Emotions and Organizational Dynamism: Volume 6


Table of contents

(21 chapters)

Wilfred J. Zerbe is a professor of organizational behaviour and dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His research interests focus on emotions in organizations, organizational research methods, service sector management, business ethics, and leadership. His publications have appeared in books and journals including The Academy of Management Review, Industrial and Labour Relations Review, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Psychology, Journal of Services Marketing, and Journal of Research in Higher Education.

The chapters in this volume are drawn from the best contributions to the 2008 International Conference on Emotion and Organizational Life held in Fontainebleau, France. (This bi-annual conference has come to be known as the “Emonet” conference, after the listserv of members). In addition, these referee-selected conference papers were 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 seven invited chapters. We again acknowledge in particular the assistance of the conference paper reviewers (see appendix). In the year of publication of this volume, the 2010 Emonet conference will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Academy of Management, and will be followed by Volumes 7 and 8 of Research on Emotions in Organizations. Readers interested in learning more about the conferences or the Emonet list should check the Emonet website http://www.emotionsnet.org.

Corporate venturing initiatives, which exemplify corporate entrepreneurial behavior, follow an evolutionary path of variation, selection, and retention. While their external selection is a consequence of their performance, their internal selection is subject to forces of complementarity and legitimacy, and how well competition from other initiatives is overcome. This chapter aims to unfold the dynamics of the internal selection process of initiatives, focusing on its emotional dimensions. Assuming that organizational agents have a deliberate role in guiding the internal selection process of initiatives, the chapter examines how organizational agents' emotional dynamics influence this process. The chapter draws its theoretical basis from the intraorganizational evolutionary perspective and the literature on emotions in organizations. The case of a corporate venturing initiative and the narratives of four managers involved directly and indirectly in the initiative are used to illustrate how the emotional dynamics of organizational members evoked envy toward a venturing initiative and directly impacted its degree of competition and complementarity with other interacting initiatives, ultimately hampering its selection.

The purpose of this study was to extend current work on corporate entrepreneurship by investigating factors that motivate group entrepreneurial behavior. Specifically, we proposed and tested a theoretical model that examined managers' regulation of emotion (ROE) influences on group entrepreneurial behavior. Data were based on middle managers and their immediate subordinates from traditional organizations. Results using Bayesian path analysis indicated that middle managers' ROE has a significant indirect effect on group entrepreneurial behavior via group-perceived manager's ROE and group job satisfaction. Additionally, evidence was found for the moderating effect of group diversity so that manager's perceived emotion regulation had a greater effect on job satisfaction and entrepreneurship in more diverse teams. We interpreted this as evidence in support of theoretical models that consider creativity at a group level and ultimately affect-laden processes (Zhou & George, 2003). Recommendations for further research are discussed.

Despite its resonances, the sociological concept of agency – the ability to ‘make a difference’ – has not been widely applied to entrepreneurialism. This chapter makes a case for a relational conception of agency. It extends our thinking about entrepreneurialism into areas that, despite their empirical importance, have received little systematic theoretical attention, specifically, the role of emotions, corporeality and social interactions. The relational theory of entrepreneurial agency allows us to address, in new ways, one of entrepreneurship's enduring questions: why do some individuals rather than others become entrepreneurs? Theoretically, by placing emotion at the heart of agency we propose a theory that can recognise individuality without recourse to individualism. We illustrate this approach through a re-analysis of structural hole theory, which is an attempt to explain (unsatisfactorily in our view) entrepreneurial behaviour by recourse to social network theory. We show how a relational concept of agency can resolve the unhelpful tension between the structural qualities of network relationships and the capacity for individual action.

Published studies of the relationships between personality, affect, and organizational change have been overwhelmingly quantitative, while clinical and psychodynamic approaches have seldom dealt with the context of organizational change. We used semistructured interviews to explore the “middle ground”, by researching how participants in change believed aspects of their personalities contributed to their responses, particularly on an affective level. We found that traits such as openness to experience, resilience, pragmatism, change self-efficacy, and locus of control influenced participants' perceptions of how they reacted to organizational change. The findings point to the important role that qualitative research into personality can play in improving understanding of emotional responses to organizational change.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of how emotional dynamics play out in organizations, a better understanding of the underlying structure of emotions in the workplace is needed. This study set out to investigate the emotional reality of work teams that are confronted with organizational change and to create a feeling scale that can be used to analyze and evaluate the emotional experience of employees involved in and affected by the change. This chapter outlines the results of an iterative statistical analysis to determine the underlying structure of emotions and basic dimensions on which emotions can be categorized. Feeling scales ranging in length from 22 to 42 feeling items were answered by up to 26,900 respondents as part of employee surveys that were used to investigate the subjective perception of organizational change. Factor analysis and self-organizing maps (SOMs) analysis were used in order to cluster and differentiate the underlying basic categories of emotions. The results show that feelings are mainly differentiated as either positive or negative and that those two main factors consist of seven underlying categories, which are summarized as the emotion scales: “Passion,” “Drive,” “Curiosity,” “Defiance,” “Anger,” “Fear and Distress,” and “Damage.” The basic dimensions of the emotions were “hedonic tone” and “affective focus.”

To reconcile theoretical discrepancies between discrete emotion, dimensional emotion (positive vs. negative affect), and the circumplex model, we propose the bifurcation model of affect structure (BMAS). Based on complexity theory, this model explores how emotion as an adaptive complex system reacts to affective events through negative and positive feedback loops, resulting in self-organizing oscillation and transformations between three states: equilibrium emotion, discrete positive and negative emotion in the near-equilibrium state, and chaotic emotion. We argue that the BMAS is superior to the extant models in revealing the dynamic connections between emotions and the intensity of affective events in organizational settings.

This chapter examines the implications of resilience for contemporary work life. Consistent with current research, we propose that resilience will be associated with work-related attitudes and behaviors via its linkages with positive emotion (Avey, Wernsing, & Luthans, 2008). Further, building on calls to identify the mechanisms underlying resilience, we present an input-process-output (IPO) model of resilience and describe how a variety of individual differences – including those related to the regulation of negative emotional experience – can contribute to a better understanding of the processes involved in maintaining psychological and physical well-being following adversity. We conclude our work by outlining various risk-prevention and asset-focused strategies that may be useful for developing resilience in workplace settings.

Heightened levels of emotions, often negative, accompany the prospect and implementation of organizational changes. The failure to manage the emotions of change is cited as a reason for implementation problems and resistance to change. In this chapter, we examine the influences and consequences of emotions in the context of a large merger. Specifically, we examine the relationships between three cognitive assessments of the merger and the emotional reaction of pleasure toward the merger. With regard to consequences, we explore how pleasure with the merger relates to the length and affective tone of written suggestions for organizational improvements and postmerger attitudes of job satisfaction and turnover intention. Implications of our results are drawn for both scholars and organizational change agents.

Interactions between customers and service providers are ubiquitous. Some of these encounters are routine, but many are characterized by conflict and intense emotions. This chapter introduces a new theory, service encounter needs theory (SENT) that aims to elucidate the mechanisms through which service encounter behaviors affect outcomes for customers and employees. Evidence is presented for the preeminence within these encounters of eight psychosocial needs, and propositions are advanced regarding likely antecedents to fulfillment and violation of these needs. Emotional experiences and displays are viewed as important consequences of need fulfillment and violation, as are numerous cognitive, behavioral, and health-related outcomes.

Humor is an abundant and valuable, yet unfortunately underutilized, resource in organizations. When effectively wielded, humor has been proposed as a “managerial tool” that can be used to achieve positive organizational outcomes. Using Affective Events Theory and the Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions as a theoretical base, the authors attempt to test this proposition of humor being used as a managerial tool by conceptualizing a link between manager's use of humor and the consequent build up of resilience in employees in the long run.

In this chapter, we seek to resolve the long-running controversy as to whether moods foster or inhibit creativity. We base our arguments on a new theory, which we refer to as “creativity-as-mood-regulation,” where employees experiencing moods are envisaged to engage in creative behavior in the hope of regulating their moods. We further suggest that employees with different goal orientations will have different likelihoods of choosing creative activities to regulate their moods. Finally, we identify the specific goal-orientation conditions under which positive and negative moods may facilitate or depress creativity, and develop and discuss six related propositions.

This exploratory study investigates the relationship between affective climate and creativity as contributing factors to knowledge creation in organizations. Organizational creativity represents a source of new task-related ideas, implemented in the form of innovation. We argue that creativity is inherently linked to the process of knowledge creation embedded in the organizational context and related to social interaction. Our study identified several affective conditions that appear to be present when the professional environment supports creativity. These findings suggest that affective climate does influence the organizational setting, fostering or inhibiting organizational creativity.

This chapter presents a Dewey-inspired analysis of the role of dissent in the creative process. We extend and complement received knowledge on the role of positive affect on creativity by discussing the tensions between negative and positive affect. Using a netnography of three online communities, which bring together animators and visual special effect artists, we develop a grounded typology of creative conflict practices. By cross-referencing the creative status with creative objectives, we define four distinct types of creative conflict practices: invoke, evoke, poke, and provoke. Our qualitative findings further show how creatives adeptly manage tensions between positive and negative affects.

David Ahlstrom is a professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He obtained his PhD in management and international business in 1996, after having spent several years in start-up firms in the data communications field. His research interests include management in Asia, entrepreneurship, and management and organizational history. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, and Asia Pacific Journal of Management. He also co-authored the textbook International management: Strategy and Culture in the Emerging World. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of International Business Studies and Journal of Small Business Management in addition to APJM. Professor Ahlstrom has guest edited two special issues of Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice. At APJM, he has also guest edited two special issues (turnaround in Asia in 2004 and Managing in Ethnic Chinese Communities, forthcoming in 2010), and served as a senior editor during 2007–2009. He became editor-in-chief of the Asia Pacific Journal of Management in 2010.

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Research on Emotion in Organizations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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