into emotion work performed by call center operators. Twelve call center operators were interviewed. Qualitative methodological strategies were utilized, where the focus of the thematic content analysis was on comprehension of the call center operator's work characteristics, the organization's display rules, and the emotional self-management strategies utilized. Two types of emotional self-management strategies were found: cognitive and behavioral. The organization acknowledged that people are not always able to handle the affective cost in relation to emotion work, offering emotional support and models concerning affective self-management strategies to be used. This organizational assistance strongly influenced the choice of strategies, for the call center operators most frequently used strategies taught by the organization. Emotion work was influenced by variables concerning the work context, factors that either favored or made the work, perceptions, evaluations, and the workers and the customers' affective states problematic. Emotion work was crucial in the call center operators' working routine, whenever the customers became aggressive, and social support made the task of displaying predominantly positive feelings less arduous.

In this chapter, we extend existing models of individual and collective emotional intelligence to the organizational level and provide an empirical study on the performance impact of organizational emotional intelligence. We propose that organizational emotional intelligence is composed of the average level of individual emotional intelligence of organization members and the collectively shared emotionally intelligent norms, values, and behaviors that shape their interaction. Across 156 organizations, we demonstrate sufficient within-organization consistency and between-organization difference to consider emotional intelligence a collective organizational characteristic. In addition, we show that the level of organizational emotional intelligence is positively associated with operational performance, financial performance, and innovation performance, and negatively associated with involuntary absence. Thus, organizational emotional intelligence can be considered a valuable asset for organizations.

The links between emotional self-efficacy, emotional intelligence, positive and negative affect, workplace incivility (from the target and perpetrator perspective), and job satisfaction were explored in a model of workplace functioning. Two hundred and seven adults participated in the study. As expected, emotional self-efficacy significantly predicted trait or dispositional emotional intelligence, which in turn was a significant predictor of participants' negative and positive affect. The relationship between low emotional intelligence and high negative affect was especially strong. Also as expected, individuals with higher levels of negative affect were more likely to be perpetrators of workplace incivility than individuals with lower levels of negative affect. Individuals who engaged in higher levels of incivility perpetration were more likely to be victims of incivility than individuals who never or rarely engaged in uncivil behavior. Being a victim of incivility was associated with higher levels of negative affect and lower levels of job satisfaction. Counter to the original predictions, positive affect was unrelated to either incivility perpetration or victimization.

Perhaps no other workplace issue represents better the harm that can come of neglecting emotional experiences in organizations than workplace bullying. Organizational interventions aimed at the reduction of workplace bullying generally emphasize the identification of negative employee behaviors and the punitive consequences associated with the manifestation of these behaviors at work. While such interventions raise awareness of the unacceptability of workplace bullying, we argue that they generally adopt a “compliance” approach aimed solely at dealing with bullying after it has occurred rather than developing strategic initiatives that proactively promote workplace wellness. We detail a project within the Victorian public sector, which developed a proactive framework for the prevention of workplace bullying based on the principles of positive psychology. The chapter concludes with the view that the Positive Workplace Environment framework we develop is clearly applicable to a much wider range of issues than bullying and that embedding any call for organizational change within such a framework is likely to find resonance with both practitioners and researcher alike.

Because our emotions are crucial determinants of how well we function in our personal and professional lives, researchers from different perspectives have sought to understand how emotions can be best managed for optimal functioning. In this chapter, we focus on two research traditions that have examined this issue, the emotion regulation (ER) tradition and the emotional labor (EL) tradition. This effort is predicated on the belief that a more fundamental research tradition such as ER can inform and complement a more applied research tradition such as EL, first by extending our understanding of the various processes by which employees deal with their emotions, and second, by permitting a more accurate prediction of the consequences of these emotions. A case is presented that discriminating more finely between the various emotion management strategies may help to resolve some of the paradoxical findings observed in the EL literature.

Recently scholars have been interested in examining social intelligence, emotional intelligence, and cultural intelligence, but none have examined all these in a comparative study of cultures. Here an empirical examination is conducted of a high-context culture, India, versus a low-context culture, the United States. Linear regression was conducted and findings indicate that the hypothesized relationships, that high-context cultures will have a higher social, emotional, and cultural intelligence, are not supported. In fact, social intelligence was found to be higher in the U.S. sample. Managerial implications and avenues for future research are presented.

Within the last two decades there has been an increased interest in the issue of work and emotion within work and organizational psychology and related fields. Although the cross-cultural perspective has a long tradition in research on emotions, organizational behavior researches on the dynamic of emotions at work have devoted surprisingly little attention to cross-cultural issues. In this paper, an attempt is made to show how important and useful a cross-cultural perspective is for understanding the role of emotion in the workplace. First, a review of recent publications of cross-national cross-cultural research of emotion at work is presented. In this, the focus is exclusively on cross-national organizational behavior studies of specific emotions with national culture as an explanatory variable. The aim of this is to identify core findings of cross-cultural research on emotion in organizational behavior and some gaps in this burgeoning literature. Second, a review is presented of findings on cross-cultural similarities and differences in emotion, culture-specific norms, and values and their effect on emotion. The aim of this is to identify the implications of these findings for future research on emotion at work. Third, a review of methodological issues in cross-cultural research is presented followed by some recommendations to further advance this area of research.

Mirele Cardoso do Bonfim is Professor of Psychology at Salvador University, Brazil, and she is psychologist at Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology, Bahia (IFBA). She received her master's degree in Organizational Psychology from Federal University of Bahia. Her primary researches have been focused on emotions at work and emotional labor. C.V.: Available at http://lattes.cnpq.br/2452149954749191

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Research on Emotion in Organizations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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