Experiencing and Managing Emotions in the Workplace: Volume 8


Table of contents

(23 chapters)

Neal M. Ashkanasy (Ph.D., University of Queensland) is Professor of Management in the UQ Business School, and received his Ph.D. in social/organizational psychology from the same institution. He studies leadership, organizational culture, ethics, and emotions in organizations and has published in leading journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, The Leadership Quarterly, and the Journal of Management. He serves on several editorial boards, including the Journal of Applied Psychology and the Journal of Management, and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Organizational Behavior, associate Editor of the Academy of Management Review, and Emotion Review, and Coeditor of the book series, Research on Emotion in Organizations. Professor Ashkanasy is a Fellow of the Academy for the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA), the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), and the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM). In 2011 he was recipient of the Elton Mayo Award for outstanding contributions to research and teaching. He has served as Chair of the Academy of Management's MOC Division and as President of ANZAM. He administers two Listservs (Emonet: Emotions in Organizations; Orgcult: The Organizational Culture Caucus).

The chapters in this volume are drawn from the best contributions to the 2010 International Conference on Emotion in Organizational Life held in Montreal, Canada in August of that year, complemented with invited chapters consonant with the theme of this volume. This highly successful conference, founded by the editors of this volume, and first held in 1998, is fondly referred to by many as the “Emonet” conference, after the email discussion listserv set up to support the conference and all those interested in advancing knowledge in emotions in organizational settings. We are especially grateful to the conference paper reviewers and acknowledge their service in the appendix of the book.

The objective of this study was to investigate and explore the emotion experiences of employees in a work context. A non-probability sample (N=52) was taken from the mining industry in the North West and Gauteng Provinces of South Africa. Data collection was done through a phenomenological method of semistructured in-depth interviews and observations. Content analysis was used to analyze and interpret the research data through open coding. The main goal was to determine the emotion experiences of employees, and the following three themes were extracted on the basis of three research questions: what are the particular emotions employees experience at work; what are the specific events or situations that lead to these emotions; and how do employees manage or control these emotion experiences. Some of the emotions experienced were anger, aggression and frustration, disappointment, and suspicion, skepticism and cynicism. The specific events were divided into three levels namely organizational, group, and individual level. Some of these events included organizational culture, lack of managerial support, supervisory relationships and ineffective communication, relationships at work, and role conflict. It was also found that employees make use of emotion work, emotional intelligence, and emotional distancing and detachment to regulate and manage emotion experiences.

The objective of this study was to develop and test a structural model of psychological wellness of human resource employees in a platinum and steel production environment in South Africa. A cross-sectional survey design was utilized in this study. An availability sample (N=465) was taken from human resource employees in a platinum and steel production environment. The Oldenburg Burnout Inventory, Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, Frankfurt Emotion Work Scale, Greek Emotional Intelligence Scale, and Social Support Scale were administered. The results obtained from structural equation modeling showed that emotional intelligence and social support are negatively related to emotion work and burnout, and positively related to engagement, which means that employees with emotional intelligence and social support will be less likely to experience negative effects of emotion work and burnout and more likely to experience work engagement. Results also indicated that emotion work is positively related to burnout, meaning that emotion work leads to burnout.

This study is a preliminary effort to examine “muted anger” in the workplace. Muted anger is a unique interpersonal and organizational phenomenon, incorporated in the Dual Threshold Model (DTM) of workplace anger (Geddes & Callister, 2007). Characterized as a form of suppressed workplace anger, muted anger occurs when angry organizational members intentionally keep their anger hidden from management and those responsible for the problematic situation, and instead express their emotions to colleagues (and others) unrelated to the initial anger-provoking incident. Using the DTM framework, we surveyed 296 full-time employees regarding their experience with an angry colleague who vented to them after an infuriating event. Our findings indicate that whether or not muted anger episodes can lead to productive communication practices depends on the anger intensity of both the actor and the sympathetic responder as well as the responder's level of organizational commitment. Those who themselves felt moderate anger intensity after hearing their colleague's plight and those with high organizational commitment were more likely to advocate on behalf of their angry colleague and approach management or someone in a responsible position to help address the problematic situation. Those with lower anger intensity and organizational commitment typically discussed the situation with one or two additional, but unrelated persons – expanding the muted anger episode.

In the realm of applied psychology, the major factors explaining organizational behavior in the context of organizational intervention are emotion, cognition, and context. In organizational analysis and intervention, however, organizational behavior models explicitly rooted in a theory of mind that assumes and thoroughly addresses their conjoint interplay are rare. To address this issue, we review definitions of emotion and cognition with a view to clarifying their specificity, as well as their differences from similar but potentially confounding constructs (e.g., perception, consciousness, and awareness). We also review the most common definitions of unconscious as a relevant intersection between cognition and emotion. Our ultimate objective therefore is to introduce an interactionist (individual-context) model of both cognitive and emotional levels of functioning of mind, based on what we refer to as the theory of analysis of demand (TAD). Finally, we outline and discuss its related intervention methodology, the Individual-Setting of consultation, Organization (I-S-O) technique.

Affect is a dynamic construct that varies over time and can significantly influence motivation and performance in organisational contexts. This chapter addresses key conceptual and methodological challenges that arise when aiming to measure affect as a within-person process. The literature has been divided on whether the structure of affect is unipolar or bipolar and no research has considered this structure across levels of analysis. Measuring affect as a within-person process also requires a brief scale that can be administered with minimal disruption. This chapter presents data that provide evidence for bipolarity in the structure of affect. We use these data to validate the momentary affect scale, which is a new brief affect scale that can be used in within-person research designs and applied settings.

Staff facing organizational change often experience negative emotions when they anticipate or encounter injustice and these can lead to turnover, absenteeism, decreased productivity and resistance to change. The aims of this study were to identify the nature of the emotions reported by respondents and explore how they were triggered by perceptions of different forms of injustice: distributive, procedural, interpersonal and informational. A series of interviews with those playing different roles in change initiatives, at various hierarchical levels and in a range of organizations, demonstrates the corrosive effects of perceived injustice and the attendant negative emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety and guilt. These emotions tended to be more intense for those experiencing change and somewhat subdued for those leading and managing it. The findings contribute to research into organizational change by presenting insights into the affective elements of four types of injustice that have seldom been explored in previous qualitative studies.

Affective Events Theory (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996) proposes a theoretical framework that outlines the structure, antecedents, and consequences of affective experiences at work. We elaborate on Affective Events Theory by incorporating recent theory of attitude and by further exploring the role of work environment features within the model. Our proposed model acknowledges the immediacy of judgment driven as well as affect-driven behavior. It provides a mechanism through which affect-driven or judgment-driven behaviors can be more easily predicted and it shows how work environment features not only make certain events more or less likely but also influence resulting behaviors through attitude formation. We outline the practical application of our model and give direction for future research.

Proactivity is a type of goal-directed work behavior in which individuals actively take charge of situations to bring about future change in themselves or their organization. In this chapter, we draw on goal-regulation research to review conceptual and empirical evidence that elucidates some of the complex links of affective experience and employee proactivity. We identify the different ways in which affective experience influences different stages of proactivity, including employees’ efforts in setting a proactive goal (envisioning), preparing to implement their proactive goal (planning), implementing their proactive goal (enacting), and engaging in learning from their proactive goal process (reflecting). Overall, our review suggests an important, positive role of high-activated positive trait affectivity and moods in motivating proactivity across multiple goal stages, as compared to low-activated positive affectivity and moods. The role of negative affect is mixed, and likely depends on both its valence and the stage of proactivity that is being considered. We identify a lack of research on the role of discrete emotions for employee proactivity. We discuss future avenues for research, particularly the roles of intra- and inter-personal emotion regulation for proactivity and of affective embeddedness of proactive processes in the social environment of organizations.

This chapter presents a compassionate response model of workplace anger. The model incorporates an interpersonal feedback loop to show how compassionate responses to workplace anger have the potential for generating gratitude within the angry individual. Both reactions should ultimately result in more favorable organizational outcomes from anger episodes. In addition, the model identifies message, individual, relational, and organizational factors moderating the likelihood that an anger expression, compassion, and gratitude progression take place. The model proposes that anger expression is not inherently negative for individuals and organizations, but may initiate a series of potentially positive exchanges of emotion and caring.

In this chapter, we reanalyze the conceptual map of emotional labor in order to provide a more nuanced understanding of the construct. Our starting point is Ashkanasy's (2003) five-level model of emotions in organizations, which places emotional labor at the midpoint (Level 3): the interpersonal level. We argue here that emotional labor is a complex construct that can be viewed from different levels of organizational analysis. For example, it can also be considered as an organizational level variable (Level 5) and from the within person perspective (Level 1). More particularly, we posit that recent fragmentation of the construct of emotional labor in the literature has tended to divert the focus from its primary purpose: a value adding activity for the organization. In this chapter, therefore, we describe and discuss horizontal and vertical relationships between the key elements of the conceptual map of emotional labor and suggest directions for future research.

Law enforcement is a stressful profession. Police officers are faced with emotionally exhausting events on a daily basis and are required to control negative emotions in an effort to conduct their jobs effectively. This chapter explores the emotions experienced by police officers and seeks to understand the emotional labor of this profession. Twenty semi-structured interviews were conducted with police officers to garner information about the role of emotional expression and suppression on the job. The results revealed several themes, such as the importance of anger to the job of police officer and the emotional climate within the police force. Understanding emotion work and the management of emotions among law enforcement officers is an important contribution to improving the well-being and performance of police officers. Our research results call for further exploration of the role of emotions in law enforcement.

In this study, we proposed and tested a motivational framework of emotional labor. This model incorporates positive and negative affect, motivation to express positive emotions, emotion regulation strategies (emotion suppression, reappraisal, and naturally felt emotions), and job satisfaction. Based on a sample of 147 employees, results generally supported our hypotheses and indicated that employees’ motivation to express positive emotions leads to the expression of the naturally felt emotions and the use of reappraisal. In contrast, motivated employees used less emotion suppression in their work. Hence, employees’ motivation seems to facilitate the adoption of a more authentic stance toward customers. Moreover, employees’ affectivity impacted emotional labor strategies. Finally, replicating past findings, job satisfaction was associated with a more authentic demeanor. This chapter contributes to emotional labor theory by extending our comprehension of emotional labor antecedents, which have been relatively under-investigated by emotion researchers. Moreover, this study demonstrated that self-determination theory is a relevant framework to better understand the emotional labor process. Overall, this motivational approach to the study of emotional labor can lead to more extensive research on emotional labor antecedents.

What is organizational emotional intelligence? Does it matter? And how can organizations increase their level of organizational emotional intelligence? In an attempt to find answers to these questions, this chapter provides a conceptualization of organizational emotional intelligence, discusses what we know about its associations with organizational outcomes, and proposes several practically relevant ways to improve organizational emotional intelligence. Specifically, organizational emotional intelligence is conceptualized as a combination of the aggregate level of individual emotional intelligence of employees and the utilization of emotionally intelligent procedures, norms, and behaviors throughout an organization. Preliminary evidence suggests that organizational emotional intelligence is positively associated with organizational performance and employees’ health. Organizations might be able to increase their organizational emotional intelligence by accumulating individual emotional intelligence among their employees and by applying emotionally intelligent procedures, some of which are discussed in this chapter.

Despite ongoing controversy, emotional intelligence is emerging as a potentially important variable in furthering our understanding of individual behavior in organizations. In this respect, however, most of the research in relation to emotional intelligence has been at the individual level of behavior. In this chapter, we develop a framework for considering the impact of emotional intelligence at the organizational level. Specifically, we map Mayer and Salovey's four emotional intelligence abilities onto Shein's three-level organizational culture schema. We conclude with a discussion of implications for managers and suggest that the model we propose may prove to be a useful starting point for future research into emotional intelligence as an organizational phenomenon.

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Research on Emotion in Organizations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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